Job Posting

Research Director

The Data Foundation is a Washington, DC-based non-profit organization that seeks to enable an open future for data to build a better government and society. The Data Foundation provides policy-relevant research, analysis, education, and programming about government data policies in the United States.

As the country’s leading data policy think tank, the Data Foundation supports informed dialogue and thought leadership on emerging strategies and applications for accessing, using, and applying data in ways that are useful for decision-making.


The Data Foundation is currently seeking an experienced researcher to serve as the full-time Research Director, providing oversight, strategic planning, and research support for all of the organization’s ongoing and forthcoming research projects.

The Research Director position requires academic research training, some familiarity with existing experience or knowledge about federal laws, regulations, or policies that relate to how agencies collect, organize, and make data accessible. The Research Director will also have some familiarity with protecting data, managing confidential information, and privacy policy. Potential areas of expertise could include research, data science, natural science, statistics, policy analysis, performance management, evaluation, computer science, or privacy.

This supervisory position is based in Washington, DC and will report directly to the Data Foundation President.

The Data Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


  • Develop, implement, and periodically update the Data Foundation’s research agenda.

  • Manage the research process and peer review protocols to maintain high-quality, valid, reliable,

    and credible research projects. This includes oversight of junior researchers and contracted


  • Contribute to research proposal formulation and identifying suitable funding, in collaboration

    with other Data Foundation staff.

  • Direct, oversee, and execute Data Foundation research projects, events, and educational

    activities with day-to-day responsibility for achieving organizational goals and fulfilling the Data

    Foundation’s mission.

  • Provide strategic direction and management of the Data Foundation’s cohort of rotating

    Research Fellows.

  • Serve as a subject matter expert on relevant data policies and practices in government.

  • Conduct primary research on issues that relate to data policies, including privacy technologies, artificial intelligence, confidentiality protections, data sharing approaches, or other aspects of data infrastructure or management.

  • Draft and publish white papers and articles that include realistic policy options on issues related to the availability, use, and protection of survey and administrative data for decision-making.

  • Develop relevant policy briefs, blog posts, and fact sheets that address timely issues of relevance to the Data Foundation.

  • Plan and support events sponsored by the Data Foundation to provide an accessible dialogue about relevant concepts and issues.

  • Lead or support working groups and task forces related to government data strategies.

  • Coordinate with Data Foundation supporters, board members, staff, and contractors to support the mission of the organization and effective implementation of project goals.

The Research Director will be expected to navigate and address research about new and evolving policy issues, and will interact directly with policy experts, researchers, and business leaders. Specifically, the role will promote the Data Foundation’s role for encouraging public discourse about the use of data in society, including for evidence-informed policymaking and data-driven decision-making.


  • Demonstrated research and organizational skills

  • Experience developing, conducting, and using policy research, including applying appropriate

    research methods to address key questions

  • Knowledge of data policy, evidence-based policymaking, statistical policy, evaluation policy,

    science policy, and privacy policy

  • Demonstrated understanding of or experience working with implementation of Federal

    government programs and policies

  • Ability to multi-task on numerous projects, in both collaborative and independent situations

  • Experience developing and submitting grant proposals and contract bids, funder reporting, and project management


Applicant must have a relevant graduate degree and work experience as a researcher. A Ph.D. in an applicable field is preferred, though individuals with a master’s degree and sufficient work experience will be considered. Work experience will not be considered as a substitute for a master’s degree.

Applicants should have relevant experience conducting survey research, data analysis using administrative records, and qualitative research leading to publication. Applicants should also have some familiarity with government policies about data, confidentiality, privacy, IT systems, research, statistics, evaluation, or performance management.


The Data Foundation offers a competitive salary and benefits package, commensurate with experience and education. Individuals interested in this position should email a (1) cover letter explaining your interest in the position, (2) cv, (3) previous publication, (4) single-authored blog article, and (5) contact information for three references to Please include the position title in the subject line of the email. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled.