Postdoc positions

Institutional Overview


MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory pioneers new research in computing that improves the way people work, play, and learn.

We focus on developing fundamental new technologies, conducting basic research that furthers the field of computing, and inspiring and educating future generations of scientists and technologists.

With more than 60 research groups working on hundreds of diverse projects, researchers focus on discovering novel ways to make systems and machines smarter, easier to use, more secure, and more efficient.

Already a major part of everyday life, computing will become more and more integrated into human experience over the next 50 years. CSAIL will be a driver of this change, attracting brilliant, original thinkers who will dream up technological advances that truly improve our collective existence.


The MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE), part of MIT Sloan School of Management, is a team of visionary, internationally recognized thought leaders and researchers examining how people and businesses work, interact, and will ultimately prosper in a time of rapid digital transformation.

The IDE examines how the rapidly advancing digital economy is changing how we work, interact, and live. We seek out the best practices that will impact the way businesses and people adapt in a world of profound digital transformation. No other initiative or center in the world is exploring the effects of the digital economy with the same determination, focus, perspective or purpose as the IDE.

While our research is inherently academic, its relevance has real-world, real-time impact. Corporations, governments, and foundations all turn to the IDE for insight, best practices, and solutions. We believe our efforts have the power to help people shape their destinies in a time of tremendous technological transformation. Ultimately, our mission is one of hope: there is great opportunity for humans to thrive and prosper in the digital revolution.

Unit Description

The FutureTech Project is an interdisciplinary group that studies the foundations of progress in computing: what are the most important trends, how do they underpin productivity growth, and how can we harness them to sustain and promote prosperity. By drawing on computer science, economics, and management, we aim to identify and understand trends in computing that create opportunities for (or pose risks to) our ability to sustain economic growth. Our goal is to understand and identify levers of influence that enable leaders in computing, scientific funding bodies, and policymakers to better promote the computational foundations of prosperity.

Role Summary

The Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is seeking an exceptional Research Scientist to work with Dr. Neil Thompson as part of the FutureTech research project. The Research Scientist will be responsible for working collaboratively on projects that uncover and quantify the foundations of progress in computing: what are the most important trends, how do they underpin economic productivity and growth, and how can we harness them to sustain and promote shared prosperity.

The Research Scientist will be part of a multidisciplinary research group that includes computer scientists, engineers, and economists. The Research Scientist will plan and conduct original research that makes progress on FutureTech’s research aims of understanding the foundations of progress in computing.

Supervision Received:

Under minimal supervision, works independently, reports to Project Director.

Supervision Exercised:

Participates in supervision of Postdoctoral Researchers, graduate students, and undergraduate researchers. Provides input to the staffing of the project team.

Core Duties / Essential Functions

  • Lead work central to the interests and goals of the FutureTech Project
  • Generate and develop research project ideas that result in important, novel, and orginal research output
  • Contribute to existing projects, both as a direct contributor and supervisor of junior team members
  • Advise students from multiple disciplines on technical details of computing and/or economics and guide them on modeling choices that reflect these
  • Contribute to, or lead, proposals and other submissions for journal articles, conferences, grant applications and updates, research popularizations (e.g., editorials), etc.
  • Understand and contribute to broad group strategic objectives
  • Oversee, advise and provide mentoring to students in the group working on related topics
  • Attend and contribute to lab meetings and other group activities
  • Other project assignments as required

Qualifications & Skills required

  • A Ph.D. in Computer Science (or related) OR a Ph.D. in Economics (or related)
  • Ability to conduct academic research individually and in collaboration.
  • Proven ability to communicate technical concepts and collaborate across different areas of expertise.
  • Strong publication record in relevant domains
  • Interest in interdisciplinary research

Preferred research background

In the following categories, the candidate should have deep expertise in one or more areas and some expertise / experience across as many of the others as possible:

  • Economics of innovation / economic growth
  • Economics of I.T. / A.I.
  • Computer hardware and systems
  • Computer algorithms or software design
  • Deep Learning / Machine Learning
  • Previous experience leading interdisciplinary teams
  • Strong competencies with relevant programming languages (such as Python or R)

Physical Requirements

The position is based within the Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory on site in Cambridge, MA. There is the expectation that individuals will primarily work on site, taking part in regular meetings, work and contributing to the wider group in person.


This is a two-year appointment with the possibility of renewal. Visa sponsorship is available.

Application Process

Interested candidates are encouraged to submit their expressions of interest here. We will reach out if relevant.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

MIT is an equal employment opportunity employer. We value diversity and strongly encourage applications from individuals from all identities and backgrounds. All qualified applicants will receive equitable consideration for employment based on their experience and qualifications, and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin. MIT's full policy on Nondiscrimination can be found here.

MIT considers equivalent combinations of experience and education for certain jobs. All candidates who believe they possess equivalent experience and education are encouraged to apply.

Privacy and Accessibility
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