Research Analyst, AI on the Ground Initiative

Data & Society Research Institute is seeking an early-career Research Analyst, with a background in social science (including information studies, organization studies, and science and technology studies or public policy research) to work with the AI on the Ground Initiative to support original research and other initiative-related activities. The Research Analyst (RA) will be responsible for conducting preliminary research surveys; identifying and organizing relevant information about AI implementations in a range of sectors (including international NGOs, healthcare, security, and social services) and AI governance and policy frameworks across different countries; and communicating findings to a range of audiences. The RA will also be responsible for providing administrative and logistical support for Initiative hosted events and workshops. Further, the RA will be supported in developing and conducting original research projects of their own.

We are particularly interested in hiring a dynamic RA who is eager to work on an interdisciplinary team, engaging with literatures and stakeholders in computer science, critical data studies, law and policy, industry, and academia. Scholars with an interest in developing research that can speak to multiple communities and inform real world outcomes are encouraged to apply. This is a one-year full-time position with the possibility of renewal.


About the AI on the Ground Initiative

The AI on the Ground Initiative (AIGI) is a research initiative housed at the Data & Society Research Institute. Designed to address and act on existing knowledge gaps in the emerging terrain of AI, the initiative brings together a core interdisciplinary team and aims to enhance public knowledge about AI systems. Broadly, this initiative takes a sociotechnical approach to understanding the social, political, and economic implications of an increasingly automated The Initiative society, examining the constellation of technologies that compose current discussions of AI. The Initiative’s goal is to understand and articulate issues of AI by conducting original research on the practices involved in the creation and lived experiences of AI, and publishing research reports and academic articles based on this research. The Initiative’s current research efforts are directed towards: (1) mapping governance practices of Algorithmic Impact Assessments across the globe with particular focus on the United States and (2) the conceptual vocabulary of keywords used to describe the implementation and appropriation of digital identity and AI-based interventions in the Global South countries. Based on a commitment to follow research with action, AIGI aims to develop new conceptual, legal, and design-based tools built from basic research outputs, in order to better engage and empower policymakers, scholars, and those building and affected by AI.



The Research Analyst, AIGI will be expected to:

  • Possess a good understanding of qualitative research methods and a deep interest in unpacking how AI and society mutually shape each other. Familiarity with theoretical frameworks for studying Global South as an empirical research site and international policy frameworks for regulating AI is preferred. 
  • Assist in multi-disciplinary literature surveys on and documentary analysis of emergent research topics that drive AIGI’s research.
  • Assist in identifying and conducting qualitative research interviews with stakeholders and respondents for AIGI’s projects.
  • Assist in articulating patterns emerging from literature surveys and interviews conducted.
  • Support the writing and production of AIGI research outputs in a variety of formats ranging from reports and blog posts to journal articles and podcasts.
  • Provide administrative and logistical support for events and workshops hosted by AIGI. 
  • Conduct original research and writing projects



  • MA degree or relevant equivalent research experience required;
  • Strong writing skills, particularly for a non-academic audience;
  • Ability to deliver work independently with minimal mentorship;
  • Strong time-management skills, the ability to assess the amount of time that a project will take, and meet deadlines;
  • Ability to participate in and assist with occasional project-related events
  • Excellent organizational skills with an ability to manage logistics, scheduling, data, and file management;
  • Proven ability to handle confidential information with discretion; and
  • Demonstrated resourcefulness and eagerness to learn new things, engage in work and solve problems.


Practical Considerations

  • As we are currently a remote office due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this position is remote.
  • Annual salary is $60-65k, commensurate with experience, and you will be offered a generous benefits package and paid time off.
  • You must be eligible to work in the United States. We are unable to sponsor visas.


Start Date: ASAP


To apply, please submit the following items. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis through Wednesday, April 28th:

  • A cover letter explaining your interest in this role and why you would be a good fit for this position
  • Your resume/CV
  • Two writing samples
  • The names, affiliations, and contact information for two professional references.


About Data & Society

Data & Society focuses on the social and cultural issues arising from data-centric technological development. We seek to inform and develop frames for discussion of these complex issues both through our own research and through supporting the expansion of a nascent field of actors concerned about these topics. We want to be a resource, a catalyst, and a convener as new sectors recognize the complexity of the issues and the need for trade­-offs when they increase their reliance on data as a tool for management and decision-making.

We see the field as comprised of researchers, journalists, policymakers, technologists, industry leaders and workers, funders, advocates, and civil society actors. We are committed to helping this field engage substantively, and with an evidence base, in debates over implications arising from the increasing reliance on data at scale to automated decision-making across a range of sectors.

The work and well-being of Data & Society is strengthened by the diversity of our network and our differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and much more. We welcome applications from people of color, women, the LGBTQIA community, and persons with disabilities.

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