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Full-Time Research Assistant, Baby's First Years

Apply now Job no: 505964
Position type: Staff
Location: New York
Categories: Research

The Baby’s First Years study is a groundbreaking randomized controlled trial studying the impact of unconditional monthly cash gifts to low-income mothers of infants during the first three years of their child’s life. 

The Neurocognition, Early Experience, and Development (NEED) Lab, directed by Dr. Kimberly Noble, is a child development lab at Teachers College, Columbia University that studies how children’s early environments and experiences affect how they learn and grow. We are particularly interested in understanding how family contexts, such as socioeconomic status, influence brain and cognitive development throughout childhood.


Study Description: 

The Baby’s First Years study is a groundbreaking randomized controlled trial studying the impact of unconditional monthly cash gifts to low-income mothers of infants during the first three years of their child’s life.

The aim is to understand the causal effects of poverty reduction on early childhood development and family life in order to inform policy. To date, 1,000 racially and ethnically diverse mothers have been recruited from hospitals shortly after giving birth in four metropolitan areas around the United States. Mothers were randomized to receive a large monthly cash gift or a nominal monthly cash gift. Details about the study, media coverage, and its motivation can be found at www.babysfirstyears.com.

Participating families complete research sessions in their homes when children are 1 and 2 years-old and in local university labs when children are 3 years-old. Data collection includes surveys about economic hardship and employment, child care, family routines, mother’s mental and physical health, and well-being; maternal and children’s hair cortisol, epigenetics, child EEG measures of brain activity at age 1 (in the home) and age 3 (in the lab), and a full battery of child cognitive and behavioral assessments at age 3.

Position Description: 

The Research Assistant (RA) will support the development of age-3 testing materials and will be heavily involved in testing participating children at 3 years of age. The RA will work closely with the National Project Director and postdoctoral fellow of the Baby’s First Years Project.


Primary responsibilities include:

  • Assisting with the development and pilot testing of study procedures, administering study visits, and assisting the Project Director with operational activities
  • Budget-related responsibilities include reconciling expenses to the correct grants and processing invoices
  • Individuals in this role may also train and manage research assistants, and have opportunities to assist with data analysis and conference/manuscript preparation
  • Duties may include light travel to study sites

Please direct any questions to Pooja Desai, pmd2137@tc.columbia.edu.

Minimum Qualifications:

The ideal RA candidate will be:

  • Able to commit at least two years to the position.
  • Experienced in working with young children in research setting(s)
  • Extremely detail-oriented and adept at multitasking
  • Trained in basic research method
  •  Be bilingual in English and Spanish

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience working with families
  • Experience working with budgets and/or very strong experience with Excel
  •  Strong writing and analytic skills
  • Understanding of Institutional Review Board operations
  • Understanding of Teachers College purchasing and accounting systems (Unimarket and Banner)

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