Posted to IASSIST on: 2021-01-28

Employer: University of Michigan

Employer URL:


Working Title: Data Support Specialist
Full/Part Time: Full-Time
FLSA Status: Exempt
Salary: 51,000-56,000 depending on experience

The Institute for Research on Innovation and Science (IRIS) is seeking a Data Support Specialist to join its Research Support Team. Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, this position is a two-year term-limited appointment with the possibility of an extension based on availability of continued funding. The successful candidate will report to the Research Manager.

IRIS is a consortium of universities using big administrative data to understand, explain, and improve research and higher education. IRIS is part of the Innovation, Networks, and Knowledge (INK) program at the Institute for Social Research (ISR) at the University of Michigan. ISR is the world’s largest academic social science survey and research organization and conducts some of the most widely-cited and influential social science research in the world. See for more information.

NOTE: A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. Cover letters should clearly address the applicant’s interest in the position and specifically highlight the skills and experience that are relevant to the required qualifications described in this posting.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this position is currently 100% remote. We anticipate an eventual return to work in the office when conditions permit.


With guidance from the Research Manager, major responsibilities will be:

Code development for data curation, analysis, and visualization (50%):

  • Improve data quality through data cleaning and harmonizing
  • Improve data integrity through disambiguation techniques
  • Develop an automation process in building and maintaining datasets for linkage work
  • Develop and revise code for data visualization

Workshop instruction (30%):

  • Help prepare teaching materials for various training workshops, including contributing to the syllabus and creating training datasets
  • Provide support to trainees via regular office hours and consultation as needed
  • Serve as a point of contact for external instructional partners

Assistance to Research Support Team in handling data requests from researchers using IRIS data (20%):

  • Provide technical assistance to researchers working in the IRIS virtual secure data enclave
  • Provide answers to data field and file questions
  • Investigate data issues identified by researchers
  • Develop new data files and fields per researcher request

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in a social science field (such as political science, sociology, or economics), information science, or other relevant field
  • 2 or more years’ experience in social science research in a higher education setting which should include carrying out some aspect of research (such as data collection or data entry/analysis) and participation in distribution of research findings (such as helping prepare presentations, publications, abstracts)
  • Understanding of data management best practices
  • Experience with Python
  • Familiarity with relational databases, preferably SQL
  • Experience giving presentations
  • Customer-focused, with the ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships with researchers and external stakeholders
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written

Desired Qualifications

  • Master’s degree/coursework in a social science field (such as political science, sociology, or economics), information science, or other relevant field
  • Experience developing teaching materials
  • Working with restricted access data, administrative data, and large datasets
  • Advanced Python skills
  • Advanced knowledge of SQL and relational databases

Benefits at the University of Michigan

In addition to a career filled with purpose and opportunity, The University of Michigan offers a comprehensive benefits package to help you stay well, protect yourself and any eligible family members and plan for a secure future. Benefits include:

  • Generous time off
  • A retirement plan that provides two-for-one matching contributions with immediate vesting upon meeting eligibility requirements
  • Many choices for comprehensive health insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Long-term disability coverage
  • Flexible spending accounts for healthcare and dependent care expenses

Additional Information

The Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to serve the diverse people of Michigan, to maintain the excellence of the university, and to ground our research in varied disciplines, perspectives, and ways of knowing and learning. The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

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Archived on: 2021-02-04