Post-doctorate Researcher

The Post-Doctoral Scholar will assist the Baby’s First Years team with the development, pilot testing and successful execution of the age 2 and 3 research visits. Core responsibilities include:

(1) Monitor data quality and provide personalized data collection support to field-based interviewers across all study sites for both age 2 and 3 research visit waves. Some travel to study sites will be required.

(2) Work closely with study PI’s to prepare the research visit at age 3 including tool development and testing, field-interviewer training, and establishing data tracking, quality oversight, and processing pipelines. Anticipated: up to 10-20% travel

(3) Oversee the successful launch of lab visits, train site-based research assistants, and rigorously monitor data quality throughout the age 3 phase.

(4) Manage a team of research assistants.

(5) Lead data analysis efforts, and assist with dissemination, including conference presentations and manuscript preparation.

To Apply:

Please complete the application at:

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.

Minimum Qualifications: 

The Post-Doctoral Scholar candidate must:

  • Have received a PhD in child development, neuroscience, psychology or a related field

  • Have experience with assessing childhood cognition, parent-child interactions, physiology, and/or brain development

  • Have strong quantitative and statistical research skills

  • Be extremely detail-oriented, adept at multi-tasking and have strong organizational skills

  • Have excellent written and interpersonal communication skills

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Conversationally fluent proficiency in Spanish (full bilingualism a strong plus)

  • Experience working closely with infants and young families

  • Experience with experimental (randomized) study designs