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Research Associate (Metropolitan Housing and Communities)

Urban Institute

Urban Institute

Washington, DC, USA
Posted on Friday, February 9, 2024

About Urban Institute:

At the Urban Institute, we believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities. As a nonprofit focusing on social and economic policy, our researchers and policy entrepreneurs open minds, shape decisions, and identify transformative solutions to the most pressing issues of our time.

Our Mission

To open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions through economic and social policy research.

Our Values

Collaboration, Equity, Inclusivity, Independence, and Integrity

For more information on the Urban Institute, please visit https://www.urban.org.

The Opportunity

Central to Urban’s mission is fostering a truly inclusive community that ensures ongoing relevance to a changing world. Our research in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center demonstrates that where people live can influence nearly everything in their lives: where they work and how they get there, the quality of schools that their children attend, their health and safety, even their longevity. With an emphasis on place—from cities and suburbs to tribal lands—we investigate the factors that shape the quality of life in American communities. We are looking for a Research Associate to work on research teams across the Center and our bodies of work to manage research projects and tasks such as data collection, analysis, writing, and dissemination.

This position will sit within the Climate and Communities practice area which conducts impact-driven research, technical assistance, policy analysis, and strategic communications for changemakers seeking to build safer, more prosperous, and resilient communities. We work with policymakers, city planners, and community leaders to understand how past, current, and upcoming decisions shape a community’s climate risk and to identify strategies to equitably adapt to an uncertain future. Our experts seek to advance evidence and policy and programmatic solutions to ensure the following:

  • All people and communities are safe from the warming climate, now and in the future.

  • Climate investments are maximally effective, and their benefits are shared equitably, reach the people and communities most in need, and are delivered with urgency.

  • Decarbonization goals are met without reducing economic opportunity and pathways to upward mobility, especially for those who have been historically and systematically excluded.

The Research Associate will also contribute to other practice areas in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center on research related to housing, housing finance, race and equity, neighborhoods, cities and/or metros, depending on their background and interests.

This is a hybrid position that will require in-person attendance in the office 2-3 days per week.

What You’ll Do:

  • Participate in developing research topics, proposals, and research designs that meet high standards of rigor including data collection plans, protocol development, and Institutional Review Board submissions.

  • Maintain project budgets, timelines, and deliverables and manage grant/contract relationships and reporting.

  • Develop and maintain research partnerships with nonprofits, government agency offices, funders, subcontractors, and other entities to support research implementation.

  • Supervise and/or participate in efforts to collect, clean, and perform advanced manipulation of qualitative and/or quantitative data. This includes creating and managing data collection protocols, cleaning and merging data, producing and reviewing literature reviews, conducting field work (such as interviews and site visits), and writing computer programs for data processing and analysis.

  • Supervise and/or participate in efforts to present research results in final reports including tables, graphics, and maps for reports, as well as writing up findings for briefs, reports, blogs, presentations, and other strategic communication.

  • Work with senior researchers to interpret research findings from a policy perspective and present results to clients and stakeholders.

  • Oversee quality control processes for research proposals, internal and external research meetings and events, and research management.

  • Oversee the project work of junior research staff by providing coaching and feedback.

Who You Are:

  • Possess a master’s degree, PhD, or equivalent academic and professional experience in a relevant field such as Urban Planning, Economics, Public Policy, Sociology, Public Health, Anthropology, Political Science, or other Social Science with a demonstrated focus on relevant policy issues and policy-related research skill sets.

  • Demonstrate emerging research expertise in at least one relevant policy area through prior research papers and projects. Sample policy areas include: climate change adaptation and mitigation, resilience and urban planning, disaster response and recovery, housing quality, energy development and transitions, environmental change, environmental justice, or related topics and fields—with a focus on impacts to communities of color, populations with low and moderate incomes, and socially vulnerable populations.

  • Demonstrate strong mixed-methods analytical skills conducive to advanced research methodologies.

  • Show superb critical thinking skills and capacity to interpret research findings.

  • Demonstrate experience with and management of research projects using data analysis tools and software packages (SAS, Stata, SPSS, R, Python, ArcGIS, NVivo, Atlas.ti or other tools and research processes) or other research project management tools appropriate to the area of research skill.

  • Demonstrate strong written and verbal communication skills, including presentation of data, through prior publications, presentations, blogs, and other communication platforms.

  • Demonstrate effective project management including experience managing project teams, creating and managing work plans, timelines, budgets, and other contractual research components.

  • Demonstrate familiarity with the conceptualization of research projects and the development of proposals, responses to solicitations and other business cultivation activities.

  • Exhibit high level of organization, time management, motivation, creativity, and self-confidence; we seek individuals who can work effectively, independently, and simultaneously on multiple projects and across multiple teams.

  • Display a high level of professionalism.

What you’ll experience:

No matter your role with Urban, you will contribute to meaningful work that makes a difference for people and communities across the country. We are committed to cultivating a community and working in a manner defined by collaboration, equity, inclusivity, independence, and integrity.

Urban’s greatest asset is our people.

The salary range for this position is Min $83,381, Mid $113,710, Max $142,786. Salary offered is commensurate with experience and considers internal equity. Candidates from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. Salaries are just one component of Urban Institute’s total compensation package.

Urban is committed to supporting our staff’s physical, emotional, and financial well-being through a robust benefits package for yourself, eligible dependents, and domestic partners. It includes generous paid time off, including nine federal holidays, medical (including prescription), dental and vision insurance, and transit benefits. Urban is unique in that we offer 403(b) retirement plan participation immediately after you’re hired and a generous employer contribution after six months of service and 500 hours, with immediate vesting. You’ll also have access to a health advocate, personal finance coaching, an Employee Assistance Program, and educational assistance for undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

The Urban Institute has formally recognized the Urban Institute Employees’ Union, which is part of the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU). Urban management and the Union work together in good faith and are motivated by a shared commitment to this institution. This position is included in the Union-represented collective bargaining unit, and specific employment terms and conditions are subject to collective bargaining negotiations.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work being performed by the people assigned. This posting is not an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, and requirements. Urban management reserves the right to amend and change duties, responsibilities, and requirements to meet business and organizational needs as necessary.

The Urban Institute is an equal-opportunity employer and is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. All qualified candidates will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender or gender identity, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, veteran status, pregnancy or family responsibilities, matriculation, disability, political affiliation, or any other protected status under applicable law.

The Urban Institute is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer Minorities/Women/Disabilities/Veterans.

We are committed to equal employment opportunity and providing reasonable accommodations to applicants with physical and/or mental disabilities. If you have a physical and/or mental disability and are interested in applying for employment and need special accommodations to use our website to apply for a position, please contact Human Resources at humanresources@urban.org. Reasonable accommodation requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.