Work type



Capability Area

Research and Survey

Senior Data Scientist - Center for Excellence in Survey Research

Apply now Job no: 495325 Work type: Regular Full-Time Location: Chicago – 55 East Monroe Street, IL Capability Area: Center for Excellence in Survey Research


NORC at the University of Chicago is seeking a Senior Data Scientist to support a diverse range of research projects. At NORC, Data Scientists play a strategic role in partnering with our research teams to produce valuable insights for our clients. They work collaboratively in multi-disciplinary teams to help drive innovative solutions. Data Scientists develop and implement algorithms, models, and work flows to extract information from disparate structured and unstructured datasets, including text, image, and audio data. They also design studies for causal inference, create applications for data scientific workflows, and communicate research findings to both specialist and general audiences.


CESR is a research center at NORC that focuses on methodological innovations in social research. At CESR, you’ll work with a dynamic, vibrant, and multidisciplinary team of researchers, with expertise ranging from statistics, survey methodology, and data science to public policy and program evaluation.

CESR helps to identify and share best practices – both internally and externally – across the continuum of research design and implementation at NORC. To accomplish its mission, CESR conducts timely, state-of-the-art statistical and methodological research on survey and evaluation designs, estimation methods, as well as advanced analytics with data from disparate sources such as survey, administrative, and other unstructured data. CESR researchers partner with colleagues and work on projects housed in every research department at NORC to encourage innovation and the adoption of industry best practices in our methodologies. External clients benefit from CESR’s expertise by working directly with CESR or through a multidisciplinary collaboration with NORC’s research departments in health, education, criminal justice, economics, and other fields.


As a Senior Data Scientist in CESR, you’ll

  • develop programs for data transformation, integration, or reduction;
  • prototype and ship production-grade applications for (among others) data coding, entity resolution, predictive analytics, data visualization, data dashboards, and report generation;
  • perform custom data analysis to support all phases of the data collection and research pipeline;
  • design and implement research plans for program evaluation, using both experimental and quasi-experimental methods;
  • participate in business development, including researching and crafting sections of technical proposals;
  • coordinate and conduct internal data science presentations and workshops;
  • communicate research findings to colleagues, clients, and research peers across a range of media;
  • assist CESR leadership with driving data science innovation in CESR and at NORC;
  • mentor and facilitate the professional development of Data Analysts and Data Scientists;
  • keep current with innovations and trends in data science and survey methodology.
  • An advanced (Masters or above) degree in one of the following fields is required: a social science or public policy related field, or a quantitative field such as math, statistics, computer science, or data science.
  • At least nine years’ experience in positions of increasing responsibility in a research or data analysis role, which may include graduate-level training at the PhD level or equivalent experience in applied research, is required.
  • Proficiency in statistics and statistical methods (e.g. probability, regression, generalized linear models) is required.
  • Proficiency in at least one of R or Python and their packages for data manipulation, visualization, statistics, and machine learning is required.
  • Experience in communicating scientific research to both specialist and general audiences is required.
  • Familiarity with methods for causal inference, including the potential outcomes framework, experimental design, and quasi-experimental designs (e.g. difference-in-differences, instrumental variables, regression discontinuity), is preferred.
  • Experience in conducting original research – either independently or as a member of a research group or lab – including research design, novel data collections, data analysis, and preparation of papers, posters, or other presentations, is preferred.
  • Familiarity with areas of data science such as multi-level modeling, machine learning (e.g. methods for regularization, classification, and clustering), natural language processing (text pre-processing, text classification, named entity recognition, etc.), computer vision (e.g. image classification, image object detection), or deep learning libraries is preferred.
  • Familiarity with Bayesian estimation and software for Bayesian inference (e.g. JAGS, Stan) is preferred.
  • Experience with version control workflows and tools (e.g. Git), databases (e.g. SQL), big data technologies (Hadoop, Spark, Hive, etc.), and cloud computing environments (e.g. AWS, Google Cloud, Azure, etc.) is preferred.
  • Experience with leading a data science team, including crafting and implementing a data science research agenda, as well as facilitating the professional development of junior staff, is preferred.
  • Familiarity and interest in social scientific and public policy research, as well as applications of data scientific methods to such research, is preferred.


In your application, please include:

  • A cover letter that speaks to the required and preferred skills listed above;
  • A resume;
  • Sample work (e.g. research papers, code, data visualizations), either as an attachment or as a link to an online portfolio.



NORC at the University of Chicago is an objective, non-partisan research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, NORC has conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with NORC to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge.

NORC conducts research in five main areas: Economics, Markets, and the Workforce; Education, Training, and Learning; Global Development; Health and Well-Being; and Society, Media, and Public Affairs.

We provide comprehensive and integrated services that span the research cycle, and offer solutions that anticipate and address critical needs in research and data science. We approach all work with deep technical expertise, a spirit of collaboration, and a commitment to scientific integrity.  


As one of the oldest not-for-profit, academic research organizations in the United States, and through its affiliation with the University of Chicago, NORC maintains the highest standard of professional excellence and scientific rigor, and is committed to broad dissemination of its findings.


NORC’s subject matter experts and survey professionals develop and employ innovative study designs, research methods, and technical applications to derive meaningful and accurate results.


NORC cultivates an interdisciplinary culture of achievement in which senior investigators from diverse fields and professional backgrounds collaborate with the next generation of researchers in an open, collegial environment.


NORC is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer that values and actively seeks diversity in the workforce. NORC evaluates qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other legally- protected characteristics.


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