NICHD funded post-doctorate Researchers

The Baby's First Years study team seeks one or more post-doctorate candidates to apply for postdoctoral funding to work with a principal investigator of the study, through an NIH administrative supplement. The candidates must meet the NIH’s specified eligibility as a member of an under-represented group in the health-related sciences.


If approved for funding, the position will be a 2-year appointment at one of the PI universities (Duke; Teachers College Columbia University; University of California, Irvine; University of Wisconsin-Madison). Which university the position is housed in will depend on whether the successful applicant is best matched with one of the PIs in the social and behavioral sciences (Drs. Greg Duncan, Lisa Gennetian or Katherine Magnuson) or neuroscience (Dr. Kimberly Noble).

Once a candidate is identified, details about the position appointment and formal application with the named candidate will move forward to NICHD for review. This process can take up to a year.

To Apply:

Applications received by July 15, 2021 will be considered for the next NIH deadline of September 15, 2021 with a possible start date of January 1, 2022.

Please submit a cover letter describing your interest and fit with the job and a CV to Applications will be reviewed as received. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews.








Study Description:

The Baby’s First Years study is a pathbreaking random-assignment study of the impact of monthly unconditional cash gifts to low-income mothers of infants during the first three years of their child’s life. The aim is to understand the causal effects of poverty reduction on family life and early childhood development in order to inform policy. As of June 2019, 1,000 racially and ethnically diverse mothers have been recruited from hospitals shortly after giving birth in each of four metropolitan areas —New York City, New Orleans, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Omaha, Nebraska. Forty percent of the mothers in each site were randomized to receive $333/month in cash and sixty percent receive $20/month in cash. More about the study, media coverage, and its motivation can be found herehere and here.


Data are being collected by the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center: mothers and children will be visited in their homes at child ages 12 and 24, and then will be brought to university labs at child age 36 months. Data collection includes surveys about economic and employment, child care, and other aspects of family life, mother’s mental and physical health, and well-being; maternal and children’s hair cortisol, epigenetics, child EEG measures of brain activity, and a full battery of child cognitive and behavioral assessments at 36 months.


This unique multi-institution, multi-site, and multi-year study is led by principal investigators Greg Duncan (University of California Irvine), Nathan Fox (University of Maryland), Lisa Gennetian (Duke University), Katherine Magnuson (Lead, social and behavioral science, University of Wisconsin Madison), Kimberly Noble (Lead, neuroscience, Teachers College, Columbia University), and Hirokazu Yoshikawa (New York University). The PIs are also collaborating with a team of neuroscientists at each site who will assist with measurement of children’s brain development at 36 months old. Finally, Sarah Halpern-Meeking (UW Madison) is also directing a longitudinal qualitative study with a random subset of families from two of the four sites.

BFY Post-Doctorate Qualifications:

  • Within 5 years of a PhD in child development, economics, neuroscience, public policy, psychology, sociology, or related field.

  • Strong quantitative research skills

  • Strong organizational skills

  • Proficiency in Spanish preferred but not required 

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills

  • Experience with experimental (randomized) study designs a plus

  • Meet the following NIH requirement: Citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States or individuals who have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States (ie. in the possession of a permanent resident card)  

  • Meets NIH’s definition of a scholar from an under-represented group based on race/ethnicity, disability, or a disadvantaged background:

    • A) Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see data at and the report Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering). The following racial and ethnic groups have been shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research: Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. In addition, it is recognized that underrepresentation can vary from setting to setting; individuals from racial or ethnic groups that can be demonstrated convincingly to be underrepresented by the grantee institution should be encouraged to participate in this program. For more information on racial and ethnic categories and definitions, see the OMB Revisions to the Standards for Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity ( 

    • B) Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended. See NSF data at

    • C) Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as those who meet two or more of the following criteria: 

      1.  Were or currently are homeless, as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act   (Definition:; 

      2. ​ Were or currently are in the foster care system, as defined by the Administration for Children   and Families (Definition:;

      3.  Were eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program for two or more years   (Definition:;

      4.  Have/had no parents or legal guardians who completed a bachelor’s degree   (see;

      5.  Were or currently are eligible for Federal Pell grants   (Definition:;

      6.  Received support from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and   Children (WIC) as a parent or child (Definition:     requirements). 

      7.  Grew up in one of the following areas: a) a U.S. rural area, as designated by the Health   Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer   (, or b) a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-   designated Low-Income and Health Professional Shortage Areas  (qualifying zipcodes are   included in the file). Only one of the two possibilities in #7 can be used as a criterion for the   disadvantaged background definition. 

    • D) Literature shows that women from the above backgrounds (categories A, B, and C) face particular challenges at the graduate level and beyond in scientific fields. (See, e.g., From the NIH: A Systems Approach to Increasing the Diversity of Biomedical Research Workforce ).

      • ​Women have been shown to be underrepresented in doctorate-granting research institutions at senior faculty levels in most biomedical-relevant disciplines, and may also be underrepresented at other faculty levels in some scientific disciplines (See data from the National Science Foundation National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics: Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, special report available at, especially Table 9-23, describing science, engineering, and health doctorate holders employed in universities and 4-year colleges, by broad occupation, sex, years since doctorate, and faculty rank).