Senior Research Specialist I

Job description

Requisition # 2017-8039
Department Woodrow Wilson School
Category Research and Laboratory
Full-Time / Part-Time Full-Time
Application Deadline


Princeton University's Innovations for Successful Societies (ISS) research program invites outstanding candidates to apply for the position of senior research specialists for the period November 2017-November 2018.

The position is based at Princeton University, with periods of travel ranging from 2 to 4 weeks for a total of roughly 12 weeks overseas in the course of a year. Overseas travel is an essential part of the job. This is a one-year, on-site, term position with the possibility of extension contingent upon satisfactory performance and continued funding.

Innovations for Successful Societies (ISS) develops case studies of institutional and policy reform. Our case studies serve reformers in developing and fragile states, those who advise them, and scholars of international development.

Each year the program focuses on four public management problems that leaders encounter in building more effective, more accountable government. ISS case studies explore the mechanics of reform to understand how success happens and how obstacles are overcome. Case studies are based on field-based interviews with those responsible for designing and implementing reform, and are written from the reformer's point-of-view.

Please visit the ISS website at for examples of the program's work.


The Senior Research Specialist will research and author case studies on topics of interest to the ISS audience, as defined by the program's directors. Working within a focus area, the research specialist is responsible for producing five case studies and one cross-cutting brief following a schedule the program sets out.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Pre-trip background research relevant to the case
  • Building a network of key contacts for each case study
  • Planning and organization of overseas research trips
  • Conducting field interviews with key reformers and senior officials abroad
  • Write-up of case studies and quote clearance


  • Master's or PhD in history, politics, economics, public policy, international development or a related field preferred, but very talented candidates with B.A.s are welcome to apply;
  • Experience with research and/or work in developing countries is required;
  • Ability to research, evaluate, and synthesize information efficiently;
  • Excellent interpersonal and interview skills;
  • Strong writing skills and flexibility to match the ISS writing style;
  • Capacity to manage time and work without extensive direction;
  • Ability to produce high-quality written work to tight deadlines;
  • Understanding of the challenges facing developing countries;
  • Willingness to travel internationally as needed.

The ideal candidate has relevant social science preparation or equivalent experience, a year or more of work experience in a low-income country, exceptional writing skills, poise in conducting interviews with senior officials (ministerial rank), and demonstrated capacity for teamwork. Each case study is produced on a 8 to 10 week timeline and typically goes through 6 drafts before publication on the program's website; therefore, ability to work effectively with editors and to share writing with a group is essential.

  • Knowledge of public finance/budgeting, project management, frontline service delivery, or other familiarity with public management is a definite plus

Princeton University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. EEO IS THE LAW

Salary Grade

ASR, 010

Standard Weekly Hours


Eligible for Overtime


Benefits Eligible


Essential Services Personnel (see policy for detail)


Estimated Appointment End Date


Comments Related to End Date

One year term position with possibility for renewal based on funding

Physical Capacity Exam Required


Valid Driver's License Required


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Job No:
Posted: 3/20/2018
Application Due: 5/19/2018
Work Type: