Postdoctoral Fellow on Spatiotemporal Analytics of COVID-19’s Second-Order Impacts on Global Vulnerable Communities


Monday, October 12, 2020, 12:00pm


Cambridge, MA

Project Background and Overarching Research Objective
This project addresses the role of spatio-temporal data, including open data, upon the understanding and mitigation of impacts from the global COVID-19 pandemic. The research undertaken will focus on possible long-term and second-order impacts of COVID-19 and the responses that have been enacted at multiple scales, from multinational regions to neighborhood-levels. Development backsliding during this pandemic is a high risk for developing countries and rapidly growing cities due to new migration patterns, a collapse of informal economies, lacking supplies, disparate basic services and health sites, and overcrowded informal settlements.

A key goal of these activities is to facilitate discussion and enable research and reporting to inform participatory mapping and open data creation taking place in developing countries to mitigate COVID-19 second order impacts. The supported local mapping projects will include local partners’ application of proven and innovative participatory and remote mapping methods to create open data, conduct analyses, and produce publicly-available digital maps in support of data-driven decision-making for food security, economic development, and social services (to include health, water, and education). Participating local partners will include a diverse group of stakeholders, such as academia, non-governmental organizations, community organizations, municipal and regional governments, or private sector.

The outcome of this project will support an increased capacity in developing countries to use mapping and analysis for mitigating COVID-19 impacts by enabling the understanding of resource needs and availability for vulnerable populations. This will facilitate the fulfillment of those needs and promote resilience and sustainability in the face of COVID-19 and beyond. This research effort will strengthen analysis and application of geospatial data to understand COVID impacts in developing countries; promote geospatial awareness and capacity building with local partners from academia, municipal governments, and community groups; and enhance analytical products and outputs shared at the local level for mitigating COVID second-order effects.

Working with mentors and research collaborators, co-organize academic events on the subject of spatiotemporal analytics of COVID-19’s second-order Impacts on global vulnerable communities.

• A symposium
• Three technical webinars
• Two international hackathons

Conduct literature review, data examination and technology benchmarking, and co-author three reports (preferably peer-reviewed papers) on the following topics.

• Assessment of COVID-19 second-order impact measurements, indicators and analysis
• Evaluation of mobile data collection tools, virtual communication platforms and data visualization dashboards for addressing COVID-19 second-order impacts
• Review of COVID-19 related geospatial data privacy, protection and ethics issues

Basic Qualifications

• A Doctoral degree in geography, geographic information science, environmental science or a related field.

NOTE: If you have obtained your Ph.D. in the past 12 months you must be able to provide a certificate of completion from the degree-granting institution OR a letter from the institute’s registrar stating all requirements for the degree have been successfully completed and should verify the date the degree has been conferred. No exceptions.

Additional Qualifications

• Strong understanding of geospatial data and analytics required.
• Must be proficient with common GIS software packages.
• Experience with geospatial data collection, management, statistics and visualization required.
• Must have superior technical skills, attention to detail, and the ability to function as a contributing team member.
• Must have strong documentation and communication skills.
• Must be able to collaborate effectively with researchers across organizational structures and across knowledge domains.

To apply

Send a curriculum vitae, statement of research interests, degree certificate (if applicable), and names and contact information for three references to Wendy Guan ( Research papers (up to three) are welcome but optional. Review of applications will begin immediately and end when the position is filled. 

This is a one-year term appointment with the possibility of extension based on funding and performance. Incumbent will work remotely based on Harvard University’s COVID-19 response policy until further notice. Work must be performed within the state of Massachusetts. Unfortunately, Harvard cannot provide visa sponsorship for this position.

Equal Opportunity Employer    
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions or any other characteristic protected by law.

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