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Postdoctoral Associate: Science and Technology Studies

Position Information

Position Information:

Working Title: Postdoctoral Associate: Science and Technology Studies
Faculty Rank: Postdoctoral Associate
Posting Number: SR0160233
About Virginia Tech:

Virginia Tech is a public land-grant university, committed to teaching and learning, research, and outreach to the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world. Building on its motto of Ut Prosim (that I may serve), Virginia Tech is dedicated to InclusiveVT—serving in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence. We seek candidates who adopt and practice the Principles of Community, which are fundamental to our on-going efforts to increase access and inclusion, and to create a community that nurtures learning and growth for all of its members. Virginia Tech actively seeks a broad spectrum of candidates to join our community in preparing leaders for the world.

Position Summary:

This one-year postdoctoral position is funded as part of an NSF CAREER award on “Globalizing Nuclear Emergency Response: Challenges for Interdisciplinary Engagement and International Expertise.” The project utilizes the interdisciplinary tool-kit of Science and Technology Studies (STS) to explore questions relating to the unique quality of disaster response expertise, and addresses the prospects of globalizing nuclear emergency response through an integrated research, education, and outreach program. Research areas of particular interest are tacit knowledge preservation, organizational design for flexibility, and evaluating expert improvisation, particularly for the classroom. The principal investigator on the project is Dr. Sonja Schmid.

The postdoctoral fellow will play an active role in the project, work independently on her or his own publications and research, and will teach one graduate seminar over the summer. The fellows project-related responsibilities include collecting and analyzing data (which will require travel), writing articles and reports, and presenting findings at conferences, independently and with the PI. Specifically, the project-related tasks include active participation in (1) mapping existing nuclear disaster response expertise, (2) documenting historical dimensions of nuclear emergency expertise, and (3) developing criteria for effective nuclear emergency response expertise. In addition to research, the postdoctoral fellow will assist with all outreach activities associated with this grant, including a monthly speaker series.

Applicants should have interdisciplinary research interests that overlap with the NSF project, for example, in social and historical studies of nuclear safety, nuclear history, emergency preparedness and response, disaster resilience, sociology of organizations, organizational design, operational flexibility, or expert improvisation. Anticipated benefits from archival resources and access to policy-making organizations available in the Washington, DC metro area should be clearly stated in the application.

Applications are encouraged from a variety of fields, including science and technology studies, history, sociology, anthropology, disaster studies, and other relevant fields.

Required Qualifications:

Applicants must possess a Ph.D. in a relevant social science or humanities field (e.g., science and technology studies, history, sociology, anthropology, or communication). Applicants must have advanced methodological expertise in interviewing and qualitative data analysis, excellent writing skills, and motivation to take initiative to ensure the success of the project. Preference will be given to candidates who exhibit evidence of research interest and demonstrated knowledge in social and historical studies of nuclear safety, nuclear history, emergency preparedness, and response, disaster resilience, sociology of organizations, organizational design, operational flexibility, and expert improvisation. Additionally, foreign language skills (especially Russian, French, Japanese, or German) are highly desirable. Applicants must be willing to travel.

Applicants must have completed all the requirements for the Ph.D. by June 2017, or have received their degree within the last five years.

Preferred Qualifications:
Employment Conditions: Must have a criminal background check
Must have a conviction check: Yes
Describe Other:

This position start date is August 10, 2017. The stipend is $55,000. In addition, the NSF grant provides support for research and conference travel. The postdoctoral fellow is expected to be in residence in the Washington, DC area for the duration of the position and be an active colleague at Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, VA. The fellow will be mentored by the PI; office space will be provided.

Employment Comments:
How to Apply for this Job:

For a complete listing of position qualifications, and to apply, please visit, and search for posting #

Review of application materials will begin on April 21, 2017 and continue until the position is filled. Applicants should send the following materials in PDF format by email attachment to, with the subject heading of “Postdoc Application”:
1) Cover letter: Please briefly situate your work in relation to the field of nuclear emergency response, and address your experience within interdisciplinary academic environments. Include a section describing your research directions, and a brief statement of how you plan to utilize the resources of the Washington, DC area in your research; 2) a full curriculum vitae; 3) a writing sample consisting of either a dissertation chapter or an article; and, 4) the names and full contact information (especially phone number and e-mail address) of three references.

Information about the Dept of STS can be found at

Questions should be directed to:

Employee Category: Research Faculty
Appointment Type: Restricted
If restricted or temporary, enter end date: August 9, 2017
FLSA Status: Exempt: Not eligible for overtime
Tenure Status: Non-Tenure Track
Academic Year or Calendar Year: Standard Academic Year
Percent Employment: Full-time
If part time, enter Percent Time:
Pay Band
Pay Range:
Department: Science and Technology in Society
Location: National Capital Region
Location, if not Blacksburg: Falls Church, VA
Location Zip Code: 22043
Job Posting Date: 03/07/2017
Review Begin Date: 04/21/2017
Job Close Date(if applicable):
Restricted to university employees only? No
Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Statement:

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, or veteran status; or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees, or applicants; or any other basis protected by law.

For inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies, contact the executive director for Equity and Accessibility at 540-231-2010 or Virginia Tech, North End Center, Suite 2300 (0318), 300 Turner St. NW, Blacksburg, VA 24061.

Reasonable Accommodation Statement:

If you are an individual with a disability and desire accommodation please contact the hiring department.

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Supplemental Questions

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

Required Documents

Required Documents
  1. Cover Letter
  2. Resume/Curriculum Vita
  3. Other Doc
  4. List of References
Optional Documents