We're hiring a postdoctoral research associate!

Postdoctoral Research Associate: Fostering Effective Collaboration & Communication Between Philosophers, STEM Researchers, and Diverse Publics

We seek a postdoctoral fellow to collaborate on two overlapping research projects, to be co-supervised by Dr. Kathryn (Katie) Plaisance and Dr. Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher. Both projects examine and aim to improve knowledge sharing strategies between researchers in STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and math) and non-STEM communities, primarily using qualitative methods. The successful candidate will work with both Principal Investigators (PIs) to advance each project and identify fruitful connections between the two.

Dr. Plaisance (she/her) is a philosopher of science housed in the Department of Knowledge Integration. Her work has examined the barriers philosophers of science face when engaging with STEM-related communities, and what strategies they use to overcome them. The postdoc will work with her on the next phase of this research, which will involve surveying and interviewing STEM researchers to better understand their motivations, challenges, and approaches when it comes to working with philosophers. The ultimate aim of this project will be to create resources for fostering effective collaborations between philosophy and STEM, in order to make scientific research and its applications more epistemically and ethically sound. For more information about her work, see: https://uwaterloo.ca/scholar/kplaisan

Dr. Mehlenbacher (she/her) is a rhetorician of science housed in the Department of English Language and Literature. Her study investigates argument strategies and ethical appeals used by Millenial and Gen Z cohorts surrounding anthropogenic climate change and climate action. In addition to studying persuasive strategies and communication technologies used by these generational cohorts, her project examines how experts in climate-related fields communicate about their work. Research will involve survey and interview data as well as publicly available verbal data. For more information about her work, see: https://uwaterloo.ca/scholar/arkelly


1. Execute research programs, which includes contributing to the design of qualitative research studies, applying for ethics approval, co-developing survey instruments and interview protocols, and collecting and analyzing data.

2. Lead publication efforts, including reviewing drafts, co-authoring publications, and preparing manuscripts.

3. Oversee project management and administrative tasks such as documentation and data management, and manage research assistants when appropriate.

4. Coordinate with both PIs with special attention to where points of overlap might be found between the projects.

Qualifications & Skills 

● PhD in a relevant field, such as: Science and Technology Studies (STS), philosophy ofscience, rhetoric of science, sociology of scientific knowledge, Science of Team Science (SciTS), interdisciplinary studies, or relevant areas of psychology, STEM education, etc.

● Strong skills in qualitative research methods, including interview-based research and qualitative data analysis; ideally, experience using mixed methods approaches.

● Proven ability to efficiently mobilize data to craft peer-reviewed publications.

● Ability to self-motivate and to work well both semi-independently and collaboratively on a research project through to publication.

● Excellent written and oral communication skills.

● Excellent organizational skills, including a demonstrated capacity to manage projects.


● PhD in hand by the start date (September 13, 2021)

● PhD earned within the last five years (not including leaves)

● All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will receive priority in the recruitment process (status may be noted on CV)

● We particularly welcome applications from members of equity-seeking groups and encourage members to self-identify within their cover letter in their application

Job Details 

● Salary: $45,000/year, plus benefits (e.g., extended health care)

● Duration: 1-year term, renewable for a 2nd year based on performance

● Anticipated start date: September 13, 2021

● This is a 100% research position, with no teaching obligationss. The postdoctoral fellow will be provided with some funding for research/travel, opportunities to attend conferences and events, and time to continue their own program of work.

How to Apply 

Applications are due June 20, 2021 and must include the following: 

● Cover letter (maximum 750 words): please explain your interest in the position and how you meet the qualifications listed above, with particular attention to your experience with qualitative (or mixed) methods and interdisciplinary research

● Current CV

● One relevant publication

● Name & email for 2-3 academic references (to be contacted for short-listed candidates)

Please email your application to: Katie Plaisance (kathryn.plaisance@uwaterloo.ca) and Ashley Mehlenbacher (ashley.mehlenbacher@uwaterloo.ca). 

● Include the subject line: “Postdoctoral Application - [Your First & Last Name].”


We acknowledge that we live and work on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg, and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.

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