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Research Fellow

The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) is seeking a Research Fellow to help lead a new CDT project that examines how content moderation systems, including the application of artificial intelligence tools, operate in non-English contexts, particularly in “low resource” and indigenous languages of the Majority World. 

More specifically, with regional partners, the Research Fellow will examine content moderation systems for select languages and platforms in (1) South America, (2) Sub-Saharan Africa, and (3) South or Southeast Asia. Platforms can include social media and other online services such as online dating, gaming, live-streaming, etc. Working with partners, the Fellow will help identify relevant language groups and online services. The Fellow will also design and lead research under this project, with potential activities including but not limited to:

  • Semi-structured interviews with industry representatives or experts familiar with selected online services and vendors of content moderation tools.
  • Focus groups with different types of end users of online services in selected languages.  
  • Workshops with NLP and LLM researchers focused on the selected languages.
  • Publishing a series of research reports and shorter-form writing and presentations aimed at policy-makers, industry, and civil society. 

The position also offers opportunities to research other emerging technology policy issues relevant to CDT, and to collaborate with CDT’s networks of external academics and partners.

This is a two-year full-time Fellowship, with the possibility of renewal based on performance and availability of funds.

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. 

About CDT

For twenty-nine 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 rulemakings, 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.

Main Responsibilities:

  • With the Research and Free Expression Teams, design and implement the research project outlined above: How content moderation systems, including artificial intelligence tools, operate in non-English contexts, particularly in indigenous and “low resource” languages of the Majority World. 
  • 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 Bachelors or Masters degree in a relevant discipline such as computer/information science, engineering, economics, public policy, law, media or communication studies, political science, or similar qualifications and experience (e.g., work on the use of AI for content moderation at a company), with at least 5 years professional experience.
  • Experience in the use of different research methods.  
  • Experience working in a cross-functional team setting. 
  • Excellent writing skills for communicating with technical, policy, and lay audiences. 
  • Genuine curiosity with an imaginative approach to research design and implementation.

Desired Qualifications

  • Experience working in trust and safety for social media, online services, or organizations in related sectors such as consulting firms, the United Nations, etc.
  • A research related degree (e.g., Masters or PhD in a relevant discipline). 
  • Demonstrated research experience in the form of publications (including reports, conference papers, peer-reviewed papers, etc.), presentations, or other research outputs.
  • 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.
  • Proficiency in languages other than English and/or international experience.

Compensation and Benefits

The annual compensation for this position ranges from $75,000 to $100,000. 

Compensation is determined on a tiered pay scale based on years of experience and the responsibilities of the role. Candidates may request guidance on where they would fall within the salary range during or prior to their first interview. CDT provides a generous benefits package that includes health care and dental coverage for employees and dependents, a retirement plan, paid vacation, sick days, and parental leave.

This position is based in CDT’s Washington, D.C. office, which operates on a hybrid schedule with a target of 3 days in office per week. Allowance for remote work or a different hybrid schedule may be considered in exceptional cases, and is available if needed as a disability accommodation.

To Apply

Please send the following to [email protected]. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis; applicants are encouraged to submit their materials as soon as possible. 

  1. Cover letter 
  2. Resume/CV
  3. One writing sample (e.g., a report or published paper)

The Center for Democracy & Technology is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender expression, age, national origin, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation in any of its activities or operations. We believe that a diverse staff enables us to do better and more impactful work. Women, people of color, people with disabilities, members of LGBTQIA+ and other historically marginalized communities are strongly encouraged to apply.