Principal Researcher, Postsecondary Education - American Institutes for Research


American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a leading behavioral and social science research organization. We are a collaborative organization and have developed a strong reputation for working closely with our clients to study wide range of programs and policies, from early childhood, K-12, and postsecondary education to workforce, health, and economic development. AIR prides itself in conducting high-impact, high-stakes projects for public, private, and philanthropic clients. We are committed to helping build and apply the best evidence-base to solve real world problems and improve the lives of all people.


AIR is seeking a Principal Researcher to contribute significant subject matter knowledge and methodological expertise to our postsecondary education practice area’s continued success and growth. The major responsibilities of the position are:

  • Lead rigorous research and evaluation studies in postsecondary education
  • Provide expertise and thought leadership in the field through publications, presentations, and service to the community
  • Provide leadership and technical advice ensuring the quality and utility of AIR research and evaluation studies addressing central problems of higher education policy and practice
  • Contribute significantly to the leadership of the postsecondary education group’s growth efforts, especially through strategy formulation and execution as well as partnership, client, and network development
  • Help members of the postsecondary group succeed and develop professionally as researchers and thought partners contributing to the improvement of postsecondary education


  • PhD in a relevant field with a minimum of 10 years managing and conducting research, evaluations, and related work
  • National reputation for research and evaluation expertise in postsecondary education, as evidenced through publications / presentations and service to the larger community
  • Strong partnerships with, and extensive networks of, leaders in postsecondary education research, policy, and practice
  • Held in high regard as a thought partner by leaders in postsecondary education research, policy, and practice
  • Demonstrated success in leading large, complex studies of implementation and impact and in developing high-utility measures for higher education studies
  • Track record of winning competitive contracts/grants from funders (e.g., federal, state, and local government; foundations)
  • Strong leadership, organizational, and interpersonal skills at a senior/managerial level
  • Proven ability to develop staff capacity in research design, methods, and measurement; project management; client and partner relationships, and business development
  • Commitment to AIR’s mission to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation towards improving people's lives, with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged

The Principal Researcher can be located out of one of our U.S. offices: Washington, D.C., Chicago, IL, Waltham, MA, San Mateo, CA, or Austin, TX.

Click here for more information and how to apply.