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Research Fellow

The Center for Democracy Technology (CDT) is seeking a Research Fellow to lead and implement research on the explainability and auditability of AI. This will include, for example, developing models and tools to improve AI explainability in content moderation systems. The position also offers opportunities to design and lead research projects on other emerging technology policy issues, and working with CDT’s networks of external academics and partners.

This is a one-year full-time Fellowship, with the possibility of renewal for another year based on performance and availability of funds. The Fellow is expected to author at least 2 CDT research reports during the year, with the option to complete at least 1 academic submission.

This is an exciting opportunity to be part of CDT’s research team, informing its policy agenda and contributing to cutting edge tech policy dialogue in the U.S., EU, and around the world. The position is based in CDT’s Washington, DC office (with remote work currently in effect due to COVID-19).

About CDT

For twenty-five years, CDT has been a leading nonprofit public interest organization, working at the cutting edge of digital rights policy. With expertise in law, technology, and policy, CDT engages in a variety of strategies to enhance civil liberties and human rights in the digital age, including advocacy, public education, and research. CDT works on legislation, participates in agency rule-makings, engages in litigation, and fosters consensus-building among public interest and private sector stakeholders. Key issue areas include free expression, privacy and data, government surveillance, cybersecurity and standards, open internet, election security, and competition.

CDT is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and collaborates closely with its partner organization, CDT Europe, which is based in Brussels. For more information, please visit our website at

Main Responsibilities:

  • With the research team, design and implement a project to improve the explainability and auditability of AI based tools.
  • Support the research team in identifying and designing other research projects that can inform the work of CDT’s policy teams; where relevant lead the implementation of these projects.
  • Write concise and compelling analysis in a variety of formats, including blog posts, advocacy material, white papers, and reports
  • Develop partnerships with researchers in academia, industry, and civil society to further CDT’s research agenda
  • Work with the communications team to craft sharp, compelling messages for media and other audiences based on research outputs
  • Represent CDT through public speaking, participation in coalition meetings, and media interviews.

Required Qualifications:

  • A recently completed PhD or similar research qualification and experience in a relevant discipline (e.g. computer/information science, engineering, economics, public policy, communication policy, etc.)
  • PhD dissertation or other research related to the explainability and audibility of AI
  • Demonstrated research experience in the form of peer reviewed publications or conference papers, etc.
  • Experience and ability to work in an interdisciplinary research team
  • Experience in research design and implementation including experimental and/or quantitative methods
  • Excellent writing skills for technical, policy, and lay audiences
  • Genuine curiosity with an imaginative approach to research design and implementation

Desired Qualifications

  • Excellent public speaking skills and experience that can deliver CDT’s research and policy positions to a wide range of audiences
  • Experience preparing successful funding proposals for research
  • Expertise in areas of CDT’s work including free expression, privacy, surveillance, open internet issues, and cybersecurity and standards
  • A critical understanding of how technology, policy, and law may have a disparate impact on individuals and communities based on race, gender, disability, income, immigration status, or other circumstances or characteristics
  • Good data visualization skills

Compensation and Benefits

Salary is competitive with public interest and government pay scales. CDT provides a generous benefits package that includes health care and dental coverage, a retirement plan, paid vacation, sick days, and parental leave.

To Apply

Please send the following to [email protected]:

  1. Cover letter, 
  2. Full CV, 
  3. One writing sample (e.g., a published paper)