Director of Research, Data & Society

About the Director of Research 

The Director of Research (DoR) at Data & Society is a senior scholar with a commitment to empirical, multidisciplinary, and intersectional research to advance scholarship on the social and cultural implications of data-centric and automated technologies.  The DoR is a rotational role, designed for a tenured academic with an interest in leading Data & Society’s public scholarship. 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 collective organizational development.

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

  • Ensuring the rigor and quality of our research publications and review processes;
  • Directing external academic engagement and expanding our academic networks; 
  • 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 delights in helping amplify others' research and building intellectual connections. To help build the field, the DoR will expand their own public profile while at Data & Society.

The DoR is the senior academic leader for Data & Society’s research team, and directly manages a small Research Management department including senior editorial and program management staff. 

This is a rotational 2-3 year role at Data & Society, starting in the fall of 2022. 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).

The DoR will:


  • Ensure quality and rigor of Data & Society research outputs, overseeing our editorial and review process from ideation through to hand-off to Communications team;
  • Track and guide all research projects underway at Data & Society, supporting researchers in topic and research question selection and refinement to align with Data & Society 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;
  • 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;
  • With an eye to field building, build processes to enhance and sustain the network of researchers with whom we work in academia and beyond via rotational programs (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 2-5 independent contributor researchers working outside of programmatic structures;
  • 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; 
  • Share in fundraising and funder relations responsibilities with Executive Director, Development Manager, and Board of Directors as needed; 
  • 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 experience with 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.

Compensation and Details

Department: Research

FLSA Status: Exempt

FT/PT/Temp: FT 

Salary Range: $135K - 145K annual

Start: Fall 2022


Reporting relationships: 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

This is currently a remote position. Data & Society is based out of New York City, and will for the foreseeable future operate as a remote-first organization. Travel may be required for team meetings and events when Data & Society begins convening again.

As this is a rotational position, we expect the successful candidate to maintain a relationship with their home institution and, in some cases, retain some institutional responsibilities.  This will be agreed on a case-by-case basis.

To apply, please submit the following:

  • Cover letter explaining your interest in this role and why you would be the ideal candidate for this position; 
  • Your Curriculum Vitae;
  • Names, affiliations, and contact information for three professional references;

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis starting August 2. Please contact with any questions about the position; inquiries will not be held against your eligibility as a candidate.

About the Data & Society

Data & Society was founded to provide an empirical evidence base for understanding the vast changes wrought by data-centric technologies. We launched in 2014 with 12 fellows and a borrowed meeting room. Questions about the broad societal implications—the harms—of networked technologies were just starting to be visible through the hype cycles of technological advance. Now we are a team of 50, working on a diverse range of topics from the future of work to the social implications of AI in institutions. Cutting across all our work is a concern for just, equitable, and accountable governance of data-centric technologies.

All of our research and engagement is animated by a core idea. The challenges we face in ethically governing technology cannot be solved with technical fixes that leave structural social problems unaddressed. Instead, we must meet these challenges by relying on an evidence base that is informed by rigorous research, engaged with policy and practice, and arising from a broad and diverse network.

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