Polarization and Social Change Lab Postdoctoral Fellowship

Open Postdoctoral position through the Stanford Impact Labs Postdoctoral Fellowship Program with the Polarization and Social Change Lab, faculty mentor Robb Willer

Postdoctoral Fellow

Stanford Impact Labs is a new initiative at Stanford University investing in highly-motivated teams of researchers and practitioners—impact labs—to generate new insights and solutions to persistent social problems. To begin in the Fall of 2021, Stanford Impact Labs is now accepting applications to the postdoctoral fellowship program in collaboration with three impact labs.

As part of this inaugural program, the Polarization and Social Change Lab is seeking an innovative, accomplished scholar who has, or expects, a PhD in psychology, sociology, political science, economics, or a related field and who has an interest in working in a problem-focused, multidisciplinary, multi-method context with diverse collaborators.

The Postdoctoral Fellow will be responsible for co-designing and leading research projects on depolarization, as well as one or more of the following areas: framing, messaging, and persuasion; race in American politics; political dimensions of economic inequality; social movement mobilization; and online political behavior. Expertise in any of a range of research methods is valued, with a particular emphasis on field experiments, survey experiments, and computational methods (e.g, text analysis, social network analysis). 

 Mentorship Structure

The position will be supervised by Prof. Robb Willer and will involve collaborating with PhD students, post-docs, faculty, and staff affiliated with the lab. Mentorship of the Postdoctoral Associate will be structured according to research and professional interests. 

In addition, a goal of the Stanford Impact Labs Postdoctoral Fellowship Program is to create a diverse community of scholars who are committed to producing research that has a positive impact on society. Postdoctoral fellows will have the opportunity to engage with one other and with the broader Stanford Impact Labs team and community, and will be invited to participate in select activities (approx. 10% total effort), as guided by each fellow’s particular interests and in coordination with the SIL team and respective lab.

Required Qualifications 

  • Applicants should have or expect to have a PhD by September 1st, 2021.
  • Relevant research in psychology, sociology, political science, economics, or a related field.
  • Experience designing and carrying out rigorous empirical research
  • Interest in working in a highly collaborative, multidisciplinary, multi-method context with diverse collaborators.
  • Demonstrated excellence in written and oral communication.
  • A commitment to advancing solutions to social problems through rigorous research, and communicating research findings to diverse audiences, including non-academic audiences;

Preferred Qualifications

  • Intellectual creativity and innovation
  • Methodological rigor
  • Intellectual and practical autonomy
  • Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills 


  • Review of applications will begin on March 1, 2021.
  • Final selections will be made no later than the first week of April 2021.

To apply: To be ensured of full consideration, please upload the following materials in a single PDF document to https://bit.ly/3cmpdS4:

  • CV: Provide a curriculum vitae
  • Letter of interest explaining your motivation to become a postdoc with the Polarization and Social Change Lab through the Stanford Impact Labs fellowship program (500 words max)
  • A representative writing sample, i.e. published or unpublished research paper
  • Short responses to the following three prompts, in 300 words or less for each:
    • Please provide a short description of your dissertation research and broader research agenda.
    • How does your research training and expertise prepare you to make progress towards understanding and identifying practical solutions to social problems? 
    • In what ways have you contributed towards and/or demonstrated a commitment to inclusion, equity, and diversity through your academic career, and how do you plan to advance these commitments professionally?
  • One representative writing sample

Stanford is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Important Info

Faculty Mentor (Last, First Name): Willer, Robb

Stanford Departments and Centers: Sociology; Stanford Impact Labs

Postdoc Appointment Term: 2 year

Appointment Start Date: Fall 2021

Group or Departmental Website: https://www.pascl.stanford.edu/ and https://impact.stanford.edu/

How to Submit Application Materials: Please upload your application materials in a single PDF document at https://bit.ly/3cmpdS4

 Please contact Chrystal Redekopp at redekopp [at] stanford.edu with any additional questions.

For information on university policy for postdoctoral eligibility, please review here.