Research Associate (Education Data and 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.

The Center on Education Data and Policy undertakes policy-relevant research on issues from prekindergarten through postsecondary education and creates tools such as Urban’s Education Data Portal. We believe that education policy informed by hard data and rigorous research rather than personal experience and ideology is crucial to realizing the education system’s potential to increase socioeconomic mobility and address growing inequality.

How you’ll contribute:

The Center on Education Data and Policy is seeking an experienced education policy researcher to work collaboratively on a variety of quantitative research projects. These projects include the conceptualization of study designs and methodologies, statistical analysis, and policy analysis. We are seeking individuals who possess a strong public policy background, quantitative analysis skills, and a thorough understanding of education issues at the PK-12 and/or postsecondary levels. We are particularly interested in candidates whose work spans multiple components of the educational system and/or examines the intersections between education and related policy areas such as criminal justice, housing, and health.

Candidates who are available immediately as well as those who are seeking positions to begin in summer 2020 are all encouraged to apply.


The successful candidate will work on a wide variety of education policy research projects both independently and as a member of a team.

  • Manage research projects (small and large), which includes working collaboratively with senior staff, overseeing junior staff, monitoring budgets and progress on projects, communicating with funders, and troubleshooting potential issues;
  • Conceive ideas for new research projects, and manage and develop proposals for external funding;
  • Contribute to the design of research projects including the development of conceptual and analytical frameworks for examining social programs and understanding the policy context;
  • Oversee and/or participate in data collection activities including the management of large administrative datasets and design of data collection instruments (e.g., surveys, interview protocols, focus group protocols); and
  • Conduct analyses of quantitative data and write reports, policy briefs, and other publications to disseminate findings from research projects.

What you’ll bring:

The successful candidate will:

  • Possess a combination of the quantitative, analytical, and writing skills, relevant substantive knowledge, and policy research experience needed to perform the duties described above, and the academic knowledge of and research experience in a discipline that is generally associated with the attainment of a Ph.D. in public policy, economics, political science, or other similar social science fields.
  • Demonstrate strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Display a capacity for statistical analysis and a strong working knowledge of education systems and policies.
  • Have a strong understanding of the educational system and the intersections between education and related policy areas such as criminal justice, housing, and health.
  • Exhibit a strong prior record of involvement in project management and the development of proposals for external funding.

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 and reimbursable commuting expense program.

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.

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