Research Associate (Education Policy) - The 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 influence policy, 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.

The Education Policy Program undertakes policy-relevant research on issues from prekindergarten through postsecondary education. 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 Education Policy Program is seeking an experienced education policy researcher who can 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. The ideal candidate will also have a strong record of involvement in project management and the development of proposals for external funding.


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

Managing research projects (small and large), which include working collaboratively with senior staff; overseeing junior staff; monitoring budgets and progress on projects; communicating with funders; and troubleshooting potential issues;

  • Conceiving ideas for new research projects and managing and developing proposals for external funding;
  • Contributing to the design of research projects including the development of conceptual and analytical frameworks for examining social programs and understanding the policy context;
  • Overseeing and/or participating 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,
  • Conducting analyses of quantitative data and writing reports, policy briefs, and other publications to disseminate findings from research projects.

What you’ll bring:

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.

The successful candidate will have:

  • Demonstrated capacity for statistical analysis and Stata programming
  • Strong written and oral communications skills
  • Strong working knowledge of education systems and policies
  • Comfort with working independently and as part of a team

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.

Click here to apply.