Postdoctoral Scholar in Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative

University of California Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies

Postdoctoral Scholar - Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative - Institute of Governmental Studies

Job #JPF02811
  • VC Res Organized Rsearch Units - Inst of Governmental Studies

Recruitment Period

Open date: December 17th, 2020

Next review date: Thursday, Dec 31, 2020 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Sunday, Jan 31, 2021 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.


The Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative at the University of California, Berkeley seeks applications for a Postdoctoral Scholar, in the area of immigration and access to nonprofit services. This is a 12-month, 100% time position. There is no teaching obligation. The position start date is August 1, 2021, with some flexibility.

The Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative (BIMI) is a partnership of migration experts at UC Berkeley who investigate the social, political, legal and economic dynamics of migration globally as well as locally. We strive to advance thoughtful and substantive conversations on migration that leverage the university's cutting-edge scholarship and its public mission to educate current and future generations. We embrace new data- gathering technologies as well as embedded, on-the-ground fieldwork, drawing from the interdisciplinary expertise of faculty, students and the communities with which we engage. Bringing together research, training and public engagement, BIMI aspires to inform, educate and transform knowledge to improve the well-being of immigrants and the communities they live in.

The successful candidate will work closely with the Faculty Director of the Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative, Professor Irene Bloemraad, and the Executive Director, Dr. Jasmijn Slootjes, on the “Understanding Organizational Inequality in Immigrant-serving Nonprofits” project funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The post-doctoral researcher will work on comparing methodologies for developing the Immigrant Service Accessibility Index, conducting data analysis, writing academic papers, and presenting research at academic conferences.

Understanding Organizational Inequality in Immigrant-serving Nonprofits
Researchers who study nonprofit organizations and the welfare state underscore the explosion of a public-private partnership model such that social and human services in the United States are increasingly provided by nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit services are not, however, universally or broadly available. A small literature spotlights geographic inequities in nonprofit services in rural areas and suburbs, especially as low-income residents increasingly move into suburban communities. This project investigates a related, understudied trend in nonprofit inequities, one tied to the ongoing demographic diversification of the country via immigration. Specifically, (i) to what extent do inequities in nonprofit immigrant services exist, and (ii) what drives such inequalities across place and type of immigrant community? This project studies immigrant services at the organizational level and maps service provision in three areas: health care, immigration legal assistance, and refugee resettlement. Encompassing the U.S. Southwest, the project: (1) builds an original dataset of immigrant-serving nonprofits; (2) develops a service accessibility index through the mismatch between demand and supply of nonprofit immigrant services; (3) tests “demand” theories of the nonprofit sector using demographic data from the American Community Survey; (4) investigates “supply” explanations of the nonprofit sector by using contextual data on the availability of resources; and (5) investigates alternative explanations of organizational inequality by considering the political legitimacy and mobilization of immigrant communities.

The postdoctoral scholar will be the primary researcher in charge of gathering secondary data to test the project hypotheses and will take the leadership role in creating a number of indices of spatial mismatch in access to immigrant services. The scholar will work with the PI and others at BIMI to write, submit and publish academic and publicly oriented articles and research briefs from the project data. The postdoctoral scholar will help in supervision and mentorship of the project research assistants, both graduate and undergraduate students.

The postdoctoral researcher is also expected to participate in the intellectual community at the Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative and on the Berkeley campus. They will be invited to participate in the Interdisciplinary Immigration Workshop and BIMI affiliate events.

Duties will include:
• Conducting collaborative research, including, collecting and cleaning data representing the demand, supply, and political factors that may influence access to immigrant services, testing and comparing methodologies to calculate an immigrant Service Accessibility Index, conducting statistical and spatial analyses in R to explain spatial variation in Immigrant Services Accessibility, and writing academic papers;
• Supporting a small research team, including supervision of graduate and/or undergraduate students in data collection, data analysis, and report production processes related to immigrant-serving organizations, or related topics;
• Co-authoring peer-reviewed journal articles with ladder-rank faculty and others;
• Collaborating with senior faculty and campus researchers to generate research funds, including assisting with developing grant proposals and other development efforts.
• Organizing, in collaboration with others, an academic conference or workshop.

Basic Qualifications (must be met at the time of application)
PhD or equivalent international degree OR enrolled in a PhD or equivalent international degree program.

Additional Qualifications (must be met by the start date of the job)
• A PhD or equivalent international degree.
• Minimum 2 years of experience with spatial data analysis.

Preferred Qualifications
• PhD in Sociology, Demography, Geography, Urban Planning, or related discipline .
• Proficiency with R and minimum 2 years practical experience using R.
• Candidates should have demonstrated experience with the R-spatial library sf and the mapping package tmap in R.
• Candidates should provide evidence that they can successfully apply basic geostatistical/GIS operations, such as buffers, intersects, point-in-polygon operations, area-weighted aggregations, and their implementation in the R sf-package.
• Candidates should have demonstrated experience with the R-Shiny application interface.
• Knowledge of immigration and nonprofit scholarship is preferred but not required.
• Demonstrated experience working with census and American Community Survey data, including querying, retrieving, and aggregating by location, is preferred by not required.
• Demonstrated experience with creating travel time buffers (isochrones) using the Open StreetMap data/Open Source Routing Module is preferred but not required.
• Ability to be self-directed with broadly-defined limits on projects; excellent communication skills, both oral and written; strong research skills, and a demonstrated ability to interact effectively with diverse people in a highly multidisciplinary environment.
• A record of authored publications or articles in preparation is a plus.

The position is open until filled with an anticipated start date of August 2021. This is a one-year, full-time position, with the possibility of renewal based on need, performance, and availability of funding. Previous post-PhD degree experience will be recognized in setting the initial salary within the postdoctoral title. Salary will depend on experience but will follow the minimum postdoctoral salary scale at UC-Berkeley; benefits are included. UC Berkeley has an excellent benefits package as well as a number of policies and programs to support employees as they balance work and family, if applicable.

To Apply
Please visit:

Please address inquiries to Professor Bloemraad, Department of Sociology, University of California Berkeley,

All letters will be treated as confidential per University of California policy and California state law. Please refer potential referees, including when letters are provided via a third party (i.e., dossier service or career center), to the UC Berkeley statement of confidentiality ( prior to submitting their letters.

University of California Postdoctoral Scholars are exclusively represented by the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW). The union’s (UAW 5810) website is Details concerning your benefits as a Postdoctoral Scholar are set forth in Article 3, "Benefits," of the UC-UAW Local 5810 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). A copy of the CBA between the University of California and the UAW is located at:

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:


Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.
  • Cover Letter
Reference requirements
  • 3-5 required (contact information only)