E-TRIALS Post-Doc/Research Scientist

The E-TRIALS Project: E-TRIALS (Ed Tech Research Infrastructure To Advance Learning Science) is a joint project between the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and The ASSISTments Foundation (TAF) that leverages ASSISTments to support researchers to create randomized controlled trials that strengthen the science of learning. New infrastructure (i.e., software features), funded by NSF, U.S. Department of Education and Philanthropy, is being developed to reduce the cost, and increase the volume, of studies conducted by educational researchers using ASSISTments. Professor Neil Heffernan and his spouse Cristina Heffernan created ASSISTments.


This job will require you to support our collaboration with The ASSISTments Foundation (TAF) a non-profit with a staff dedicated to improving student learning through ASSISTments, a responsive online learning platform that is teacher-paced and evidence-based. ASSISTments experienced tremendous growth in 2020 and is now used by more than 20,000 teachers and their 500,000 students. It is a unique platform that supports teachers and students while also supporting researchers who seek to understand pedagogy and learning. The system is one of few available K-12 math tools proven effective through rigorous randomized controlled research. Professor Heffernan at WPI has several grants that involve him overseeing research and AI work that happens inside of the ASSISTments product, and as such, TAF doing software engineering work to allow that to happen.


Are you looking for a Postdoctoral Fellowship? Applicants for Research Scientist must have a Ph.D. by the start of the position in education, psychology, computer science, information science or a related field. Similar to the role of post-doc, the initial appointment is for one year, renewable based on mutual interest and continued funding. However, this role enables junior scientists to serve as PI or Co-PIs on NSF projects, thereby enabling young scholars to quickly build their CV with an impressive list of funding and projects related to education and technology.


The primary responsibilities of this role will include the following:

  1. Vet, coordinate, and advise external research teams as they set up projects within the E-TRIALS infrastructure in accordance to the tenets of Open Science;

  2. Recruit and support subsequent research cohorts as well as help us design new ASSISTments features that will excite more researchers to use our platform;

  3. Onboard new researchers by conducting informational webinars and walk new users through the process;

  4. Learn and hone your grant-writing skills with Dr. Neil Heffernan as he endeavors to increase funding for the E-TRIALS and related projects;

  5. Work with Dr. Heffernan's PhD students and their masters and undergraduate teams in building out E-TRIALS infrastructure;

  6. Manage the communications and messaging between E-TRIALS and the national community of researchers, funders, and policy-makers.

Required Experience

  • A PhD in fields of education, psychology, computer science, information sciences, or a related field.

  • Driven to work with small teams in a start-up environment, experience in such environments preferred.

  • Strong written and oral communication skills and the ability to target communication to various audiences, including university academics, industry professionals, and teacher users of ASSISTments.

  • Experience coordinating cross-team projects, managing timelines and stakeholders, and strategizing creative solutions towards clear goals with exceptional attention to detail.

  • Proactive, thoughtful, and entrepreneurial work style on both highly independent and team projects.

  • Experience with the Google suite of office products.

  • Experience with databases such as AirTable or GoogleSheets (spreadsheets).


Preferred Experience

  • Experience in K-12 education organizations preferred.


Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. This is typically a paid salary position. If you have any questions, please contact Angela Kao at akao@wpi.edu.