Position Description

Research Assistant
Location New York, NY
Job Code 9102-46
# of Openings 1
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MDRC is seeking a Research Assistant for its Center for Data Insights (CDI), which works to apply data science to improve the outcomes of low-income families and the operations of social and education programs.

MDRC is seeking a candidate interested in blending organizational and research skills to support the execution of data science projects within the context of poverty research and social safety net programs.

Are you detail-oriented and enjoy organizing and coordinating people and information to keep a project on track? Are you able to synthesize complex information into an engaging format? Do you want to learn more about how data science can be used to improve the operations of organizations dedicated to mitigating poverty?  

If so, having a role as our new Research Assistant would be an unusual opportunity for you to work as part of a multidisciplinary team to support government agencies, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations. Specifically, you would work with CDI and its partner organizations to provide management support to improve programs and systems by harnessing the benefits of operational data-science techniques to produce actionable insights. The new CDI Research Assistant will work in a dynamic and demanding environment under the guidance and supervision of leading public policy researchers and data scientists.


The candidate hired for this position will play a significant role in MDRC’s TANF Data Innovation project and other emerging initiatives within CDI. The position provides the successful candidate the opportunity to work on a range of organizational and analytical tasks, including:

  • Project management support, including assistance with developing project plans and tracking and reporting on the status of project milestones and deliverables;

  • Website management support, including assistance with planning and deployment of website updates and digital marketing strategies;

  • Support of a range of training and technical assistance activities, including development of materials (e.g., presentations, templates, etc.) and delivery of technical assistance in variety of formats (e.g., in-person, remote, short videos, etc.);

  • General project support, including scheduling meetings and note-taking and management of project documents;
  • Involvement in different stages of evaluation design and implementation;
  • Involvement in various stages of producing reports, proposals, and papers (working with authors to produce drafts; writing; preparing figures, charts, and tables; fact-checking; and documentation); and
  • Staying up-to-date on the use of data science methods in the public sector, especially in the realm of poverty research and social safety-net programs and especially focusing on the domain of project scoping (e.g., defining a research question) and data governance (e.g., establishing systems for the ethical use of data).


  • BA/BS  
  • Prior experience coordinating and managing a group of individuals to complete complex tasks is highly preferred

  • Prior experience teaching or interest in training a plus

  • Excellent organizational, writing, and copy-editing skills

  • Strong presentation development and delivery skills

  • Extremely detail-oriented

  • Self-motivated to prioritize and balance a diverse workload

  • Comfortable working in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment
  • Excellent communication skills and ability to collaborate

  • Demonstrated interest in social policy issues affecting low-income individuals and families

  • Basic understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods

  • Demonstrated interest or experience with one or more of the following is a plus: writing for the web or other digital communications; visual communication and visual design; UX design; human-centered design; web analytics; social media; SharePoint

  • While this is not a technical position, familiarity with or interest in learning about data science (and, in particular, the use of data science for social good) is helpful

Please note that this is not a technical position and is not likely to involve working directly with data. If you would like to work directly with data, please refer to any open positions with “technical” in the job title.

The position will be based in MDRC’s New York City office. Some on-the-job training is provided; salary will be commensurate with experience and comprehensive benefits are offered.

If interested, please attach a writing sample. Only candidates selected for further consideration will be contacted.

MDRC is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. MDRC does not discriminate, and all qualified applications will receive consideration without regard to race; color; national origin; religion; creed; sex or gender (including sex stereotyping and gender identity or expression); sexual orientation; citizenship status; pregnancy; disability; age; military or veteran status; marital or partnership status; genetic information, genetic predisposition or carrier status; prior unemployment status; consumer credit history; status as a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking; or any other category protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws. Legal work authorization is required.

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