Research Assistant, China Center and ESCI (Job ID: 2021-2802)

Posted Date 4 weeks ago(12/30/2021 11:18 AM)
Foreign Policy
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.


Foreign Policy at Brookings is a leading center of policy-relevant scholarship exploring the rapidly re-ordering geopolitics of the major powers, and the disordering relations among states and transnational actors. In line with Brookings’s core values of quality, independence, and impact, our scholars provide concrete policy recommendations for how U.S. strategy, the international security architecture, and leading states should adapt to changing threats and opportunities.


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.


Position Location: This position is based in Brookings' Washington, DC office. 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.  


Operating status: Brookings eligible employees are currently authorized to work remotely but will be moving towards a hybrid plan later this year, which will require working both in the office and remotely. All vaccinated Brookings employees who wish to work from the office can do so. Brookings policies on masks and other pandemic mitigation measures will continue to be informed by DC and CDC guidelines.  


Vaccine Policy: Brookings has made the safety of our staff and our surrounding community a top priority. As part of that commitment, Brookings recently announced that staff on Brookings campus this fall are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  Brookings will require all staff and visitors to submit proof of complete vaccination against COVID-19 to be in Brookings buildings. 


As a visitor and/or a new employee at Brookings, you will be required to comply with the vaccination policy. Individuals invited for an in-person job interview or hired as an employee that (i) have a qualifying medical condition that contraindicates a COVID-19 vaccination, or (ii) who object to being vaccinated based on a sincerely held religious belief, may request a reasonable accommodation.     


Ready to contribute to Brookings success?


The Research Assistant provides professional directed research support to scholars in the Foreign Policy program’s John L. Thornton China Center and Energy Security and Climate Initiative (ESCI). Research topics may include China’s economy and economic statecraft, the global energy transition, technological innovation, and policy implications and developments. In addition to research support, the Research Assistant also provides administrative support and coordination for operations and events, serves as point of contact for travel and scheduling as requested, and works as a team member to provide general programmatic support.


Research and Event Support   (60%)

  • Supports assigned scholars in all aspects of policy research on specific topics and projects, which may include both long- and short-term projects. This may include direct assignments including compiling and organizing data, providing basic data analysis, locating specific academic and news articles, and conducting broad literature reviews.
  • Monitors and summarizes developments and trends relating to research areas.
  • Collects documents, articles, and other data as directed from various sources including libraries, databases, government documents, and personal contacts. Reads sources for relevance to research themes.
  • Updates and checks existing data and footnotes. Checks facts, edits copy, proofreads publications, and prepares, organizations, and checks datasets, data analysis, and data visualization.
  • May write summary reports, briefing memos, bibliographies, and chronologies; synthesizes research and assists as requested with drafting, editing, and/or proofreading remarks, blog posts, articles, and presentations.
  • Works with Communications staff to update scholar pages on the Brookings website, post content and event information to the website, and promote content on social media.
  • Coordinates with scholars and Communications staff to ensure publications are distributed to relevant and interested parties in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Assists scholars and staff in planning and scheduling conferences (including major events in Washington, D.C. and other locations), roundtables, briefings, podcasts, meetings, associated travel, and other events.
  • Drafts event invitations and summaries with supervision and editing.
  • Under guidance from scholars and other staff, manages implementation of relevant events and coordinates among Foreign Policy (FP) Communications staff, Central Communications, and Conference Services to facilitate logistical arrangements for events and conferences. Reserves meeting spaces, arranges for catering, and procures audio-visual equipment and necessary event services. Coordinates development of invitations, announcements, and guest lists and liaises with event speakers and their staffs. Proactively monitors event-day implementation of plans and resolves problems.
  • Tracks costs and retains receipts for conferences, meetings, roundtables, and events.
  • Maintains calendar and record of events and activities and conveys information to relevant FP staff and uploads to records database.
  • Coordinates the maintenance and updating of mailing and invitation lists for publications and events, as well as other contact databases of officials, experts, journalists and regional actors relevant to energy and climate, technological innovation, and China’s economy.
  • Keeps detailed and accurate records of event participants and materials.

General Programmatic and Administrative Support   (40%)

  • Provides administrative support and coordination to scholars as needed.
  • Assists with scheduling, travel, managing contact lists, handling correspondence, and other administrative duties as requested.
  • Works closely with and Brookings Institution staff to ensure scholars’ activities are carried out in accordance with guidelines and processes of the Foreign Policy program and the Institution.
  • Meets regularly with staff to coordinate networking activities, schedules, and programmatic duties.
  • Handles staff travel planning and reimbursement requests and reimbursements from conference and event participants.
  • Conducts other relevant work and participates in activities 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:


A bachelor’s degree is required; a degree in economics, political science, or a related field is preferred. Coursework on – and strong interest in – statistics, economics, and international relations is required, and some focus on energy, environment studies, and China is preferred. Applicants with coursework and interest in hard sciences are also welcome. Relevant experience, including experience in research support, event coordination and planning, and project management, is required. Experience may be gained through internships, school research projects, and/or study abroad, and should be highlighted in the cover letter. Must be authorized to work for any employer in the U.S.



Knowledge/Skills Requirements:


Research: The Research Assistant must have the ability to conduct directed, professional foreign policy research by locating and citing appropriate primary and secondary sources. Must possess strong knowledge of statistics, economics, international relations, and the policymaking process. Must develop deep and detailed knowledge of specific policy issues in support of scholars’ work. Basic familiarity with research methodologies and techniques, competence in basic data analysis methods, and proficiency in at least one statistical package is required. Must be able to conduct literature reviews under guidance and compile, organize, and proofread bibliographies and chronologies. Ability to navigate Chinese-language primary and secondary sources is preferred.


Interpersonal skills: Must possess the enthusiasm, poise, tact, discretion, and mature judgment to handle issues and respond appropriately and professionally in fast-paced environment. Strong listening skills and ability to establish effective working relationships are required. Must be able to adapt to changing circumstances.


Communication skills: Must have outstanding written and oral communications skills. Must be able to communicate proactively and interact professionally and productively with all levels of internal and external stakeholders. Professional fluency in English is required; Chinese language reading ability is preferred.


Organizational skills: Must possess excellent organizational skills with high level of attention to detail. Abilities to work independently, identify and seek to resolve problems, ask for clarification when required, and interpret and implement instructions are required. Must be able to multi-task and complete tasks in a timely manner. Must be able to help organize large and small events with high-level participants.


Writing: Strong writing skills are required. Ability to clearly express concepts, ideas, and facts in research areas is required. Must be able to able to draft event invitations, formal correspondence, literature reviews, and short publications or sections in longer papers with supervision from a scholar. Must be able to fact check and copy edit publications.


Technical skills: Must be able to effectively use the Internet and should possess advanced proficiency in Microsoft Office applications, including Office 365. A demonstrated ability to visualize how data and concepts can be communicated in different formats is preferred.


Must be authorized to work for any employer in the United States.


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.







Sorry the Share function is not working properly at this moment. Please refresh the page and try again later.
Share on your newsfeed