NASA Astrobiology Institute Social Science Post-Doctoral Opportunity

June 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

A post-doctoral opportunity is available at the NASA Astrobiology Institutes. The purpose of this opportunity to study the NAI’s current collaborative practices and provide insight and recommendations for their evolution and improvement, particularly with respect to remote communication, data sharing and analysis across distance, collaborative problem solving, interdisciplinary science, and institutional identity.

The application deadline is July 1, 2011. Application instructions can be found here.

Qualified applicants would have a primary background in the social sciences, particularly interdisciplinary scientific collaboration in distributed organizations, including the use of technology for communication and collaboration across distance. A background in one of the scientific disciplines of astrobiology is highly desirable. Past surveys, recorded events, publications, reviews and other material provide some historical record of the Institute’s evolution, and are available for this effort. These include user surveys from a recent series of remote meetings and activities conducted using a number of collaborative technologies. Follow-up interviews may also provide additional insight on the effectiveness of these distributed interactions. The post-doctoral fellow will be able to use these resources in developing his/her own methodology and definition of research questions that contribute to the overall goal of informing NAI management about ways to improve the institute’s effectiveness in meeting its organizational objectives. The postdoctoral fellow would be based at the NAI Central management office in the Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California, but would be expected to travel to other locations (e.g., team home institutions, meeting locations) as necessary.

The NAI will provide an administrative adviser for this opportunity; applicants must also identify a recognized academic with the required expertise who is willing to serve as the academic adviser. A letter of commitment from this adviser must be submitted along with the application. Applicants should submit that letter as a PDF attachment in an email to, using this subject line: “Adviser’s letter of commitment for Research Opportunity 18644.” The requirement for an academic adviser may be waived for applicants who are more than five years beyond the doctoral degree AND hold the rank of Assistant Professor or higher, or equivalent. The NAI may also require an in-person interview with highly qualified candidates before making a final selection.


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