Research Scientist in Productive Youth Development

University of Zurich Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development


Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development

Research Scientist
100 %

The Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development is a scientific center at the University of Zurich focused on youth development. The Center is a joint venture between the University of Zurich and the Jacobs Foundation. We are dedicated to interdisciplinary, developmental research that will ultimately improve the lives of young people. Our researchers come from the fields of economics, psychology, and sociology. We also collaborate with scientists from additional disciplines in our efforts to best understand the first decades of life.

Your responsibilities

Prof. Michael Shanahan at the University of Zurich invites applications for a Research Scientist position with a strong skill set in R. A basic knowledge of gene expression data is a big plus.

The position is part of the research project "Socioeconomic status and the regulation of the genome" funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The main goal of this project is to use data from the US, the Netherlands, and Switzerland to examine how education, income, and occupation are correlated with gene expression patterns (mRNA abundance levels), and the mechanisms that explain these correlations. This particular position will focus on data collected in the United States (as part of Add Health). The responsibilities of this position:
  • Manage and maintain database (survey data, DNA, and mRNA data), transfer data through remote server when necessary.
  • Assist team members with database, constructed variables, codebook, and analysis pipeline.
  • Conduct statistical analysis (linear regression, generalised linear regression, fixed/random effect model, dimension reduction analysis, mediation analysis, etc.); assist in interpretation; create figures, tables, and reports.
  • Familiarity with clean code principles, memory management, parallel computing, and package creation.

Your profile

MS/MA or PhD (discipline is open) with strong quantitative training. Working knowledge of transcriptomic data and bioinformatics is a plus. Strong methodological knowledge and skills, strong skills with R (including tidyverse), good command of English. The successful candidate should have excellent teamwork skills and be interested in going beyond disciplinary boundaries. Energy, focus, dependability, and critical thinking are assets. Communication of complex ideas with simple language is also desired.

What we offer

Research environment:
We offer work in an interdisciplinary, international, and collegial environment located at Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development, the University of Zurich. This 100% effort position comes with a competitive salary depending on experience. The contract is for 2 years with a renewal of 2 years possible. In addition, some travel funds are available each year to visit national and international conferences or attend workshops.

Place of work

Zurich, Oerlikon

Start of employment

The review of applications will begin immediately and continue until position is filled.
The position is to be filled as soon as possible.

Applications should include:
(i) a cover letter that relates the applicants' experience and interests to the project
(ii) a comprehensive CV
(iii) the names and contact information of at least two references.
(iv) Candidates for the position are additionally required to submit an R code sample (URL or attachment).

Please send the documents in one PDF file to Prof. Michael Shanahan.

Further information

Prof. Dr. Michael Shanahan

Apply now

In your application, please refer to


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