The Urban Institute
Principal Policy Associate – Inclusive Urban Growth (Research to Action Lab) (R&D)
At the nonprofit Urban Institute, we believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities. Our employees are empowered to influence policy, open minds, shape decisions and offer solutions. We encourage intellectual honesty, innovation, diversity, and mutual respect, and our analysis elevates the debate, wherever it takes place.
Urban's greatest asset is our people. We strive to attract and cultivate a vibrant, creative, and diverse community. Our employees drive Urban's mission through entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership, effective communication, results-orientation, and relationship cultivation. Our success depends on engaging individuals who possess and value these attributes. Public policies work best when they are rooted in facts, and our research sparks solutions in programs and practice. Our analyses and recommendations help expand opportunities for all people, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the fiscal health and effectiveness of government.
The Research to Action Lab serves decision-makers in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors eager to advance social change. Our multidisciplinary team draws on the breadth and depth of Urban's economic and social policy expertise to design research-driven strategies, deliver tailored technical assistance and training, and curate effective convenings that infuse critical debates with evidence. Nimble and innovative, the Lab engages directly with policymakers and practitioners, providing strategic guidance to help navigate the most pressing policy and programmatic challenges and spark disruptive solutions tailored to meet the moment. Our team also works collaboratively with Urban scholars and external partners to design and manage evidence-based programs that leverage Urban's expertise and capacities to catalyze meaningful change for people and communities.
How you'll contribute:
The Research to Action Lab seeks an experienced, dynamic, and highly motivated urban policy expert to lead Urban's work on inclusive growth and equitable recovery in U.S. cities. This will include designing and implementing new approaches to place-based advising that delivers data, research, and evidence-based insights to support cross-sector collaboration and local policies to advance racial equity and shared prosperity. The Principal Policy Associate will also partner with scholars from across the Urban Institute to design research and data analysis that supports inclusive growth and equitable recovery in cities, and they will help translate findings from research to support decision-making by local leaders. They will be responsible for synthesizing and elevating lessons from local engagements for national audiences, including federal policymakers. The Principal Policy Associate will also design, develop, and launch new Urban projects that advance evidence-based policy and practice related to inclusive growth and equitable recovery in cities.
Provide strategic, intellectual, and entrepreneurial leadership for Urban's work on inclusive growth and equitable recovery in cities, including applying data and evidence to support local decision-making and strengthening federal-local relationships.
Advise local civil-society and public-sector leaders on evidence-based and data-driven strategies to support racial equity and shared prosperity in cities.
Engage Urban researchers and leverage expertise and ongoing work across Urban that can inform and support place-based advising strategies.
Develop and maintain responsive and productive relationships with the existing project funders, as well as engage other potential funders.
Conceptualize new programs of work, identify funding opportunities, and fundraise to launch new programs of work.
Establish and maintain strong collaborative relationships with a diverse set of key external contacts and networks to ensure Urban's work on inclusive growth and equitable recovery in cities is responsive to the field and the needs of policymakers at all levels of government.
Contribute management and subject matter expertise to various bodies of work in the Research to Action Lab that supports knowledge building and advance evidence-based policy and practice.
Develop products such as policy briefs, blogs, features, and research analyses related to project work.
Be a mentor and manage policy and research staff, supporting growth and development of team members and advancement of junior staff along Urban's career pathways.
What you'll bring:
Graduate degree (MA, MPP, PhD) in Urban Studies, Public Policy, Public Administration, Political Science, Economics, Sociology or a related social science field, or the academic knowledge of and experience in a discipline that is generally associated with the attainment of a Master's degree.
Possess senior management experience with 10 to 15 years of employment in research, nonprofit or public institutions, including designing and managing programs, supervising staff, mobilizing resources, and fostering cross-sector collaboration.
Established expertise in one or more policy areas related to inclusive growth and equitable recovery in cities, as demonstrated by a track record of research contributions, policy impact, and/or leadership in government, practice, or philanthropy.
Strong understanding of the interdependence of urban issues and the evidence and policies that are needed to advance inclusive growth and equitable recovery in cities
The ability to engage with and foster evidence-based conversations and collaborations among local stakeholders that may have conflicting priorities.
Have experience cultivating and stewarding funding partnerships, including connections with established leaders in philanthropy, government, or the business sector, and an ability to conceptualize new bodies of work.
Comfort and sophistication in applying a race and equity lens to research and policy questions, analyses, and recommendations.
Desired candidates need not be a researcher but should have an ability to meaningfully engage with highly technical research and create connections between it and other relevant research, social and economic trends, and policymaking.
Proven management skills including experience coordinating or staffing high-level advisory groups and interdisciplinary teams.
Experience coaching staff and teams to desired outcomes.
Outstanding oral and written communications skills, including the ability to distill complex policy issues and research evidence and produce clear, concise, and compelling guidance for diverse audiences.
Experience with strategic communications, including outreach to media and target audiences in the public, business, and nonprofit sectors.
A collaborative and can-do attitude that will push the project forward, maintain interest and excitement among staff and partners, and capacity to serve as a motivating force for ambitious and complex initiatives.
A commitment to and experience with principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion both in policy development and at interpersonal levels.
What you'll experience:
Working in the Nation's Capital, the epicenter of public policy among a network of policy experts, you can expect to have an impact on policy areas you care about and work with great colleagues who are smart, mission-driven, and collaborative. You will blend academic rigor with on-the-ground collaboration, be encouraged and supported to fulfill your potential through meaningful work that matters and, enjoy a welcoming workplace free from harassment, discrimination and intolerance.
In addition, we offer a comprehensive benefits package that includes: medical, dental, disability, and life insurance coverage. Competitive paid time off allowance, and eligibility to participate in a generous retirement savings plan plus elect a pretax benefit for commuting expenses.
The Urban Institute is committed to Equal Employment Opportunity without regard for race, ethnicity, gender, protected veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other protected status under applicable law.
The Urban Institute is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer Minorities/Women/Disabilities/Veterans.