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Data Scientist - Computational Social Science Lab

University of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania, United States
Salary Not specified
Date posted
May 21, 2024

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Position Type
Administrative, Academic Affairs, Research Administration
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Job Details

Data Scientist - Computational Social Science Lab

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn's distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning. As an employer Penn has been ranked nationally on many occasions with the most recent award from Forbes who named Penn one of America's Best Large Employers in 2023.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

Posted Job Title
Data Scientist - Computational Social Science Lab

Job Profile Title

Job Description Summary
The Computational Social Science Lab is an organization for the research initiatives of Duncan Watts, a PIK Professor affiliated with Wharton, SEAS, and Annenberg, which seeks novel, replicable insights into societally relevant problems by applying computational methods to largescale data. Through an intensive research infrastructure, industry partnerships, and network of collaborators, the Lab aims to facilitate progress in computational social science and to establish Penn as a global leader and standard-setter in CSS.

The Lab has been building an innovative data infrastructure with high-quality data surrounding phenomena of social importance from multiple providers. This infrastructure creates a complex data collection system as well as a validation component. The Lab needs to ensure secure but flexible access to the data in order to promote mass collaboration in an open-science format among research teams from academy and industry.

Reporting to the Lab's Managing Director, the Data Scientist will manage the ingestion and processing of data from external providers, implement data quality assurance procedures, manage relationships with Amazon's AWS and other external computing clusters, and supervise third party developers.

Job Description

Job Responsibilities
  • Manage the lab's data infrastructure and ingestion of data from external providers; develop and implement rigorous data validation procedures within and across datasets from multiple providers
  • Design and implement cost-effective procedures for organizing, documenting, cleaning, and storing datasets and documenting datasets and code
  • Administer Watts-Lab AWS and similar external computing cluster platforms In coordination with research project managers, maintain data processing pipelines and ensure the delivery of clean and validated data within timelines
  • Supervise third party developers of the Center's data infrastructure and the lab's AWS mTurk schedule and cost dashboard
  • Consult and collaborate with the research staff and external partnership developers to ensure data storage, security, and formatting needs are in place

  • Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Information Technology, Statistics, Data Science, or a related field and five years of related experience or equivalent. Master's degree preferred.
  • Proven experience in managing and architecting large-scale data infrastructures. Experience in administering cloud computing platforms and external computing clusters.
  • Ability to maintain data processing pipelines, ensuring the delivery of clean and validated data. Competency in scripting and programming languages commonly used in data science, such as Python, R, SQL, and possibly others like Java or Scala.
  • Advanced knowledge of data organization, documentation, cleaning, and storage procedures. Strong command of AWS services, particularly those related to data management (e.g., S3, EC2, RDS, Glue) and an understanding of AWS pricing and service optimization.

Job Location - City, State
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School
School of Engineering and Applied Science

Pay Range

Salary offers are made based on the candidate's qualifications, experience, skills, and education as they directly relate to the requirements of the position, as well as internal and market factors and grade profile.

Affirmative Action Statement
Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements
Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

University Benefits
  • Health, Life, and Flexible Spending Accounts: Penn offers comprehensive medical, prescription, behavioral health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits to protect you and your family's health and welfare. You can also use flexible spending accounts to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.
  • Tuition: Take advantage of Penn's exceptional tuition benefits. You, your spouse, and your dependent children can get tuition assistance here at Penn. Your dependent children are also eligible for tuition assistance at other institutions.
  • Retirement: Penn offers generous retirement plans to help you save for your future. Penn's Basic, Matching, and Supplemental retirement plans allow you to save for retirement on a pre-tax or Roth basis. Choose from a wide variety of investment options through TIAA and Vanguard.
  • Time Away from Work: Penn provides you with a substantial amount of time away from work during the course of the year. This allows you to relax, take vacations, attend to personal affairs, recover from illness or injury, spend time with family—whatever your personal needs may be.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: In partnership with Genworth Financial, Penn offers faculty and staff (and your eligible family members) long-term care insurance to help you cover some of the costs of long-term care services received at home, in the community or in a nursing facility. If you apply when you're newly hired, you won't have to provide proof of good health or be subject to underwriting requirements. Eligible family members must always provide proof of good health and are subject to underwriting.
  • Wellness and Work-life Resources: Penn is committed to supporting our faculty and staff as they balance the competing demands of work and personal life. That's why we offer a wide variety of programs and resources to help you care for your health, your family, and your work-life balance.
  • Professional and Personal Development: Penn provides an array of resources to help you advance yourself personally and professionally.
  • University Resources: As a member of the Penn community, you have access to a wide range of University resources as well as cultural and recreational activities. Take advantage of the University's libraries and athletic facilities, or visit our arboretum and art galleries. There's always something going on at Penn, whether it's a new exhibit at the Penn Museum, the latest music or theater presentation at the Annenberg Center, or the Penn Relays at Franklin Field to name just a few examples. As a member of the Penn community, you're right in the middle of the excitement—and you and your family can enjoy many of these activities for free.
  • Discounts and Special Services: From arts and entertainment to transportation and mortgages, you'll find great deals for University faculty and staff. Not only do Penn arts and cultural centers and museums offer free and discounted admission and memberships to faculty and staff. You can also enjoy substantial savings on other goods and services such as new cars from Ford and General Motors, cellular phone service plans, movie tickets, and admission to theme parks.
  • Flexible Work Hours: Flexible work options offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. These approaches involve use of non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures.
  • Penn Home Ownership Services: Penn offers a forgivable loan for eligible employees interested in buying a home or currently residing in West Philadelphia, which can be used for closing costs or home improvements.
  • Adoption Assistance: Penn will reimburse eligible employees on qualified expenses in connection with the legal adoption of an eligible child, such as travel or court fees, for up to two adoptions in your household.

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