Postdoctoral Fellowship: Network for the Sociological Study of Science and Religion at Rice University

Job Description

Position Summary

The Boniuk Institute and the Department of Sociology ( in the School of Social Sciences at Rice University are offering an in-residence postdoctoral fellowship in Sociology that is one year in length that will begin on August 1, 2022 and end on July 30, 2023. This position is renewable for up to one additional year (through July 30, 2024) based on performance during the first year.

This postdoctoral fellowship largely relates to a re-granting initiative awarded to Rice University and the University of California, San Diego called the “Science and Religion: Identity and Belief Formation” project; for more information, see here: The goal of this initiative is to fund sociological research that empirically examines how identities and beliefs (such as those related to race and gender) are related to science and religion; the initiative has been designed to provide support for new scholarship in the sociology of science and religion. The project, led by Elaine Howard Ecklund (Rice University) and John H. Evans (University of California, San Diego), is funded through the Templeton Religion Trust and coordinated by The Issachar Fund.

This postdoctoral position will consist of three arms:

1.       Approximately one-third of the postdoctoral fellow’s time will be devoted to his/her/their independent research/personal scholarship related to the sociological study of science and religion. This scholar will join a community of graduate student, early-career, mid-career, and senior scholars who have already been funded through the re-grating initiative. Postdoctoral applicants are eligible to apply if within two years of earning their PhD in sociology.  To note, the postdoctoral fellow will receive direct mentoring from PI Ecklund and be housed in the Department of Sociology at Rice University. The postdoctoral fellow will additionally receive periodic mentoring from John H. Evans by way of videoconference over the course of the fellowship. 

2.       Approximately one-third of the postdoctoral fellow’s time will be devoted to work related to the Network for the Sociological Study of Science and Religion (co-directed by Ecklund and Evans), broadly, and related to the “Science and Religion: Identity and Belief Formation” re-granting project (and grantee network), more specifically. This work will be performed under the supervision of both Ecklund and Evans and include varied activities, ranging from conducting research and to engaging social media and outreach efforts.

3.       Approximately one third of the postdoctoral fellow’s time will be devoted to other research projects or to research projects directed by Prof. Ecklund, and may include activities such as data collection, data analysis and writing efforts, along with some project management. Some research-related travel, presentations and supervision of junior scholars will be required, as well as event attendance, engagement in programming, and direct interaction with members of the Boniuk Institute and Religion and Public Life Program team.

This fellowship has been designed to support the scholarship and livelihood a postdoctoral fellow specifically in the field of sociology. Funding includes a one-year appointment with a stipend of $60,000 (plus benefits) at Rice University, as well as $5,000 per year for research expenses. The postdoctoral appointment and benefits will be governed by Rice University policies and by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) guidelines for postdoctoral appointments. 

We encourage applicants to visit the Rice websites for University Policies at for postdoctoral appointment guidelines. Fellowship funding may not be used for costs associated with relocation to Houston, Texas.

The fellow is expected to work an average of 40 hours per week. There are no teaching responsibilities associated with this fellowship. The fellow will be required to attend a grantee conference in Spring/early summer 2023 at the University of California, San Diego as part of their participation in the broader regranting initiative, as well as virtual meetings with other grantees. Expenses related to that conference will be supported by the broader project.

Application Instructions

Applicants must provide their (a) cover letter, (b) curriculum vitae, (c) a writing sample, and (d) at least two letters of recommendation. In addition to providing this application information, applicants are asked to (e) prepare a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the project they wish to pursue over the course of their fellowship year and explaining their fit with the fellowship. The LOI should include: 

  1. a title for the proposed project;
  2. a description of the research;
  3. project dates and brief timeline of activities;
  4. an explanation of how the proposed project fits within the regranting initiative;
  5. information on the project’s methodology and significance;
  6. proposed collaborators, if applicable.

The letter of intent should be no longer than three pages in length (single-spaced, Times Roman 12-point font, 1-inch margins, in English, and submitted as one single PDF). Only LOIs of this length and with a thorough description of the proposed research will be considered. Casual inquiries are not invited.

The application deadline is June 30th but applications will be considered until the position is filled. The Rice University application system allows applicants to submit only two attachments: the (a) cover letter and (b) CV with their application. To be considered for this position, however, applicants must email their (c) writing sample and (e) project LOI directly to the Talent Acquisition team, at , using “Postdoctoral Fellow, Network for the Sociological Study of Science and Religion” in the subject line. Additionally, applicants must have their two recommenders submit (d) recommendation letters directly to Laura Achenbaum, Associate Director of Research for the Religion and Public Life Program ( by the application deadline.

Essential Functions

  • Documents, analyzes, and maintains research data for personal research, for the Network for the Sociological Study of Science and Religion initiative, and for Boniuk and RPLP research projects
  • Mentors, oversees, and/or trains junior research team members
  • Publishes and presents research findings
  • Supports project management
  • Designs and implements research protocols; adapts new procedures, methods or instrumentation relative to research procedures
  • Some research-related travel, as well as event attendance and engagement in RPLP and Boniuk programming is required
  • Performs all other duties as assigned

Required Qualifications

  • PhD or other doctoral degree in Sociology
    • No substitution for education is allowed
  • Postdoctoral applicants are eligible to apply within two years of earning PhD in sociology
  • Ability to establish a research agenda related to the sociology of science and religion
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, as well as oral presentation skills
  • Ability to work in a collaborative environment
  • Ability to work independently and professionally with minimal supervision and direction

Preferred Qualifications

  • Research experience or interests in the sociology of science and religion is preferred. How the sociology of science and religion intersect with a diverse array of subfields, however, is encouraged including (but not limited to) sociology of race and ethnicity; international migration; sociology of religion; science, knowledge, and technology; sociology of sex and gender; medical sociology and political sociology

Rice University is an Equal Opportunity Employer with commitment to diversity at all levels, and considers for employment qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, genetic information, disability or protected veteran status.

Current Rice University COVID policies, which include vaccination, face mask, testing, gatherings, occupancy limits, and travel policies can be found here:

About Us

Boasting a 300-acre tree-lined campus in Houston, Rice University is ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has a 6-to-1 undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio, and a residential college system, which supports students intellectually, emotionally and culturally through social events, intramural sports, student plays, lectures series, courses and student government. Developing close-knit, diverse college communities is a strong campus tradition, which is why Rice is highly ranked for best quality of life and best value among private universities.