Research Director

May 06, 2017
Executive Administration Jobs
C-Level & Executive Directors
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution
About The Unit: Crime remains a major policy challenge in developed as well as developing countries. Around 500,000 people are murdered annually worldwide; millions more are victims of other crimes. Crime is very regressive in its impact: crime rates, particularly for violent crimes, are higher in poor countries than rich ones, and within countries are higher for poor people than for the more affluent. Crime also exacerbates almost every other public policy problem, particularly in cities, by draining resources from other pressing needs, while driving out taxpaying residents and businesses. Why have we made such dramatic strides in addressing almost every other health problem but violence. One reason is that in most areas of health, there are government and philanthropic organizations first making crucial investments in research and development (R&D), and before any new innovation can be brought to market it is required to be subject to a "gold-standard" randomized controlled trial (RCT). In contrast, our policy approaches to reducing violence are largely divorced from the profound benefits of systematic scientific inquiry. The University of Chicago Crime Lab seeks to improve our understanding of how to reduce crime and violence by helping government agencies and non-profit organizations rigorously evaluate promising policies and interventions to make them as informative as possible. Our goal is to assemble a portfolio of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to generate new evidence about what works, for whom, and why, and to conduct benefit-cost analyses of different interventions to enable policymakers to prioritize resources for the combination of strategies that achieve the greatest social good per dollar spent. Crime Lab projects evaluate ways to help make the criminal justice system more effective and fair, and try to identify tools from social policy, education, and behavioral economics to prevent crime from happening in the first place and to improve outcomes for the most disadvantaged populations. In addition to carrying out RCTs and other research on crime and violence, the University of Crime Lab since its inception has also provided extensive pro bono technical assistance to government agencies in Chicago looking for rigorous data analysis and research support. The nature of our work as partners with city agencies requires adjusting to the pace of policymakers' work. This way of working is atypical for most research organizations, but gives us an unprecedented opportunity to partner with policymakers to help them maximize the positive impact of policies and programs that can improve lives. For more information about the University of Chicago Crime Lab, go to

Unit Job Summary: Crime Lab is seeking a full-time Research Director to contribute to the scientific and intellectual leadership. In this role, the Research Director will help to manage and mentor research and project staff, providing scientific direction and ensuring the rigor and quality of all work. The Research Director would also be expected to direct a portfolio of applied research projects in association with faculty members and research teams focused on reducing crime and violence and improving life outcomes for disadvantaged youth in addition to facilitating technical assistance work for government partners and strategic partners. The Research Director will report to Executive Director and work collaboratively with other researchers, staff, and partner agencies. The Research Director will contribute to the scientific content of research proposals, and will assist the ED and other faculty affiliates in supporting dissemination and policymaker outreach activities. The Research Director will also contribute to strategic conversations about which new projects and initiatives the Crime Lab should take on. This position is based in Chicago, IL.

Unit Education: Applicants must have a Ph.D. in public policy, economics, criminology, statistics, computer science, or other relevant field with substantial policy and research experience or defended your dissertation by June 2017.

Unit Experience: The successful candidate will have expertise in all aspects of the research design, methods, and evaluation of research projects in the area of criminal justice or related area of social policy and an interest in finding and testing innovative solutions to urban problems. Preference will be given to those with proven experience working with interdisciplinary research teams and agency and community stakeholders.

Unit Job Function Competencies: Strategic leadership skills required. Supervisory skills required. Budget management skills required. Advanced knowledge in relevant scientific field required. Advanced knowledge of research techniques or methods required. Knowledge of scientific applications and equipment required. Knowledge of regulatory policies and procedures required. Analytical skills required. Problem-solving skills required. Attention to detail required. Organizational skills required. Verbal and written communication skills required. Ability to work independently and as part of a team required. Knowledge of Microsoft Office required.

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