SMC seeks postdoc for 2023

Microsoft Research New England is looking for a postdoctoral researcher interested in bringing sociotechnical perspectives to analyze critical issues of our time. They will join social scientists using empirical and critical methods to study the social, political, and cultural dynamics that shape technologies and their consequences. Our work draws on and spans several disciplines, including anthropology, communication, gender and sexuality studies, history, information studies, law, media studies, organizational and management sciences, science & technology studies, and sociology. 

To apply for this PhD internship, fill out the online application form here. Applications are due December 9, 2022. But read on! Lots of useful info below.

This is an ideal opportunity for a new Ph.D. to conduct original research that brings empirical and critical perspectives to bear on a variety of complex sociotechnical issues. Postdoctoral researchers are expected to devise their own research agendas. We are especially interested in candidates whose work can speak to one of these themes: 

  • Race, caste, and indigeneity; gender and sexual identities; socioeconomic status and class; and the intersectional dimensions of identity as they are entangled with sociotechnical systems 
  • How institutions, organizations, networks, and infrastructures (across sectors and domains) configure and are configured by sociotechnical systems 
  • Notions of cooperation, mutual aid, and community engagement and their relationships to governance and responsible technologies  
  • Political economies and emerging organizational forms in digital labor, community, government, non-profit, creator economy, and private-sector contexts 
  • The politics and public responsibilities of algorithms, platforms, AI, machine learning, metrics, and other manifestations of computational cultures 

Our team is comprised of full-time researchers, postdocs, visiting faculty, Ph.D. interns, and research assistants. Postdocs on our team may also have the opportunity to visit and collaborate with researchers in our sister labs in New York City and Montreal. 

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 2023. The location is Cambridge MA, and the position can be up to 50% work-from-home.

Microsoft Research provides a vibrant multidisciplinary research environment, with an open publication policy and close links to top academic institutions around the world. The postdoctoral research positions offer emerging scholars an opportunity to develop their research career and to interact with some of the top minds in the research community. 


Required Qualifications: 

  • PhD in anthropology, communication, information science, history, media studies, science & technology studies, sociology, or a related field, awarded by July 2023.
  • A research program demonstrated by journal and conference publications. 

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • A strong methodological, analytical, and theoretical foundation in the social or humanistic sciences. 
  • Strong communication skills. 
  • The ability to work in a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary environment that also includes computer scientists, mathematicians, and economists. 
  • Demonstrated leadership potential in research.


Postdoctoral researchers define their own research agenda. Postdocs are expected to be lively contributors to discussions in the SMC research group, and the MSR New England lab.


To apply for this PhD internship, fill out the online application form here.

When prompted, upload your CV and provide names and contact information of three referees; one of your letter writers must be your dissertation advisor.

In addition, you must upload the following 3 documents, as attachments, to your online application: 

1. a single research statement (4 page maximum length) that does the following: 

  • outlines the questions and methodologies central to your research agenda (~ two pages); 
  • offers a description of how your research agenda relates to sociotechnical systems research (~ one page); 
  • provides an abstract and chapter outline of your dissertation (~ one page) 

2+3. two writing samples: journal articles, book chapters, or equivalent (uploaded as two separate attachments). 

Remember to press the “Submit” button at the last screen. 

Note: candidates should tell their recommenders that despite the auto-request for a letter of recommendation, they do not need to submit letters unless they are contacted and asked to do so by a member of the search committee, after the initial review of applications.  

To be assured of full consideration, all of your materials need to be submitted by December 9, 2022. Due to the volume of applications, late submissions (including submissions missing elements of the application package other than letters of recommendation) will not be considered. We will not be able to provide specific feedback on individual applications before or after submission. Finalists will be contacted to arrange an online interview.  

Microsoft is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ancestry, color, family or medical care leave, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, national origin, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, protected veteran status, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws, regulations, and ordinances. We also consider qualified applicants regardless of criminal histories, consistent with legal requirements. If you need assistance and/or reasonable accommodation due to a disability during the application or the recruiting process, please send a request via the Accommodation request form.