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Hiring for the Social Science Prediction Platform

The Social Science Prediction Platform is hiring for a pre-doctoral fellow and a full-stack developer. Please see the job adverts below.


Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

Job description: The Social Science Prediction Platform is an online platform that enables researchers to collect ex ante forecasts of what their studies will find. These forecasts can be useful in a number of applications, some of which are summarized in this Science Policy Forum piece. 

Profs. Stefano DellaVigna (UC Berkeley) and Eva Vivalt (University of Toronto) are seeking a pre-doctoral research associate to assist with the Social Science Prediction Platform and be an integral part of the team. The position will be full-time and last for a minimum of one year with the possibility of extension. The Fellow will be based in the Department of Economics at the University of Toronto. Work authorization in Canada, whether by citizenship or an open work permit, is strictly required. Past research assistants working with Eva Vivalt on other projects have subsequently gained admission to top PhD programs in Economics and Political Science.

Duties may include:

  • Designing and testing forecasting surveys for randomized controlled trials in a number of fields, including behavioral economics, development economics, experimental economics, and labor economics;
  • Identifying candidate projects that would particularly benefit from the collection of forecasts;
  • Liaising with researchers at other universities regarding their projects;
  • Cleaning data related to the project;
  • Participating in weekly team meetings with the PIs and other staff.

Minimum required education and experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in economics, computer science, mathematics, statistics, or a related field;
  • Excellent communication skills in English.

Preferred education and experience:

  • Previous research experience, such as through past research assistantships or an independent research project;
  • Strong quantitative background;
  • Experience with Qualtrics survey software;
  • Experience with a programming language such as Stata, R, or Python;
  • An interest in pursuing a PhD in Economics or a related field.

Start date: as soon as possible

Location: Toronto, Canada

How to apply: please e-mail a CV to Eva Vivalt at eva.vivalt@utoronto.ca with the subject line “Pre-doctoral fellowship”.

Deadline: August 9, 2022. Applications submitted after the deadline will be considered on a rolling basis.


Full-Stack Developer

Job description: Profs. Stefano DellaVigna (UC Berkeley) and Eva Vivalt (University of Toronto) are looking to hire a senior software developer with web development experience to take the lead in updating and expanding the Social Science Prediction Platform (SSPP) at scale. The SSPP facilitates the collection and cataloging of forecasts of research results. It uses the Qualtrics API to integrate surveys programmed in Qualtrics on the SSPP interface and a relational database to connect survey responses to project objects and user data such as contact information, demographics, and preferences. The platform generates complex, large data sets which must be kept confidential.

The developer must have work authorization in Canada or the United States.

The SSPP requires significant extensions and updates to efficiently scale up, including:

  • Improving the usability and navigability of the database structure for users with admin privileges;
  • Improving navigability of the project catalog;
  • Improving the visual presentation of survey results;
  • Automated notification to respondents according to their preferences and past completion of forecasting surveys;
  • Ensuring the Qualtrics and Sendgrid APIs continue to function well with evolving  platform features;
  • Enabling users to edit Qualtrics .qsf files dynamically online;
  • Implementing a secure single sign-on system in collaboration with external platforms;
  • Developing a systemized approach to measuring the accuracy of forecasts and providing these accuracy measures to forecasters;
  • Developing a system to automatically pay forecasters according to their performance and ensuring the security of this system;
  • Identifying and merging duplicate accounts; 
  • Building a dynamic “leaderboard” to publicly reward forecasters that provide accurate forecasts.

Required qualifications:

  • Experience with Python/Django/JavaScript (we use Django/Jinja2 as our main framework);
  • Experience with DevOps (we use Docker locally for development and deploy using Heroku, though we would also like the developer to be responsible for migrating the site to AWS);
  • Ability to design and work with REST APIs (e.g., our platform calls Qualtrics APIs to work with survey data, and SendGrid APIs to enable communication with users and stakeholders);
  • Experience with database management, specifically Postgres; 
  • Excellent understanding of architectural frameworks and data warehousing to design solutions for large, complex data sets;
  • Excellent SQL and data manipulation skills;
  • Experience with SSO providers;
  • Experience developing secure payment systems;
  • Back-end development experience, including experience building the back-end of a database or website in which datasets are being queried, manipulated, and transferred to users;
  • Front-end development experience (e.g., building out intuitive user interfaces, SSR, React, cross-origin communication);
  • Excellent communication skills, including the ability to assess and communicate technical challenges and design decisions.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Some understanding of empirical economic/data science methods;
  • Commitment to producing clean, well-documented code (e.g., as evidenced by public GitHub repos).

Start date: as soon as possible

Location:

  • Option to work remotely: meetings during U.S. Pacific Time hours
  • Option to work in Berkeley, CA or Toronto, ON
  • Must have legal ability to work in the United States or Canada 

Competitive salary.

How to apply: please e-mail a CV/resume and expression of interest to Eva Vivalt at eva.vivalt@utoronto.ca with the subject line “developer application”.


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