Director of Research

June 2022

 

Summary

Data & Society is an independent nonprofit research organization, studying the social implications of data-centric technologies and automation. We recognize that the same innovative technologies that may benefit society can also be abused to invade privacy, provide new tools of discrimination, foreclose opportunity and harm individuals and communities. Through original research and inclusive engagement, we work to ensure that empirical evidence and respect for human dignity guide how technology is developed and governed.

 

About the Director of Research 

The Director of Research at Data & Society is an exciting leadership role in a leading public-interest research institute working at the cusp of new scholarship on urgent societal issues.

The Director of Research (DoR) is a senior scholar with a commitment to empirical, multidisciplinary, and intersectional research. They lead our in-house team of researchers, post-docs, and faculty fellows to advance scholarship on the social and cultural implications of data-centric and automated technologies. The DoR position is designed for a tenured academic with the ability to step away for a 3 year-cycle from their home institution. They will bring their own disciplinary and topical expertise to the team while developing and supporting research across a range of themes, disciplines, methods, epistemic frames, and topics. The DoR is both an accomplished scholar in their own right, a dedicated academic mentor, and an administrator capable of, and committed to leading a research enterprise consistent with Data & Society’s commitment to equity and organizational health. The DoR is encouraged to maintain their own research interests and engage with their existing academic communities while at Data & Society.

The DoR at Data & Society holds five core areas of responsibility: 

  • Developing new research initiatives and seeding interest in them across the organization and the broader D&S network; 
  • Ensuring the rigor and quality of our research publications and review processes; 
  • Directing external academic engagement and expanding our academic networks and serving as a public spokesperson for research in the organization; 
  • Leading an inclusive organizational culture of research, inquiry, and mentorship, including oversight of research team member recruitment and hiring; 
  • Contributing to organizational governance as a member of the Senior Leadership Team including participation in DEI initiatives, strategic planning, organizational budgeting, fundraising and development, and board engagement

 

The DoR’s responsibilities include: 

Research 

  • Ensure quality and rigor of Data & Society research outputs, overseeing our editorial and review process from ideation through to hand-off to the Communications team;
  • Guide all research projects underway at Data & Society, supporting researchers in topic and research question selection and refinement to align with Data & Society’s organizational goals and each researcher’s interests and skills;
  • Continue to deepen our organizational commitment to equity by taking an intersectional approach to sociotechnical research, lifting up research questions and approaches that integrate critical race studies, feminism, disability studies, and other lines of inquiry that challenge hegemonic frames; 
  • Support and guide research team members on research design, methodology, and project scoping, and editorial positioning through to final draft;
  • Bring deep expertise with research methods, familiarity with interpretivist epistemologies and standard methods is a must; mixed methods and creativity in methods is a plus;
  • Connect research team members with other scholars to strategically advise, guide, and provide critical feedback to emergent research;
  • Maintain an active profile as a researcher and public scholar.

 

Academic & Institutional Engagement 

  • Act as Data & Society’s academic “engagement lead”, becoming a key point of contact and interlocutor between D&S researchers and research, academics embedded in diverse academic networks;
  • Facilitate Data & Society’s field-building activities, making sustainable connections between Data & Society’s researchers, research outputs, and key researchers and academic leaders at research institutions;
  • Build processes to enhance and sustain the network of researchers with whom we work in academia and beyond via rotational programs (scholars’ council, visiting scholars, faculty fellows, etc), academic workshops, commissioned research, and other means;
  • With support from other D&S teams and resources, ensure that researchers are able to represent their work in multiple venues and to multiple audiences;
  • When necessary, assist other D&S staff to represent Data & Society’s research products to media, funders, civil society, industry, and government.

 

Research Culture 

  • Serve as the senior academic leader of our in-house research team of approximately 25 people, including program directors, researchers, post-doctoral scholars, and faculty fellows; 
  • Guide the research team culture to support a rigorous, creative, and inclusive intellectual environment that fosters frame-breaking research findings;  
  • Mentor all D&S researchers, both directly and indirectly by developing mentorship processes, norms, and structures that leverage the broader Data & Society network;
  • Manage the Research Management team, ensuring smooth functioning of the editorial and publishing pipeline process, and program management support to researchers and program directors in their project work.

 

Organizational Governance and Leadership  

  • Serve on the Senior Leadership Team at Data & Society, actively participating in organizational decision-making and advising the Executive Director and Board of Directors on key research topics and directions; 
  • Ensure information flow between the research team, the Senior Leadership Team, and other parts of the organization to maximize organizational collaboration and coordination;
  • Participate in annual goal-setting and strategic planning for the organization, providing ambitious visioning of research topics and goals for Data & Society’s future; 
  • Contribute to individual research programs goal-setting and strategic planning alongside Program Directors and Managing Director; 
  • Participate in annual organizational and team budgeting; 
  • Participate in research-focused fundraising efforts with support from the Executive Director and the development team; 
  • Contribute senior institutional expertise to all aspects of organizational governance, working closely with the Senior Leadership Team and Board of Directors.

 

Minimum Qualifications

  • PhD in the social sciences or related field and direct experience with empirical, qualitative, sociotechnical research; 
  • 10+ years academic or research work experience post-PhD;
  • Extensive academic and public-facing publication history;
  • Extensive professional experience in university or institute research environments;
  • Experience in research team building, mentorship, and management; 
  • Public profile and ability to connect with non-academic audiences via writing and speaking;
  • Expertise in the social and cultural implications of data-centric and automated technologies;
  • Strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated experience managing down, laterally, and up for successful outcomes;
  • Comfort with a fast-paced work environment.

 

Additional Qualifications

  • Deep understanding of the public and closed-door debates occurring in media, government, the technology industry, and civil society around the issues raised by data-centric and automated technologies, and a clear set of ideas of the ways in which research can influence and shape those decision-making venues.

 

The Director of Research reports directly to the Executive Director and will manage the Research Management team of three staff, part-time faculty fellows, and, in some cases, post-doctoral scholars. The Director of Research also acts as the non-managerial team lead for Data & Society’s researchers.

Practical Considerations

  1. This is currently a full-time, remote position in the Research department with an expected start date in Fall 2023. This role is offered as a renewable three-year term with a one-year probationary period. 
  2. We expect the DoR to take leave from their home institution during their time at D&S, although they may retain some responsibilities (e.g., supervision of graduate students). This position is open to someone seeking to indefinitely or permanently transition out of academia. 
  3. Data & Society is based out of New York City, and will for the foreseeable future operate as a remote-first organization. The DoR must be available during standard EST working hours.
  4. While Data & Society is a remote-first organization, there may be some opportunities for travel within the United States to team meetings and other in-person events. Travel is not required, but all employees who elect to travel will be required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. 
  5. You will be offered a negotiable salary between $140-160K, plus a generous benefits package including paid time off, paid federal holidays, health, dental, and vision insurance, and access to a range of opt-in products and services including additional insurance and 401k management. 
  6. You must be eligible to work in the United States; we are unable to sponsor visas.

To apply, please submit the following items: 

  1. A cover letter explaining your interest in this role  and why you would be the ideal candidate for this position.
  2. Your resume/CV.
  3. Names, affiliations, and contact information for three professional references. 

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis starting August 1, 2022. Please contact jobs@datasociety.net with any questions about the position; inquiries will not be held against your eligibility as a candidate.



NOTE: Data & Society is committed to employee safety and is continuously monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the current circumstances, we are requiring employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate in business travel and will be required to submit a consent form in order to conduct business travel. Data & Society will continue to monitor the situation and update our travel policy and guidance as necessary.

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