Research positions at the The Privacy Tools Project at the Center for Research on Computation and Society (CRCS)

The Privacy Tools Project at the Center for Research on Computation and Society (CRCS) at Harvard University
February 25, 2018
Cambridge, MA
Job Type


The Privacy Tools Project at the Center for Research on Computation and Society (CRCS) at Harvard University seeks students, interns, postdocs, and visiting researchers in Computer Science, Statistics, Government, Mathematics, Law, and Social Sciences with Quantitative Experience, particularly those with an interest in learning about or working on Data Privacy.

The Privacy Tools project has a few available positions, listed below, including Post-Doctoral research positions and other research opportunities. For general information, email

The Privacy Tools Project develops ways for scientists to share research data for producing open, replicable science without compromising the privacy of the individual research subjects whose data is used. Past students have written and contributed to publishable research papers in this fast-moving field, and we expect the same in future years. Work across the different projects includes:

  • Theory: prove mathematical theorems about what is achievable in the framework of differential privacy.
  • Experimental algorithms: implement, optimize, and test algorithms that perform useful data analysis tasks and satisfy differential privacy and other privacy metrics.
  • Empirical research: survey social science datasets and analysis methods to determine the fit with different privacy technologies.
  • Software development: develop software for statistics, user interfaces, and data visualization.
  • Programming languages and computer security: design and implement programming language tools to ensure differential privacy and combine it with other computer security models.
  • Law: develop legal instruments and policy recommendations that complement new privacy-preserving technologies.
  • Interdisciplinary interaction: collaborate with computer scientists, social scientists, lawyers, and statisticians.

Useful background includes any of the following:

  • Theoretical computer science, especially algorithms
  • Data science, e.g. statistics and/or machine learning
  • Programming (in R, Java, Scala, Python, Javascript, or D3)
  • Quantitative analysis of social science data, especially regression ("least squares", or OLS)
  • User interfaces and user experience testing
  • Programming language design and implementation
  • Law, especially privacy law

Available Positions

Summer Research:

The Berkman Klein Center looks for law students to help the Privacy Tools Project research data privacy issues. Successful applicants will participate in the Berkman Klein Center's full time, 10-week summer internship program. Applications are typically due in early February. For more information, please visit:

Prospective Postdoctoral Fellows/Visiting Scholars:

Prospective postdoctoral fellows or visiting scholars in computer science, statistics, or other mathematical/scientific disciplines: please apply to the Center for Research on Computation and Society and indicate interest in the project in your application. Postdoctoral applications will be considered after the December 1 deadline as long as positions are available. Such applicants should also send an email to privacytools-info@seas to inform us of their applications.

Prospective Graduate Students: 

Please apply to one of the relevant departments (computer science/SEASgovernmentstatistics, or law), and mention the corresponding PIs and their interest in the project in their application.

If you are a current graduate student at Harvard, or elsewhere, interested in joining the project as an intern, please e-mail to find out how to get involved.

Prospective Summer Students (non-Harvard Undergrads): 

Undergraduate students outside of Harvard who wish to join the projectas a summer intern should apply to the SEAS REU site.

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