Senior Research Assistant (Job ID: 2021-2644)

Posted Date 1 month ago(6/21/2021 3:44 PM)
Metropolitan Policy Program
Job Function
Job ID
Commensurate with experience


Join one of the most influential, most quoted and most trusted think tanks!

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level.


We bring together leading experts in government and academia from all over the world, rooted in open-minded inquiry and representing diverse points of view, who provide the highest quality research, policy recommendations, and analysis. Research topics cover a full range of public policy issues in economics, foreign policy, development, governance and metropolitan policy.


With fair and transparent business practices, clear communication, mutual respect, and a collaborative atmosphere that offers both professional and personal development opportunities, Brookings offers an inclusive and welcoming workplace that values the efforts of all contributors.


The Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings delivers research and solutions to help metropolitan leaders build an advanced economy that works for all. To learn more, please visit Follow us on Twitter at


This is a one-year termed appointment. 


Please note: This position is based in Brookings' Washington, DC office. In response to COVID-19, Brookings staff are temporarily teleworking. The person hired for this position must be willing to move to or currently reside in Washington DC, Maryland, or Northern Virginia by their date of hire. 


Ready to contribute to Brookings success?


The Senior Research Assistant provides research assistance and administrative support in the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings. The Senior Research Assistant conducts high-quality research on public policy issues; organizes and analyzes large datasets; identifies appropriate data sources and responds to statistical/analytical queries from senior research staff; prepares tables, maps, graphics, and presentations on Program’s research findings; provides literature reviews and background memoranda. As needed, the Senior Research Assistant also oversees scheduling logistics and other administrative duties.


Research Assistance (60%)       

  • Conducts relevant research for Fellows and Senior Fellows as assigned.
  • Works with a variety of large-scale public- and private-sector databases to construct and manage data files; downloading and processing data as they become available, using R and Python.
  • Builds new datasets for analysis by combining data from multiple sources, using appropriate database management, including writing documentation and metadata.
  • Assembles and analyzes detailed geographically-based data on metropolitan demographic, economic, social, and physical attributes.
  • Assists in drafting research reports, including developing data charts, graphs, tables, and maps.
  • Assembles and formats data for presentation on interactive Brookings data websites.
  • Compiles and summarizes data and policy trends for public presentations.
  • Reads relevant literature as directed; prepares written summaries and analyses of relevant research areas.


Writing and Editing (30%) 

  • Writes summary reports, briefing memos, bibliographies and chronologies; compiles abstracts, summaries, and analyses; synthesizes books and articles.
  • Updates and checks existing data and footnotes; helps with editing and proofreading of publications.
  • Summarize existing literature and research results for incorporation into memos, speeches, op-eds, research publications and presentations.
  • Drafts research memos in collaboration with other scholars and research assistants.
  • Drafts and edits papers, speeches, op-eds and other written products in coordination with senior researchers and communications staff.
  • Work collaboratively with research staff to develop and complete writing assignments.


 Administrative Support (10%) 

  • Provides administrative, communication, and logistical support to Fellows and Senior Fellows; helps coordinate with Partnerships and Engagements team; schedules appointments and makes travel arrangements; prepares expense reports; prepares and edits correspondence and memos.
  • Maintains electronic files and databases of materials on relevant topics.
  • Works with appropriate staff to draft and update website content of Fellows, Senior Fellows with new research, event information, and other webpages as assigned.
  • Maintains relationships with key data staff at government agencies and think tanks as required.
  • Provides general administrative assistance, as needed.


Ready to make an impact? In this role, you will support Brookings values of collegiality, respect, inclusion, diversity and community, and bring the following qualifications:


Education/Experience Requirements:


Bachelor’s degree in geography, public policy, or related field required. Experience managing and manipulating multiple, large-scale datasets and delivering quality research preferred. Master’s degree and/or work experience in an environment that demands excellence preferred. Minimum of two years professional work experience in fast-paced, policy-oriented environment required. Must be authorized to work for any employer in the U.S.


Knowledge/Skills Requirements:


Strong interest in human geography and/or urban issues; high-level proficiency in Excel and R required; capacity to quickly master new analytical methods and related software a must. Must also possess clear writing skills. Must be comfortable taking initiative, operationalizing big-picture direction into specific research actions, methods, and project components, paying attention to detail, and working in an ever-evolving policy environment. Knowledge of GIS mapping, Python, and/or PowerPoint preferred; demonstrated ability to undertake research assignments with limited supervision is a plus.


Additional Information:


What can we offer you? Brookings provides a generous benefit package that is comprehensive and includes both traditional benefits and unique offerings.


Brookings requires that all applicants submit a cover letter and resume. Please attach your cover letter and resume as one document when you apply. Please note: if you have applied to more than one Brookings job opening you should add a position-specific cover letter as a separate attachment.


Successful completion of a background investigation is required for employment at Brookings.


Brookings welcomes and celebrates diversity in all its forms.  We welcome applications that reflect a variety of backgrounds based on ideology, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, first generation college goers, and other factors protected by law. Brookings is proud to be an equal-opportunity employer that is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace.




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