Senior Project Manager - The Observatory for Online Human and Platform Behavior

  • Northeastern University
  • Boston, MA, USA
  • Mar 08, 2022
Full time Humanities: Other Social & Behavioral Sciences Grants, Sponsored Programs, Research Other Administrative Positions

Job Description


Senior Project Manager

About the Opportunity

The College of Social Sciences and Humanities is a leader in the Experiential Liberal Arts. The College is strongly committed to fostering excellence through diversity and enthusiastically welcomes applications from members of groups underrepresented in higher education administration.


The Observatory for Online Human and Platform Behavior is a large, NSF-funded infrastructure project at Northeastern University for collecting digital data from tens of thousands of people in the United States for scientific research. The role of the Senior Project Manager is to ensure that all aspects of the infrastructure's development are delivered on time, in scope, and within budget and that regular reports on the project's progress are created and delivered to internal and external constituencies. The position reports directly to the Principal Investigator and oversees a Project Manager.

The Senior Project Manager will be responsible for defining project charters, schedules, and budgets and overseeing the entire project lifecycle. They will work closely with the research staff, development team, governance boards, and university administrators within the LazerLab and across the University to ensure all project needs and goals are accounted for and milestones and deliverables for each goal are integrated into the project plan. They will also ensure that all risks are recognized and mitigated, contingencies documented, and changes are processed through the configuration control process in a timely fashion. The Senior Project Manager role will help prepare regular reports to funding agencies, facilitate workshops, and assist with other aspects of our scientific and creative work. The Senior Project Manager will oversee a Project Manager tasked with developing and maintaining project documentation and executables.

A summary of the Observatory: The core objective of this project is the construction of a secure, privacy-protecting, ethically robust, scientifically valid online behavioral research observatory. This observatory captures the online behavior of a large sample of volunteers as well as details of the algorithmically driven decisions of the major platforms of the Internet. The observatory enables a wide range of research concerning the Internet, including examination of the state of the information ecosystem, analysis of damaging online behavior of a variety of types, and generally studies of manifold aspects of the online world. This infrastructure fills a gap by providing researchers with high-quality data on human and platform behavior at a scale and granularity that will allow transformational investigation of this new and all-pervasive phenomenon.

This project (1) collects data on the online behavior of a large number of volunteers, on the order of tens of thousands of individuals, whose consent is carefully ascertained; (2) records the tracking of those individuals by third parties; (3) captures the algorithmic curation of content by third parties (e.g., what is prioritized in newsfeeds and search engines); and (4) provides analytic access to a wide set of academic researchers within a secure, privacy-preserving framework. There are two samples of volunteers. The first is smaller and higher quality, carefully balanced in terms of demography and geography. The second is larger and open to a wider array of volunteers but therefore potentially less balanced and therefore treated with methods to reweight the entire sample to be more representative. Through the observatory, both volunteer behavior and platform behavior are collected using desktops, laptops and mobile devices. The observatory involves a layered system of governance involving a wide array of researchers, both to refine protocols in terms of research ethics and security and to define the priorities for the data collected.

This is a grant-funded position with a funding end date of October 1, 2026.

Preferred and Required Qualifications


  • Bachelor's degree and 5-10 years of managing complex projects, at least partially in research settings.
  • Proven working experience and results in project management, ideally in federally funded research projects.
  • Professional communication in both internal and client-facing settings
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent organizational skills including attention to detail and multitasking skills
  • Demonstrable financial management skills and experience
  • Experience managing projects

Application Details

Documents to Submit:

  • Resume
  • Cover letter

This is a grant-funded position (with the possibility of renewal) and a funding end date of October 1, 2026

Position Type

General Administration

Additional Information

Northeastern University is an equal opportunity employer, seeking to recruit and support a broadly diverse community of faculty and staff. Northeastern values and celebrates diversity in all its forms and strives to foster an inclusive culture built on respect that affirms inter-group relations and builds cohesion.

All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

To learn more about Northeastern University's commitment and support of diversity and inclusion, please see

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