“Broadband for All” Project Recruiting a Postdoctoral Researcher

The Media, Inequality & Change Center seeks researcher for full-time, one-year position.

The MIC Center’s “Broadband for All” project aims to expand internet access through policy interventions that foster alternative models of affordable and reliable internet service, ranging from community mesh networks to municipal broadband infrastructures. Ultimately, we seek to establish a “public option” in broadband services for Philadelphia residents and beyond. 

This postdoctoral fellowship is full-time and for 12 months beginning on September 1, 2022. The postdoctoral fellow will be provided a stipend of $55,000, a research/travel stipend of $3,000, health insurance, a workspace, computer, and library access. It is expected that the fellow will be working on-site in Philadelphia, though some remote work is possible.

Skills and qualifications

  • Ph.D. in Communication or related field, with an emphasis on political economic analysis
  • Experience conducting quantitative and qualitative research around broadband deployment and internet-related projects
  • Experience presenting data in compelling and accessible ways
  • Experience with survey design and analysis
  • Strong writing skills, including experience writing for non-academic audiences
  • Excellent networking skills and experience with activist organizing a plus
  • Familiarity with and connections to Philadelphia-area community groups also a plus.

About MIC and the “Broadband for All” Project

The Media, Inequality & Change Center occupies the intersection of technology, policy, and social justice. It is committed to studying the political economy of social problems, media, and democracy, while engaging local activist projects, and drawing connections with national and international social movements.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made us all acutely sensitized to how vitally important reliable and affordable internet access is to almost every facet of our daily lives. Increasingly, broadband is seen as a core infrastructure — on par with water and electricity — upon which our basic ability to communicate with one another depends. Yet the U.S. continues to suffer under a decades-old digital divide that disproportionately harms marginalized communities, especially communities of color and poor households. What are the structural causes of these digital inequities and what are the systemic solutions? With these questions in mind, this study will build on the MIC Center’s ongoing research analyzing Philadelphia residents’ access to broadband services during the pandemic that shows a racialized digital divide resulting in part from “digital redlining” based on unaffordable services. Working with researchers and advocacy groups in Philadelphia and beyond, this project will develop a policy advocacy approach to expanding municipal broadband internet access.

Submitting Your Application


You must have a Ph.D. or be receiving your Ph.D. by July 2022.


In addition to a CV and up to two publications (not to exceed 50 pages in total), please provide a cover page that includes your name and contact information, dissertation advisor name and contact information, defense date (if degree not awarded), and a short statement of institutional fit (not to exceed 300 words). Please explain how your background and experience aligns with MIC’s mission and would be applicable to the Center’s “Broadband for All” project.


All materials should be sent as a single PDF document to briar.smith@asc.upenn.edu by May 17, 2022.

Additional Information

If you have additional questions, please email briar.smith@asc.upenn.edu

The University of Pennsylvania is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. For more information, go to http://www.upenn.edu/affirm-action/eoaa.html.