Job Title: Postdoctoral Scholar

Department: Center for Spatial Data Science (CSDS), Social Sciences Division

Reports To: Luc Anselin, Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology and the College and CSDS Director

Salary: $50,000 + benefits (Full-Time)

Start Date: October 1, 2019

Application: Please submit a cover letter and CV (with reference names) to Dr. Marynia Kolak ( by September 15, 2019.

The Center for Spatial Data Science (CSDS) announces a Postdoctoral Scholar position at the University of Chicago, for a quantitative methodologist working in the following areas: epidemiology; regional science; economics; and/or geocomputational modeling. The substantive focus will be on quasi-experimental policy evaluation and opioid use disorder research.

The position is under the direct supervision of Dr. Luc Anselin and in collaboration with Dr. Marynia Kolak and other CSDS staff and affiliated collaborators at the Center for HIV Elimination at the University of Chicago to support a skilled quantitative methodologist in developing a career in epidemiology, regional science, or public health research. The position is funded through an award by the National Institutes of Justice (NIH) to create a Methodology and Advanced Analytics Resource Center (MAARC) to support NIH’s Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN). JCOIN seeks to improve opioid addiction treatment in criminal justice settings through ten clinical research centers that will address gaps in accessing high-quality care.

Through MAARC, the University of Chicago will provide data infrastructure and statistical and analytic expertise to support individual JCOIN studies and cross-site data synchronization. It will also conduct new empirical research to understand the changes in state policies and practices within the criminal justice system as they relate to the opioid crisis. The Center for Spatial Data Science will enhance geospatial aspects of this data infrastructure and research, develop interactive data products and tools to increase capacity and research translation across sites, and conduct a quasi-experimental evaluation of opioid policies across JCOIN communities that accounts for spatial effects.

The postdoctoral scholar will be a core participant on all aspects of this research, including the geospatial methodological extensions and empirical applications. The position includes opportunities for didactic course work, leadership roles on ongoing projects, grant writing and developing an independent area of research. The selected candidate will also conduct data analyses and/or computational modeling and publish empirical papers from ongoing studies in the United States.

This position can be renewed for up to four years.

Education: PhD degree in Geography, Epidemiology, Economics, or related discipline required. 

Experience: Substantial quantitative expertise in causal inference or counterfactual research design within quasi-experimental or natural experimental settings. Experience in geospatial and statistical methodology as well as in (geo-)computation is preferred. A minimum of three years of relevant research experience required. Familiarity with principles of spatial statistical analysis and their implementation in open source software  (like R) is preferred.


  • Ability to train others required.
  • Knowledge in relevant scientific field required.
  • Knowledge of research techniques or methods required.
  • Knowledge of regulatory policies and procedures required.
  • Analytical skills required.
  • Problem-solving skills required.
  • Attention to detail required.
  • Organizational skills required.
  • Verbal and written communication skills required.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team required.

About the Unit:

An initiative of the Division of Social Sciences, the Center for Spatial Data Science develops state-of-the-art methods for geospatial analysis; implements them through open source software tools; applies them to policy-relevant research in the social sciences; and disseminates them through training and support to a worldwide community.

About the NIH Award: