The Marron Institute is looking to hire a full-time research scholar to work on a comparative project examining differences in transit-infrastructure costs around the world, led by Drs. Eric Goldwyn and Alon Levy. The posting is for 1 year, to begin in the summer or fall of 2020, with the possibility of renewal for a second year. The work is done primarily in New York, but given the required scope of international work, remote work is possible.
The project aims to answer the questions, why do public transportation infrastructure projects in one city cost more than in another city?, and what can high-cost cities like New York do to reduce their construction costs to the levels of low-cost cities?
This has a quantitative component and a qualitative component. The quantitative component is a database covering most urban rail projects from the last 30 years and potentially additional megaprojects (such as high-speed rail or accessibility retrofits). The qualitative project is a deep dive into six different cities with recent or ongoing urban rail megaprojects. Preference will be given to candidates who can contribute to both tracks, but the qualitative track is more important as it is expected to be harder so experience with ethnographic methods is a plus.
The first priority is case selection. The research scholar will collaborate in writing project descriptions that identify the key elements of each project, help supervise graduate assistants who find additional data to deepen the database, and help analyze the data to determine which cases to pursue. The co-leads and the research scholar will use all of this information to select which six cases to study in greater depth, based on such criteria as the research group's language skills, which cases appear most interesting at first glance, where local experts and officials are the most responsive. Ideally, the research scholar will have in-depth experience in one such case study and will be able to take charge of it.
The position requires the following qualifications:
- A Ph.D. in a relevant field, such as urban planning, transportation engineering, or comparative politics; in exceptional cases, extensive work experience in transportation planning or in comparative research can substitute for the degree. - For candidates whose background is more on the engineering side: either preexisting experience with writing qualitative research, including reaching out to strangers and interviewing them, or the ability and desire to learn quickly. - For candidates whose background is more on the social science side: either preexisting familiarity with relevant engineering terms (such as "cut-and-cover") or the ability and desire to learn quickly. - Excellent oral and written communication skills. - General interest and enthusiasm for the project.
The following qualifications are recommended but not strictly required:
- Fluency in a foreign language used in a country with ongoing rail construction, such as Chinese, Korean, Spanish, German, French, Russian, or Arabic. - The ability to write a case study in one or more cities with ongoing urban rail construction program, for example through past academic or professional work on transportation issues in that city. - Past experience with ethnographic methods through academic research or professional experience. - Past experience in dealing with government agencies through academic research, advocacy, journalism, or public-sector work. - Past experience supervising others, for example through peer mentoring or grad student teaching.
Please submit a CV, Cover letter, and the name of two references by April 30, 2020.
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