Research Scientist & Project Director

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Research Scientist & Project Director

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn's distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning. As an employer Penn has been ranked nationally on many occasions with the most recent award from Forbes who named Penn one of America's Best Employers By State in 2021.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

COVID-19 vaccination is a requirement for all positions at the University of Pennsylvania. New hires are expected to be fully vaccinated before beginning work at the University. For more information about Penn's vaccine requirements and the use of Penn Open Pass, visit the Penn COVID-19 Response website for the latest information.

Posted Job Title
Research Scientist & Project Director

Job Profile Title
Manager Research Project C

Job Description Summary
Housed at the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, a new, first-of-its-kind initiative to move people from poverty to prosperity is being launched by Senior Executive Fellow and former Mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter. The initiative's model consists of two separate, but interdependent elements that will shape public policy and drive capital to community-based solutions: The Partnership for Social and Economic Mobility + the Social Mobility Impact Fund.

Designed to provide localized and actionable information to guide practice, policy, and investment decisions, the Partnership for Social and Economic Mobility (the Partnership) is powered by three respected academic institutions. University of Pennsylvania, Johnson C. Smith University, and Columbia University have come together to form a collective research agenda focused on social and economic mobility and scaling solutions in that arena. The eventual Center for Social Mobility & Prosperity, which will serve as a think and do tank, will house the Partnership at Penn.

The Social Mobility Impact Fund, which is housed outside of University of Pennsylvania, will invest in, accelerate and incubate community-based solutions informed by the Partnership's research.

This position will encompass operational responsibility for implementation of the Philadelphia Poverty Tracker under the direction of and in partnership with the Philadelphia Poverty Tracker Director. This position's primary function is to facilitate, promote, and ensure sound research practice and execution of the Philadelphia Poverty Tracker and related studies. The research scientist manages different phases of the Philadelphia Poverty Tracker study to include working with partner institutions (university partners and community-based organizations) to shape studies, engage stakeholders, hire and manage Philadelphia Poverty Tracker team, create multi-center budgets for shared projects, and manage expenses. The research scientist ensures that the Philadelphia Poverty Tracker and projects that develop from this work adhere to all University of Pennsylvania and other regulatory guidelines.

This position is contingent upon grant funding.

Job Description

Together with the Philadelphia Poverty Tracker Director (the Director), and in consultation with SP2, Penn, and Partnership colleagues, develop a strategy and plan for structuring and launching the Philadelphia Poverty Tracker. Advise the Director on shaping, managing, and engaging an advisory committee consisting of Penn and Philadelphia community stakeholders. Contribute to the research design and implementation of enhanced components of the Philadelphia Poverty Tracker; specifically, incorporating administrative data and adding qualitative research modules. Write and update study protocols for both quantitative and qualitative research, overseeing study procedures, and maintaining documentation for Poverty Tracker research. Review the raw data for consistency and compliance with study procedures. The research scientist may also be asked to carry out specific additional analyses (or oversee the work of graduate research assistants who perform additional analyses) at the request of the Partnership's research council.

Direct the day-to-day operations of the Philadelphia Poverty Tracker study, with guidance from the Director. Hire and manage a core team and research consultant support. Ensure projects are executed within budget and timelines. Provide mentorship to graduate research assistants.

Lead study team meetings, conduct ongoing protocol training and compliance meetings.

Develop first-authored publications, with the option to use data collected by the Philadelphia Poverty Tracker. Develop independent research related to poverty, inequality, and related topics. Participate in professional activities, such as academic conferences, that advance his/her/their knowledge and support the Partnership and Center.

Prepare, review, and edit reports required by funder(s).

Perform additional duties as assigned

Master's Degree with 5-7 years of related experience, or PhD and 3-5 years of related experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience is required.

Working Conditions
Office, library, computer room

Physical Effort
Typically sitting at a desk or table; Occasional lifting 25 lb. or less; Typically standing or walking

Job Location - City, State
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School
School of Social Policy and Practice

Pay Range
$72,837.00 - $138,391.00

Affirmative Action Statement
Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements
Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

University Benefits
  • Health, Life, and Flexible Spending Accounts: Penn offers comprehensive medical, prescription, behavioral health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits to protect you and your family's health and welfare. You can also use flexible spending accounts to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.
  • Tuition: Take advantage of Penn's exceptional tuition benefits. You, your spouse, and your dependent children can get tuition assistance here at Penn. Your dependent children are also eligible for tuition assistance at other institutions.
  • Retirement: Penn offers generous retirement plans to help you save for your future. Penn's Basic, Matching, and Supplemental retirement plans allow you to save for retirement on a pre-tax or Roth basis. Choose from a wide variety of investment options through TIAA and Vanguard.
  • Time Away from Work: Penn provides you with a substantial amount of time away from work during the course of the year. This allows you to relax, take vacations, attend to personal affairs, recover from illness or injury, spend time with family-whatever your personal needs may be.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: In partnership with Genworth Financial, Penn offers faculty and staff (and your eligible family members) long-term care insurance to help you cover some of the costs of long-term care services received at home, in the community or in a nursing facility. If you apply when you're newly hired, you won't have to provide proof of good health or be subject to underwriting requirements. Eligible family members must always provide proof of good health and are subject to underwriting.
  • Wellness and Work-life Resources: Penn is committed to supporting our faculty and staff as they balance the competing demands of work and personal life. That's why we offer a wide variety of programs and resources to help you care for your health, your family, and your work-life balance.
  • Professional and Personal Development: Penn provides an array of resources to help you advance yourself personally and professionally.
  • University Resources: As a member of the Penn community, you have access to a wide range of University resources as well as cultural and recreational activities. Take advantage of the University's libraries and athletic facilities, or visit our arboretum and art galleries. There's always something going on at Penn, whether it's a new exhibit at the Penn Museum, the latest music or theater presentation at the Annenberg Center, or the Penn Relays at Franklin Field to name just a few examples. As a member of the Penn community, you're right in the middle of the excitement-and you and your family can enjoy many of these activities for free.
  • Discounts and Special Services: From arts and entertainment to transportation and mortgages, you'll find great deals for University faculty and staff. Not only do Penn arts and cultural centers and museums offer free and discounted admission and memberships to faculty and staff. You can also enjoy substantial savings on other goods and services such as new cars from Ford and General Motors, cellular phone service plans, movie tickets, and admission to theme parks.
  • Flexible Work Hours: Flexible work options offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. These approaches involve use of non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures.
  • Penn Home Ownership Services: Penn offers a forgivable loan for eligible employees interested in buying a home or currently residing in West Philadelphia, which can be used for closing costs or home improvements.
  • Adoption Assistance: Penn will reimburse eligible employees on qualified expenses in connection with the legal adoption of an eligible child, such as travel or court fees, for up to two adoptions in your household.

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