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The Social Media Collective is Hiring Postdocs

October 7, 2015

The Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research New England (MSRNE) is looking for two social media postdoctoral researchers (start date: 5 July, 2016). This position is an ideal opportunity for a scholar whose work draws on anthropology, communication, media studies, sociology, and/or science and technology studies to bring empirical and critical perspectives to complex socio-technical issues. Application deadline: Friday 6 November, 2015.

Microsoft Research provides a vibrant multidisciplinary research environment, with an open publications policy and close links to top academic institutions around the world. Postdoctoral researcher positions provide emerging scholars (PhDs received late 2015 or to be conferred by July 2016) an opportunity to develop their research career and to interact with some of the top minds in the research community. Postdoctoral researchers define their own research agenda. Successful candidates will have a well-established research track record as demonstrated by journal publications and conference papers, as well as participation on program committees, editorial boards, and advisory panels.

While each of the Microsoft Research labs has openings in a variety of different disciplines, this position with the Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research New England specifically seeks social science/humanities candidates with critical approaches to their topics. Qualifications include a strong academic record in anthropology, communication, media studies, sociology, science and technology studies, or a related field. The ideal candidate may be trained in any number of disciplines, but should have a strong social scientific or humanistic methodological, analytical, and theoretical foundation, be interested in questions related to technology or the internet and society or culture, and be interested in working in a highly interdisciplinary environment that includes computer scientists, mathematicians, and economists.

The Social Media Collective is comprised of full-time researchers, postdocs, visiting faculty, Ph.D. interns, and research assistants. Current projects in New England include:

– How does the use of social media affect relationships between artists and audiences in creative industries, and what does that tell us about the future of work? (Nancy Baym)

– How are social media platforms, through algorithmic design and user policies, adopting the role of intermediaries for public discourse? (Tarleton Gillespie)

– What are the cultural, political, and economic implications of crowdsourcing as a new form of semi-automated, globally-distributed digital labor? (Mary L. Gray)

– How are predictive analytics used by law enforcement and what are the implications of new data-driven surveillance practices? (Sarah Brayne)

– What are the social and political consequences of popular computing folklore? (Kevin Driscoll)

– How are the technologies of money changing and what are the social implications of those changes? (Lana Swartz)

SMC postdocs may have the opportunity to visit and collaborate with our sister Social Media Collective members in New York City. Related projects in New York City include:

– What are the politics, ethics, and policy implications of big data science? (Kate Crawford, MSR-NYC)

– What are the social and cultural issues arising from data-centric technological development? (danah boyd, Data & Society Research Institute)

Postdoctoral researchers receive a competitive salary and benefits package, and are eligible for relocation expenses.  Postdoctoral researchers are hired for a two-year term appointment following the academic calendar, starting in July 2016. Applicants must have completed the requirements for a PhD, including submission of their dissertation, prior to joining Microsoft Research. We encourage those with tenure-track job offers from other institutions to apply, so long as they can defer their start date to accept our position.

To apply for a postdoc position at MSRNE:

Submit an online application here.

– On the application website, indicate that your research area of interest is “Anthropology, Communication, Media Studies, and Sociology” and that your location preference is “New England, MA, U.S.” in the pull down menus. IF YOU DO NOT MARK THESE PREFERENCES WE WILL NOT RECEIVE YOUR APPLICATION. 

– In addition to your CV and names of three referees (including your dissertation advisor) that the online application requires, upload the following 3 attachments with your online application:

  1. two journal articles, book chapters, or equivalent writing samples (uploaded as two separate attachments);
  2. a single research statement (four page maximum length) that does the following: outlines the questions and methodologies central to your research agenda (~two page); provides an abstract and chapter outline of your dissertation (~one page); offers a description of how your research agenda relates to research conducted by the Social Media Collective (~one page)

After you submit your application, a request for letters will be sent to your list of referees on your behalf. NOTE: THE APPLICATION SYSTEM WILL NOT REQUEST REFERENCE LETTERS UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE SUBMITTED YOUR APPLICATION! Please warn your letter writers in advance so that they will be ready to submit them when they receive the prompt. The email they receive will automatically tell them they have two weeks to respond but that an individual call for applicants may have an earlier deadline. Please ensure that they expect this and are prepared to submit your letter by our application deadline of Friday 6 November, 2015. Please make sure to check back with your referees if you have any questions about the status of your requested letters of recommendation. You can check the progress on individual reference requests at any time by clicking the status tab within your application page. Note that a complete application must include three submitted letters of reference.

For more information, see here.

Feel free to ask questions about the position in the comments below.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2015 2:20 pm

    Answers to some common questions:

    I FINISHED MY PhD BEFORE 2015 CAN I APPLY?
    This position is only open to people who will have just finished their Ph.D. before they start.

    I AM NOT A US CITIZEN CAN I APPLY?
    Yes absolutely!

    DO I HAVE TO BE BASED IN CAMBRIDGE MASS?
    Yes.

    • Eran permalink
      October 18, 2015 4:21 pm

      Dear Nancy,

      Just to be sure: do you require a research statement *as opposed to* research proppsal? In other words, do you expect a detailed scheme of a future project including timeline etc. or not? Thank you.

      • October 19, 2015 11:39 am

        We seek a general sense of your research trajectory and a concrete idea of what you plan to work on in your time here, but we are not necessarily looking for as much detail as a proposal would entail.

  2. Yumiko Murai permalink
    October 14, 2015 6:22 pm

    Hi, I have two questions about the position.

    1) I have received my doctoral degree in May 2015. Can I still be considered as an emerging scholar?
    2) My degree is EdD (doctor of education). Can I apply?

    Thank you for your time in advance.

    • October 19, 2015 11:39 am

      May 2015 is too early for this position, unfortunately. In general EdDs could apply.

  3. October 21, 2015 2:32 am

    Hi, I have completed my Ph.D in 2015. My thesis is entitled “Social media adoption by micro businesses”. The action research study both assisted implementation and collected data on adoption processes and attitudes from 37 micro businesses in New Zealand that were interested in using social media channels to enhance their connections with their customers. Considering that my PhD is highly related to the position would I stand a chance in terms of eligibility?

    • October 26, 2015 2:21 pm

      So long as you finished after we hired our last postdoc (July 2015) you are eligible to apply, yes.

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