Research Fellow for the Project on Psychedelics Law and Regulation (POPLAR)

Employer: The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School
Date Posted: Jul 08, 2021
Employment: Full Time
Focus / Industry:
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
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The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School is hiring a full-time postdoctoral fellow to support its newly launched Project on Psychedelics Law and Regulation (POPLAR). This position will likely be a three-year commitment.

This sponsored research project promotes safety, innovation, equity, and access in psychedelics research and clinical medicine. Activities will include conducting cutting-edge academic research and publishing the results in high-impact scientific and legal journals; hosting events, workshops, and academic symposia with experts from industry, government, and academia; educating courts, legislators, government agencies, law students, and the public; partnering with clinical researchers to help them navigate regulatory, legal, and ethical roadblocks in their work; and training the next generation of thought leaders in this area. The overarching goal will be to advance evidence-based psychedelics law and policy.

Previous Petrie-Flom Center postdoctoral fellows have used their positions as successful launching pads for tenure-track legal, health policy, and bioethics academic careers. Our most recent postdoctoral fellow has published in leading journals such as JAMA, Science, and the Journal of Law and the Biosciences. She has been interviewed as an expert in biomedical regulation by media outlets such as Forbes and Lancet Digital Health and presented to regulators at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Duties & Responsibilities

The Research Fellow for the Project on Psychedelics Law and Regulation (POPLAR) will bear primary responsibility for the day-to-day work undertaken for this project. Primary tasks will include conducting law, policy, and ethics research; initial drafting of reports and recommendations; collaborating with other Petrie-Flom projects and initiatives; and all other duties as assigned to ensure that this project produces valuable work-product in a timely fashion.

The fellow will report to the Petrie-Flom Center’s Executive Director and interact closely with the Center’s Faculty Director and the Center’s Senior Fellow and Project Lead for POPLAR, Prof. Mason Marks. It is essential that the fellow be able to work both independently and collaboratively, with frequent team meetings and weekly project status reports.

Substantive Responsibilities of the fellow will include:

  • Conduct conceptual law, policy, and ethics research related to psychedelics law and policy, specifically related to the following focus areas:
  • Ethics in psychedelics research and therapeutics
  • This research track will analyze the ethical issues associated with psychedelics research and therapeutics, and the industries emerging to support these activities. As a stigmatized and criminalized field, many aspects of nascent psychedelics industries operate in legal and ethical grey areas.
  • Challenges in intellectual property
  • This research track will analyze legal and ethical issues associated with intellectual property and psychedelics, with a focus on patents, trademarks, and trade secrets.  
  • Opportunities for federal support of psychedelics research
  • This research track will analyze the obstacles to federal support for psychedelics research and provide evidence to support their removal.
  • Improving access to psychedelic therapies and promoting equity in emerging psychedelics industries
  • This research track will analyze barriers to access and equity in the context of the emerging psychedelics industry.
  • Trauma and psychedelics: from war to rape
  • This research track will explore the relation between psychedelics and socio-legal conceptions of trauma.
  • Contribute to the production of project deliverables, including:
  • Public-facing documents, such as a whitepaper, best practices, or guidance document, and multiple high-profile academic articles for each area of inquiry, each year, to be placed in medical journals, such as JAMA, technology journals, such as Science, or law reviews, with an eye to legitimizing scholastic work on the ethics and regulation of psychedelics
  • Digital Media projects
  • Media pieces, such as op-eds, in support of each public-facing document and academic article
  • 1 season of the PFC Podcast
  • Digital symposia on the PFC Blog, Bill of Health
  • Events
  • Petrie-Flom Center Annual Conference and accompanying edited volume
  • Focus groups and invitation-only discussions
  • On-campus (pandemic permitting) and virtual events, to support each area of inquiry

The work of the fellow will include tasks such as:

  • Develop manuscripts for co-authored publication
  • Assist with creation of a podcast on the findings of this work
  • Collaborate with other academic research institutions working on similar projects
  • Draft slides and presentation materials
  • Organize panels, workshops, and conferences to obtain expert input and disseminate results
  • Collaborate in identification of new research priorities, launch of projects related to the program mission, and proposal development, potentially to include grant writing
  • Annual and all other reporting
  • Maintain up-to-date web text regarding program work and projects

The fellow may also be asked to blog periodically at Bill of Health, the Petrie-Flom Center’s blog.

Basic Qualifications

Doctoral-level degree in law, ethics, public health, social science, or other relevant discipline (J.D., Ph.D., M.D., etc.) required.

Additional Qualifications

  • Familiarity with, and interest in, the issues in psychedelics law and policy and other related regulatory and equity issues
  • Experience conducting law and policy research, and drafting reports
  • Strong research and writing skills, including proficiency with Westlaw, Lexis, PubMed, and other research tools
  • Ability to independently identify and complete tasks with minimal direction and oversight
  • Ability to liaise effectively with a variety of domestic and international stakeholders and collaborators
  • Ability to complete tasks in a timely fashion
  • Qualitative research skills and experience with grants/contracts are a plus

Additional Information

This is a term appointment currently expected to extend through 06/30/2022, subject to funding and departmental need. The position will likely be renewed for a total of three years, subject to funding and performance.

At this time, the fellow will work remotely; however, once Harvard Law School work returns to campus, the fellow will be expected to work in person at the Petrie-Flom Center in Cambridge, MA.

How to Apply

To apply to the Research Fellow for the Project on Psychedelics Law and Regulation (POPLAR), please submit the following materials:

  1. Curriculum vitae;
  2. Cover letter stating your background and interest in the Project on Psychedelics Law and Regulation (POPLAR) Research Fellowship;
  3. And 2 writing samples

Materials should be submitted to

Please direct any questions to

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Last updated: Jul 09, 2021