Director of Research, Rights and Justice

Reports to: Managing Director, Rights and Justice
Staff reporting to this position: Department Research Associates and/or Research Assistants
Department: Rights and Justice
Position classification: Exempt, full time; Nonunion - Level 7
Work site: Hybrid (on-site two days per week, Washington, D.C., office)


American Progress has an immediate opening for a Director of Research in its Rights and Justice department. American Progress is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action, with the aim of not only changing the conversation, but changing the country. In furtherance of that mission, the Rights and Justice department works to build a society that respects the rights and dignity of all people, provides equitable opportunity for everyone to fulfill their potential, and ensures everyone benefits from the collective strengths of the nation’s diversity.

The Director of Research will coordinate research activities across the Rights and Justice department’s six policy teams and between Rights and Justice and other departments. The Director of Research will enhance alignment of research efforts in areas ranging from criminal justice reform, disability justice, and gun violence prevention to immigration policy, LGBTQI+ policy, and racial equity and justice.

This position is ideal for a candidate with a successful track record of overseeing quantitative research projects, leveraging research to enhance policy development and advocacy, and establishing research strategies to support broad policy goals and outcomes. The Director will serve as an adviser to the Rights and Justice department on research strategy; support the establishment of external research partnerships; and oversee cross-departmental research functions, such as fact-checking, annual planning, product development, and internships, and may manage departmentwide research staff.

The Director will ensure the department’s research agenda maximally strengthens American Progress’ work in areas in which the department’s staff are most engaged, as well as support American Progress’ five crosscutting priorities:

  • Building an economy for all
  • Restoring social trust in democracy
  • Advancing racial equity and justice
  • Tackling climate change and environmental injustice
  • Strengthening health


  • Lead in crafting standards and processes to ensure that the department’s research projects are executed to the highest standard, including managing and expanding the use of datasets in its research.
  • As teams across the department build policy agendas, assess existing research gaps and find ways to fill those, including partnering with senior fellows and external collaborators.
  • Oversee the department’s fact-checking process, including monitoring workload and providing consultation and quality assurance.
  • Remain up to date on standards and best practices in policy research and cutting-edge analysis techniques.
  • Coordinate with colleagues across American Progress on crosscutting priorities, issues, and projects and engage teams to find research synergies.
  • Lead facilitation of American Progress’ internal network of research staff and initiatives to streamline and strengthen research practices throughout the institution; create learning opportunities for staff of all levels.
  • Design and direct entire bodies of the department’s research agenda, including anticipating research needs; defining a methodology for meeting these needs; and laying out a timeline for completing the work and driving it forward.
  • Research, write, and edit policy reports, analyses, fact sheets, columns, and other materials on a wide range of topics relating to Rights and Justice policy areas.
  • Managing the department’s research staff and interns.
  • Represent American Progress in various settings, including meetings with academics, researchers, advocates, media, conferences, and panel discussions.
  • Serve as an on-the-record spokesperson on Rights and Justice issues for American Progress, including in print, radio, TV, and digital media.
  • Track research and policy developments and direct American Progress’ strategic response to those developments as appropriate, including rapid response, action items, technical assistance, and authoring or commissioning original research, analyses, and policy proposals.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Requirements and qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience; graduate degree is preferred.
  • At least ten years of experience in research and policy development.
  • Experience in a policy area that falls under the Rights and Justice department is preferred.
  • Advanced quantitative skills, including the ability to oversee others’ research proposals, methodological design, and data analysis.
  • Excellent writing and analytical skills and significant body of written work.
  • Detail oriented with strong organizational skills.
  • Ability to prioritize, multitask, and meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment.
  • Experience managing staff.
  • Knowledge of legislative and administrative policymaking processes.
  • Ability to initiate and engage in creative approaches to advancing policy.
  • Experience analyzing federal and state government data.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work as part of a team.
  • Familiarity with 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) regulations is preferred.
  • Commitment to the American Progress mission.

American Progress offers a full and competitive benefits package. Candidates from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. This position is not represented by a union and has a budgeted salary of $100,000.

American Progress’ hybrid work policy is posted on our Jobs page. Please visit this page for updates. Any changes to this policy will also be communicated at the time of hire.

Apply Now

This announcement will remain posted until the position is filled. No phone calls, please.

Please note that only those individuals whose qualifications match the current needs of this position will be considered applicants and will receive responses from American Progress.

Thank you for your interest in American Progress.

Additional information

American Progress operates two separate nonprofit organizations to maximize the progressive agenda: the Center for American Progress and the Center for American Progress Action Fund. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “American Progress.” The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) tax-exempt research and educational institute. It undertakes research, public education and a limited amount of lobbying. The Center for American Progress Action Fund is a nonpartisan 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization dedicated to achieving progress through action. It works to transform progressive ideas into policy through rapid-response communications, legislative action, grassroots organizing, political advocacy, and partnerships with other progressive leaders. The organizations share office space and employees.

American Progress is dedicated to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Diversity is more than a commitment at American Progress—it is the foundation of what we do. American Progress recruits, employs, trains, compensates, and promotes regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, marital status, veteran status, medical condition, and all the other characteristics that make us unique.

For more information on the Center for American Progress, please go to For more information on the Center for American Progress Action Fund, please go to

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