Job Opportunities

Research Specialist II

The Empirical Study of Conflict (ESOC) Project seeks a Research Specialist to provide geo-spatial and statistical analysis, as well as qualitative research for a multi-university team of researchers. This is a one-year position with possible extension. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Applicants should submit a cover letter and C.V. online. Upon request, candidates should be prepared to submit references, transcripts, and/or writing samples. The final candidate will be required to complete a background check successfully.


Under the direction of the Principal Investigator, the Specialist will help to analyze the impact of economic diplomacy such as China’s Belt and Road Initiative. They may also help develop and analyze data on malign influence campaigns (e.g. COVID-19 related misinformation or the various online disinformation campaigns during the 2016 US elections), as well as contributing to analysis of micro-level data on politically motivated violence worldwide. 


This position is ideal for those with Masters degrees seeking an applied research position as well as exceptional graduating seniors with a strong interest in pursuing a PhD in Economics or Political Science after acquiring applied research experience.


  • Experience conducting either micro-economic and statistical analysis or machine learning tasks
  • Proficiency with R or Python including database queries and working with servers, though candidates with exceptional
  • Stata skills will be considered
  • Excellent writing and analytical skills
  • Evidence of ability to take the initiative in solving practical research problems
  • Ability to work independently and to adjust to rapidly changing needs of researchers


  • Two years or more experience working on applied machine learning projects.
  • Familiarity with SQL or other database systems. Candidates should be familiar with data munging tasks such as transformations and crafting visualizations.
  • Masters degree in Data Science, Economics, or Statistics.
  • Experience with impact evaluation projects involving randomized trials or matched control designs, need not be in an academic setting.
  • Familiarity with the use of ESRI suite of products and Python scripting. Familiarity with SQL or other database systems.
  • Experience with automated scraping of data from websites. Applied experience with machine learning and natural language processing and Familiarity with social media data.

We at the School of Public and International Affairs believe that it is vital to cultivate an environment that embraces and promotes diversity, equity and inclusion — fundamental to the success of our education and research mission.  This commitment to diversity informs our efforts in recruitment and hiring as we actively seek colleagues of exceptional ability who represent a broad range of viewpoints, experiences and value systems, and who share Princeton University's dedication to excellence.

Apply online here.

ESOC Pre-doctoral Fellowship for Data-Driven Research

The Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC) is seeking applicants for its Pre-Doctoral Fellowship for Data-Driven Research.  Participants are hired as predoctoral research specialists on a full-time, benefits-eligible basis for 12-24 months. This program provides an opportunity for recent undergraduates from historically underrepresented groups to gain real-world experience that will prepare them for careers in public service and PhD study in Public Affairs, with a focus on security-related issues.

FDR Fellows will begin with a ten-week analytics boot camp, drawing from online courses for core data processing and visualization skills, research training materials from partnering organizations such as IPA/J-PAL, and Professor Jacob Shapiro’s short course Leading Evidence-Based Decisions for curriculum on how to maximize quantitative evidence. Fellows will then have the opportunity to learn on the job by supporting faculty research projects within SPIA and associated departments.  This is a one-year position. Extension may be possible. Applications must be submitted by April 30, 2021.  For full consideration, please upload the following documents directly to the Princeton University on-line application portal "Upload Other Documents"

  • Resume or CV
  • Candidates should be prepared to submit a writing sample, code sample, or Github link upon request.
  • Transcripts (official or unofficial)
  • Recommendation letters from academic references (minimum of 1, maximum of 3), which should be sent directly from the letter writer to Kristen DeCaires Gall at with the subject “recommendation letter for [Applicant Name].
  • Cover letter that addresses the applicant's research interests as they relate to his or her short and long-term goals


Specific components and benefits of the program are as follows:

  • 12-month employment as a full-time research specialist employed by Princeton University. Fellows can apply to extend for a second year.
  • Opportunity to be matched for mentorship and advising with senior scholars based on applicants’ personal statements, academic backgrounds, and regional focus from a pool of engaged faculty. The experience can be virtual if needed pending COVID-related travel restrictions.
  • Semi-customized two-month data science training pipeline in curriculum developed by ESOC researchers with input from other faculty.
  • Regular networking with other research specialists at Princeton in related fields.
  • Multiple presentation opportunities for project feedback.
  • Advising on careers in policy research and graduate school applications.


  • BA or more advanced degree, preferably in computer science, mathematics, a social science, or statistics, or equivalent work experience/skills for humanities majors
  • Ability to rapidly learn Python, R, or STATA, and ArcGIS software or equivalent
  • Evidence of ability to solve practical research problems
  • Ability to work independently and to adjust to rapidly changing needs of researchers

Apply online here.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

The Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC) at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) at Princeton University seek applicants for a one-year Postdoctoral Research Associate or more senior research position as part of a multi-university team conducting research on efforts by foreign powers to influence politics in democracies and the circulation of COVID related disinformation. The Postdoctoral Research Associate will play a key role in testing and developing technologies to measure online influence efforts in elections as well as conducting broader research on how political campaigns are carried out across social and traditional media. Successful candidates should expect to actively participate in the intellectual life of the School and relevant research communities across departments. A competitive salary, commensurate with experience, and excellent benefits will be offered.

The ESOC team seeks candidates with exceptional potential who have experience applying machine learning tools to large text corpora in communications, computer science, data science, economics, political science, sociology, or other applied field. Preference will be given to scholars with a successful track record of applying innovative technology in operational settings in addition to research experience. Relevant language skills (Russian, Chinese, or major European languages) will be taken into account.  It is preferred that candidates would have less than three years of post-PhD research experience by the start of the appointment.

Applicants should apply online and submit a letter of introduction of no more than 3 pages, a CV, and contact information for three recommendations.

Screening of applications will continue on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Selection will be based on scholarly potential and compatibility with the needs of the research team. Interested applicants are welcome to contact Professor Jacob N. Shapiro ( This position is subject to the University's background check policy.

Apply online here.