Research Scientist – Network Research

Protocol Labs


Key Summary

The Network Research team at Protocol Labs is looking for a researcher to work on problems in the areas of incentive and mechanism design relevant to open and decentralized science.

Research at Protocol Labs

Protocol Labs is a research, development, and deployment organization that builds tools to move science forward faster. From our experience researching and building core protocols for the decentralized web, we’ve learned that breakthrough research is an important public good, and we’ve created the Network Research lab to identify, guide, and support high-impact research across a broad spectrum of domains.

As part of our Network Research team, you’ll be contributing directly to our mission of developing and guiding high-impact initiatives to build research public goods, with a particular focus on modeling current scientific incentive systems and using Web3 tools  and mechanisms to better align researchers and funders and shift the incentive field toward open and decentralized modes of scientific knowledge production and dissemination. 

Our team is granted both the freedom to develop knowledge by working on novel research directions and a responsibility to contribute those skills toward advancing the mission of Protocol Labs.  You’ll feel at home working with us if your knowledge and optimism enable you to craft creative solutions working around evolving needs.

As a Research Scientist at Protocol Labs you will 

  • Conduct research into how mechanism design and regenerative cryptoeconomics can be applied to scientific research systems to accelerate the discovery/invention cycle
  • Conduct internal and external research to better understand various incentive systems affecting modern research and identify potential leverage points
  • Design incentive mechanisms appropriate for research
  • Design, plan and implement of metaresearch and research funding experiments, and disseminate the results
  • Advise the Network Research and Research Funding Teams on the use of mechanisms to drive coordination and alignment around scientific problems
  • Remain curious, flexible, and open to updates about the state of the art in cryptoeconomics, game theory, and mechanism design
  • Engage in intellectual outreach activities (conference presentations, workshops, whitepapers, blogposts, etc.) relevant to your research projects
  • Work in a fully asynchronous and remote team

You may be a fit for this role if you have…

  • BS/MS in Economics, Network Science, Computer Science, Physics, Mathematics, or a field with relevant research experience
  • Excellent written communication and presentation skills
  • Experience in contributing to research communities and/or efforts, including publications in relevant journals or conferences
  • Research experience in incentive or mechanism design, game theory, or behavioral economics

Highly-valued bonus points

  • PhD degree in a quantitative field with relevant research experience
  • Experience building simulations and/or models
  • Demonstrated ability to design and execute on a research agenda
  • Familiarity with distributed systems, Web3, and cryptoeconomics
  • Experience in setting up and managing research collaborations or contractors 
  • Demonstrated ability to design and execute on research agenda.

About Network Goods

The Network Goods teams (Network Research, Network Funding, and Research Acceleration) works largely asynchronously and remotely via Discord, Slack, Notion, github, and video conference, although we take advantage of  regular opportunities to meet in person for work sprints, colloquia, and conferences. Attendance and participation in relevant research meetings, hackathons, workshops, and conferences is also encouraged. We strive to document our decision-making processes in text and default to open and transparent  communication and record-keeping wherever possible. We currently use a very flexible github-based Agile process to organize and share our work-in-progress, priorities, and roadmaps. We think in public on the Protocol Labs Research blog and host a lively Research Seminar, Research Saloon, Discord server, and Journal Club, as well as occasional larger research events. We believe intentional development of technology can lead to a better, more empowering world for all of humanity.