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Postdoctoral Scholar - Criminal Justice - Berkeley Institute for Data Science

Position overview

Position title: Independent Research Fellowship-Criminal Justice
Salary range: Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience . The salary minimum for the position is $70,000.
Percent time: Full time.
Anticipated start: Flexible
Position duration: Two-year position, subject to review after one year.

Application Window

Open date: November 16th, 2021

Last review date: Wednesday, Dec 1, 2021 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications received after this date will be reviewed by the search committee if the position has not yet been filled.

Final date: Friday, Dec 17, 2021 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

Position description

Criminal justice, as well as human welfare and social justice, has become a defining challenge in the United States. One area of focus is police misconduct. In 2020, a federal legislative proposal emerged to form national databases containing police misconduct information and a “decertification” registry that tracks the movement of officers with a pattern of misconduct. But the success of these national databases, and the overall effort to hold law enforcement accountable, ultimately turns on pulling together many disparate data repositories to make police misconduct information accessible and transparent.

Working with multiple collaborators, the Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS) proposed a platform to increase accountability in the criminal justice systems. The envisioned platform will leverage machine learning and other approaches from data science to dramatically improve access to and analysis of police misconduct records and related data. It will serve as a fundamental national resource for criminal justice reform and the acceleration of anti-racist and social justice initiatives. The system builds upon seminal work on a database and app for public defenders at the Legal Aid Society in New York and now at the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).

BIDS is now seeking a creative and driven post-doctoral researcher for an Independent Postdoctoral scholarship to conduct independent, self-directed research using the latest data science methods and tools to answer questions related to equity in criminal justice and law enforcement accountability. The scholar will have the opportunity to utilize the data and infrastructure developed via the new platform, and to collaborate with leading journalists, data scientists, researchers, and defense lawyers who form the Community Law Enforcement Accountability Network (CLEAN). Successful candidates will bring a strong background in social sciences, law, and/or criminal justice and in performing data intensive research. Program management experience is also helpful.

In defining and carrying out the independent, self-directed research project, the scholar will work under the guidance of an advisory team made up of BIDS Faculty Affiliates and research staff: David Harding, Sarah Chasins, Rebecca Wexler, and Stéfan van der Walt. The team will mentor the scholar in defining and executing the research project and will provide support, such as accessing relevant datasets and colleagues.

Evaluation of success in this position will be judged on the creation/contribution of a mixture of research products in scope of the independent, self-directed research project. The research products expected include but are not limited to communicating the research project results in academic publications; contributing to open source scientific software, curated datasets / databases, and blogs; and developing whitepapers about data science and criminal justice. Ideally the work will have the potential to affect public policy.

The position will also benefit from collaboration with Accenture Applied Intelligence. Accenture supports BIDS’ research and educational objectives in data science with current focus on environment and energy, ethical AI, and social justice. The researcher will be able to leverage this relationship to fully harness the data landscape and expertise available.

In addition, as part of the BIDS research community, the scholar will have the opportunity to learn from individuals engaged in research software development, computational reproducibility, and data intensive research from a diversity of domains.


● Define and perform independent research to increase the understanding of accountability in the criminal justice system.
● Help to establish transparent and open best practices useful for performing data intensive research in criminal justice, as well as general use.
● Develop a workshop or discussion series for BIDS faculty, researchers, and collaborators and the larger UC Berkeley social science and criminal justice community.

● Give talks and presentations to a variety of audiences including the University of California community, Accenture Applied Intelligence leaders and researchers, members of the CLEAN network, and globally at domain specific conferences.
● Produce research products expected include but are not limited to communicating the research project results in academic publications; contributing to open source scientific software, curated datasets / databases, and blogs; and developing whitepapers about data science and criminal justice.
● Update advisors, as well as collaborators at Accenture Applied Intelligence and other Accenture stakeholders, regularly on research progress through meetings.

This position is covered by a collective bargaining agreement for Postdoctoral Scholars.


Basic qualifications (required at time of application)

PhD or equivalent international degree or enrolled in a PhD or equivalent international degree program.

Additional qualifications (required at time of start)

No more than four years of post-Ph.D or equivalent international degree research experience

Preferred qualifications

PhD or equivalent international degree in Criminal Justice, Law, or relevant Social Science discipline.

● Experience in the design of data collection, statistical analysis, and data visualization strategies
● Capable of identifying, communicating, and solving problems when integrating heterogeneous data
● Extensive experience communicating data analysis to a wide range of skill levels and audiences
● Well versed in data cleaning methodology and enjoys working with “messy” data
• Program management experience
• Fluency in R and/or Python
• Demonstrated ability to collaborate with diverse stakeholders from government, civil society, and industry

In accordance with the BIDS ideals, we are especially interested in postdoctoral researchers with a history of working with open science and transparency in work. We find that those with ability to implement relevant data science infrastructure, pipelines, software, and tools while performing research activities are particularly successful, becoming well integrated in our efforts to achieve open and reproducible work

Application Requirements

Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Statement of Accomplishments - 1-2 pages. Include contribution to scientific research papers, scientific software, science communication, science communication, datasets created, workshops, and public code.

  • Writing sample

  • Research Proposal - 1-2 pages. This proposal is not necessarily a commitment of what you will work on in your project, but serves a way for the application committee to assess your ability to plan a research project. We understand that your research project may change and evolve as you learn more about data available to you. You may use hypothetical datasets, but they should be realistically achievable with current technologies. Also, please include how you imagine leveraging the expertise of advisors.

Reference requirements
  • 3 required (contact information only)

Letters of reference will only be solicited for finalists

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Campus Information

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are core values at UC Berkeley. Our excellence can only be fully realized by faculty, students, and academic and non-academic staff who share our commitment to these values. Successful candidates for our academic positions will demonstrate evidence of a commitment to advancing equity, inclusion, and belonging.

The University of California, Berkeley is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

In searches when letters of reference are required all letters will be treated as confidential per University of California policy and California state law. Please refer potential referees, including when letters are provided via a third party (i.e., dossier service or career center), to the UC Berkeley statement of confidentiality ( prior to submitting their letter.

As a condition of employment, you will be required to comply with the University of California SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Policy All Covered Individuals under the policy must provide proof of Full Vaccination or, if applicable, submit a request for Exception (based on Medical Exemption, Disability, and/or Religious Objection) or Deferral (based on pregnancy) no later than the applicable deadline. For new University of California employees, the applicable deadline is eight weeks after their first date of employment. (Capitalized terms in this paragraph are defined in the policy.)

Job location

UC Berkeley campus, California