Principal Research Associate (Education Policy) - Urban Institute

Who we are:

At the nonprofit Urban Institute, we believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities. Our employees are empowered to open minds, shape decisions and offer solutions. We encourage intellectual honesty, innovation, diversity, and mutual respect, and our analysis elevates the debate, wherever it takes place.

Urban’s greatest asset is our people. We strive to attract and cultivate a vibrant, creative, and diverse community. Our employees drive Urban’s mission through entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership, effective communication, results-orientation, and relationship cultivation. Our success depends on engaging individuals who possess and value these attributes.

How you’ll contribute:

Urban’s Education Policy Program undertakes policy-relevant research on a wide range of issues from prekindergarten through post secondary education, including research on universal prekindergarten programs, school choice, student transportation, school funding, college affordability, student loan debt, and personalized learning. Our program stands alongside and connects with education-related research throughout the Urban Institute.

The Education Policy Program is seeking a senior researcher with a demonstrated record of knowledge-building, public engagement, and impact. The search is open as to area of specialization, but we are especially interested in candidates with expertise in higher education policy at both the federal and state levels.


  • Participate in the leadership of Education Policy Program operations including, but not limited to, research, business development, and communications
  • Conceptualize, design, and implement research on a wide range of education policy issues both independently and as part of a team
  • Provide intellectual leadership in project development
  • Mentor and manage research staff
  • Represent the Education Policy Program and its work to the public, policymakers, funders, and the press
  • Communicate with the press and policymakers, and assist with the development and implementation of the Education Policy Program’s strategic vision
  • Act entrepreneurially to identify and develop ways in which the Education Policy Program can better advance its mission of educating the public, press, and policymakers

What you’ll bring:

The successful candidate will:

  • Possess a graduate degree (MA, MPP, PhD) in a social science field as well as the combination of demonstrated relevant policy research experience, substantial peer reviewed publications, and the necessary substantive knowledge and skills required to successfully perform the duties described above
  • Serve as an expert in education policy areas
  • Communicate effectively to policy experts, the media and other senior leaders the field
  • Provide team leadership and exhibit superior management skills, including experience coaching staff and teams to desired outcomes
  • Display creativity, intellectual curiosity, and the ability to communicate and translate sophisticated concepts to a general audience
  • Demonstrate a strong proven track record of receiving funding awards and a strong track record of contributing essential knowledge or expertise fundamental to proposal awards

What you’ll experience:

Working in the Nation’s Capital- the epicenter of public policy- among a network of policy experts, you can expect to have an impact on policy areas you care about and work with great colleagues who are smart, mission-driven, and collaborative. You will blend academic rigor with on-the-ground collaboration, be encouraged and supported to fulfill your potential through meaningful work that matters and, enjoy a welcoming workplace free from harassment, discrimination and intolerance.

In addition, we offer a comprehensive benefits package that includes: medical, dental, disability, and life insurance coverage. Competitive paid time off allowance, and eligibility to participate in a generous retirement savings plan plus elect a pretax benefit for commuting expenses.

The Urban Institute is committed to Equal Employment Opportunity without regard for race, ethnicity, gender, protected veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other protected status under applicable law.

The Urban Institute is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer -Minorities/Women/Disabilities/Veterans. Engineering Intern, Computer Science Intern, IT Intern, Information Technology Intern

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