Full-time Research Assistant, Chen SDN Centre, Caltech

Jan 11, 2022 | Job Postings, Research Assistants

Job Summary

The Chen SDN Center is interested in soliciting applications for full-time research assistant positions for two years. RA will work in a fast-paced, supportive research environment and learn how to work both independently and in collaboration. The goal of this two-year period is to introduce talented college graduates to active research life, enable scholars to do and publish high-quality science and prepare research assistants for admission to, and success at, high-quality Ph.D. programs. These positions are geared towards outstanding recent college graduates who plan to later pursue a Ph.D. program and subsequent research career in human social and decision neuroscience. The Caltech SDN faculty is small but our collective research interests cover a lot of ground. There is a wide range of affiliated faculty across different Chen Centers (see https://neuroscience.caltech.edu/people/affiliated-faculty1).

We are interested in cognitive neuroscience, computational neuroscience, systems neuroscience, non-human animal studies, and how behaviors studied in social science (political judgment, consumer choice, strategic thinking, affect, etc.) are implemented in the brain (see https://neuroscience.caltech.edu/about/research-centers/tc-chen-center-social-and-decision-neuroscience for details). At the end of the first year, selected RAs will give a formal research presentation open to the entire Caltech neuroscience community. RA will conduct research in a Caltech lab group, supervised by an experienced senior faculty member (PI). Based upon the information provided in the statements of research, a matching algorithm will be used to match selected individuals with faculty (supervision by two or more faculty members is possible).

The deadline to submit an application is March 1, 2022. Although flexible, the anticipated start date would be July 1 – September 1, 2022.

Job Duties

  • Design and construct experiments.
  • Collect and analyze data.
  • Conduct presentations of the analyzed data.
  • RA are expected to attend regular lab science meetings and fully participate in lab activities.

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree from a four-year accredited university by the start of the assignment.
  • Familiarity with R, Python, SPM, Overleaf, SQL.
  • Have strong university academic records (a minimum GPA of 3.5 is suggested).
  • Have majored or minored in a STEM field with some prior research experience.

Required Documents 

  • Resume
  • Two names of individuals who may be contacted for references (in the form of written letters or optionally recordable conversations).
  • Statements of research interest. The research interest statements should indicate what type of research you would like to do at Caltech (1500-word limit).
  • Rank up to three (3) Caltech social and decision neuroscience faculty whose groups you would be most interested in joining (tied ranks are allowed; add 100 words about your motivation for ranking each person).
  • A description of how this work experience will help you reach your academic and long-term career goals (500 characters maximum).


A perk of Caltech employment tis the opportunity to audit courses at Caltech (timing subject to the mutual agreement of supervising PI professors). Courses should be selected that will assist them to learn content and methods applicable to the lab so that productivity can be maximized.

COVID-19 Vaccine Required for All Employees

Caltech has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy effective October 15, 2021, requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees (with Institute-approved exemptions for religious or medical contraindications only). At present, an individual is deemed “fully vaccinated” when that person has received, at least 14 days prior, either the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson). As a condition of employment, employees must submit official COVID-19 vaccine documentation. More information may be found here.
EEO Statement

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

Caltech is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

To read more Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) go to eeoc_self_print_poster.pdf.

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