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Research Director

The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) is seeking a senior-level Research Director to launch and lead a policy-focused research initiative within the organization. This initiative is designed to foster rigorous research to inform policy advocacy; this research will be conducted both internally and in partnership with other institutions. This new position will help decide the structure of CDT’s research initiative, set research priorities, conduct and guide original research, build collaborative research networks, and communicate research with key stakeholders. 

Initially, we envision research priorities to focus on issues related to advancing free expression online and technology’s impact on democracy. The scope and focus of the research is expected to evolve over time. We anticipate the need for both qualitative and quantitative research. This position is made possible through a multi-year grant, and as such, specific grant deliverables must be realized. 

The position is based in CDT’s Washington, DC office and will work with project teams across the organization. 

Key Responsibilities 

  • Lead efforts to build and grow CDT’s research initiative, including development of strategy and processes, hiring and managing additional project staff, identifying and engaging partners, and cultivating relationships with prospective funders. 
  • Work with senior management and policy teams, especially the free expression team, to set the strategic direction for applied research efforts.
  • Direct the scope of research, identifying and executing research.  
  • Translate key policy questions into concrete research plans. 
  • Write and edit public-facing research reports.
  • Oversee the establishment, maintenance, and management of external research partner networks. 
  • Collaborate with communications team to strategically communicate and disseminate research findings and products to key stakeholders, including graphic illustrations of findings.
  • Collaborate with the development team on grant reporting, metrics, and execution of deliverables, as well as funder relationship management.
  • Serve as public spokesperson and ambassador on areas of research focus; prepare and present presentations for both technical and non-technical audiences. 


Required qualifications: 

  • Advanced degree (Master’s, Doctorate, etc). 
  • 8+ years of experience with applied research efforts, both qualitative and quantitative, preferably directed at policy or programmatic outcomes. 
  • 3+ years of leadership and project management experience, including with other researchers.
  • Proficiency in statistical analysis of data.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage complex projects. 
  • Access to a strong network of potential academic and research collaborators. 
  • Strong analytical and critical thinking skills. 
  • Excellent communication, writing, and presentation skills. 
  • Ability to work independently.

Additional qualifications preferred:

  • Experience working with press. 
  • Experience working with or for a policy advocacy organization. 
  • Interest in free expression related issues, with direct experience conducting research on speech & democracy questions. 
  • Passion for and commitment to the advancement of human rights and civil liberties. 


Salary is commensurate with experience and 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 a cover letter and a resume to [email protected]