Interdiciplinary Postdoctoral Research Program

In 2019, we invited applications from early career scholars (≤ five years since PhD or appropriate terminal degree) for the inaugural Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Research program. The program offered a two-year postdoctoral opportunity for scholars focused on one of the following two themes: (1) The Future of Mobility & Smart Cities, and (2) Sustainable Urban Systems. We focused on applicants whose work included ambitious endeavors, spanned multiple disciplines, and connects with public outreach and research engagement. Applicants should specified their thematic focus in their statement of interest and included components as to how they would benefit from working in an urban setting within a multidisciplinary group, rather than in a traditional academic department on campus. 

Our Post-docs have the opportunity to work with faculty from almost every discipline ( They are expected to work directly with at least two core faculty mentors and their research groups, establishing a joint project(s) that have the potential for broader impact and innovative inquiry. Post-docs also actively work to develop new initiatives and managing ongoing programs at STEAM that further its mission of research collaboration and outreach. 


The thematic focus areas for this inaugural program were supported in partnership with the Sustainability Institute at Ohio State (SI) and Ohio State Energy Partners (for Sustainable Urban Systems), and Honda Research (for Mobility and Smart Cities). 

Theme 1: Future of Mobility & Smart Cities

Requirements: PhD (or comparable training and experience) in mobility and smart city-related fields: urban studies, transportation, statistics, geography, computer science, engineering, operations research, or a related field. Applicants should have excellent academic standing and strong foundational knowledge in the intersection of urban studies and data analytics. Candidates with a variety of methodological training were considered if they sufficiently demonstrate the ability to conduct breakthrough research on smart cities, mobility, and next-generation transport. Applicants were asked to  highlight their methodological competencies, especially related to the following: programming, networks and optimization, statistics, simulation, program evaluation, trauma-informed research, and/or public health. Positive work attitude, good communication and interpersonal skills and an ability to work independently and in multi-disciplinary teams are also required skills.

Theme 2: Sustainable Urban Systems

Requirements: PhD (or equivalent) in a relevant field of the social sciences, including economics, geography, public policy, planning, or environmental humanities.  Applicants should demonstrate excellent academic standing and ability to conduct innovative research in sustainable urban development. We are particularly interested in candidates who use an integrative, systems approach to sustainability and resilience issues in application domains such as urban land use, transportation, energy, water systems, air quality, social equity, and climate change. Desired methodological skills included, but were not limited to, geospatial data analytics, geovisualization, or applied econometrics. We especially encourage applicants who can demonstrated collaborative work that bridges the social sciences with engineering, the natural sciences or humanities.


Our 2019 - 2021 STEAM Interdiciplinary Postdoctoral Researchers are...

Jonathan Stiles

Jon received his PhD in Planning and Public Policy from the Rutgers University Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy in 2019. His research focuses on the ways information technologies influence travel through changes to work location, and the potential of this knowledge to foster more sustainable, active, and just mobilities. For his dissertation, Jonathan explored how the adoption of evolving forms of remote working such as nomadic work affects transportation system usage in the multimodal urban context of the New York metropolitan area. He has taught courses on social science research methods and science & technology studies as a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University, and as an adjunct instructor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). He has a professional background in Internet software development, having worked at Razorfish, Sony, Quigo Technologies and AOL. He also holds a masters degree in International Affairs from The New School, and was Director of Technology for the international education nonprofit Pencils of Promise.

His mentors:

Harvey Miller, Reusche Chair in Geographic Information Science; Professor, Department of Geography; Director, Center for Urban and Regional Analysis

Dr. Miller’s research interests are at the intersection between geographic information science and transportation, in particular, mobility data analytics to understand human movement within cities and regions. The main questions driving his research include sustainable transportation, livable cities, and the relationships between human mobility, health and social equity. A specific focus of his most recent research is leveraging persistent urban data collection to generate actionable knowledge about the impact of disruptive mobility technologies on sustainability. For more information:

Yasuyuki (Yas) Motoyama, Associate Professor, City and Regional Planning

Dr. Motoyama has researched innovation at multinational corporations, scientific development at universities, and entrepreneurship at startup companies. One of his recent projects investigated spatial connections between startup and high-growth companies and urban vibrancy at the intrametropolitan scale, which involves examination of urban land use, street patterns, walkability, and transit access. He has been serving as a special advisor to the Small Business Ecosystem Assessment Committee at the Columbus City Government. For more information:


Atar Herziger

Atar specializes in behavior and sustainability, trained as an organizational (MA), social and economic psychologist (PhD). Her research focuses on consumer behavior in pro-social and pro-environmental contexts, often utilizing experimental design. She is particularly passionate about research in ethical decision making, and translating basic research to applied implications. Some of the topics she is  interested in are: consumption reduction, sustainable consumption, consumer habits, self-control, charitable giving.

Her mentors: 

Jeremy Brooks, Assistant Professor, School of Environment and Natural Resources

Dr. Brooks is an interdisciplinary environmental social scientist who draws on evolutionary theory to study social-ecological systems dynamics, the evolution of institutions for sustainable resource use, and the relationship between sustainable consumption, well-being, and the built environment. He is seeking applications for postdoctoral researchers to contribute to a collaborative project on evaluating the social, economic, and environmental impacts of green infrastructure installed through the Blueprint Columbus program. He uses empirical analysis to explore synergies and tradeoffs between individual consumption patterns and well-being indicators. This project will expand upon ongoing research on Blueprint Columbus to draw on the cultural evolution literature to understand how different social and physical environments can shape the relationship between sustainable consumption and well-being. The project will build on partnerships with the City of Columbus, including David Celebrezze at the Office of Environmental Sustainability, and Leslie Westerfelt with Blueprint Columbus. For more information:

Andre Carrel, Assistant Professor, Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering

Dr. Carrel conducts research on travel behavior in the context of emerging, on-demand and flexible transportation services, the impacts of new vehicle technologies on vehicle ownership and travel demand, public transportation planning, operations, quality of service, and reliability, urban logistics and supply chains, transportation energy consumption and sustainability, and various smart city technology applications. Carrel uses combinations of large-scale data sets from automated sensing systems and mobile phones, targeted surveys, and simulations to model traveler decision-making, facilitate the design, operations and monitoring of transportation and logistics systems, and to support the management of public or private transportation infrastructure. He has ongoing collaborations with several other centers and departments at OSU as well as with various industry and government partners. For more information: