Research Scientist in Health and Elderly Care Policy and Systems in China

updated 2/22/2021

Full-time Job Opportunity:
Research Scientist in Health and Elderly Care Policy and Systems in China


China already has a larger number of people aged 65+ than any other country and presents an enormously rich environment for researching and improving its elderly care system. In order to meet the changing needs and demands of the aging population and their families, China is embarking on major reforms to transform its health care system and to build an elderly care system. With the rapidly aging population as well as environmental challenges, technological advancement, urbanization, and mass migration, China’s health system requires foundational changes to meet the evolving needs of its people and to be truly people-centered, as reflected in the government’s strategic goal of achieving “Comprehensive Health.” Rigorous research and training are needed to inform policy formulations.

The Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health seeks to hire a Research Scientist to contribute to a research and training agenda on health and elderly care policy and systems in China, in collaboration with team members based in Boston and China, and under the direction of Professor Winnie Yip, Faculty Director of the Harvard China Health Partnership. The agenda broadly includes:

  • Mapping the needs of aging populations, taking an inter-disciplinary perspective incorporating physical, social, emotional and overall well-being;
  • Examining what is meaningful aging in the context of Asian culture, history and value and implications on end-of-life care and decisions;
  • Designing effective, sustainable, and innovative elderly care systems that would be fit for the 21st century;
  • Examining spatial issues, including urban planning, housing, and interior design that would benefit elderlies to continue residing at home or in the community;
  • Conducting comparative analyses of elderly care systems across a number of countries relevant to China; and
  • Creating a database to support the long-term research agenda of the program that would encompass social and economic aspects of ageing, and physical, emotional, social well-being.

The Harvard China Health Partnership (HCHP) is the School-wide nexus for scholarship on health care in China, building on the Chan School’s long history of collaboration with China and supporting the goals of the Department of Global Health and Population (GHP) to improve global health through education, research, and service from a population-based perspective. At present, HCHP consists of over ten collaborating academic institutions and government agencies in China. The activities include a wide range of research projects, executive training courses, forums/seminars, and exchange of scholars. More details can be found on the HCHP website here.


About the Role

The ideal candidate will be dynamic and creative, and will bring stellar scholarship and judicious organizational skills to the position. Responsibilities include:

  • Be a thought partner with Professor Yip to enhance the research agenda
  • Develop analytical plans for the research agenda
  • Develop an implementation plan for the research agenda and monitor its progress
  • Conduct research analyses commensurate with the selected candidate’s expertise and background
  • Supervise some members of the research team, in Boston and in China
  • Disseminate research findings through peer-reviewed publications, conferences, and policy briefs
  • Identify and develop collaborations with scholars with similar goals/visions at Harvard, within and outside the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Liaise and communicate with some core partners in China, for example, research collaborators, policymakers and sponsors

Travel to China to establish and maintain working relationships with partners in China will be required once the COVID-19 pandemic lessens and travel restrictions are lifted.

Teaching is not required as part of the position. However, qualified candidates with background and interest in teaching have opportunities to do so.


Basic Qualifications  

  • Doctoral degree in health policy, public policy, economics, or health systems research, with strong disciplinary training in social science, especially in the fields of health economics, comparative politics, or related fields
  • At least four years of postdoctoral or equivalent research experience
  • At least two years of experience leading a research project team, including the supervision of research staff and programmatic necessities
  • Ability to leverage the extensive relevant scholarship and networks within Harvard, within and outside the School of Public Health
  • Experience and track record of inter-disciplinary collaborations
  • Experience collaborating and communicating with policymakers, especially in China
  • Experience collaborating with scholars and researchers in China
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and collaboratively to fulfill the objectives and priorities of the project
  • Major contributions to refereed publications
  • Demonstrated record of creative thinking and entrepreneurship
  • Ability to travel and work independently
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and be able to collaborate with and supervise diverse partners

Qualified candidates with fewer years of experience can be considered for a Research Associate position instead of Research Scientist. Please see the requirements from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health for Research Scientists, which are generally multi-year appointments, here; and for Research Associates, which are generally one-year, renewable appointments, here.


Additional Qualifications

  • Ability to speak and write in Chinese will be reviewed favorably
  • Experience developing or implementing an executive education or training program for researchers or policy makers
  • Prior experience working in China is preferred



Please apply via