Workplace Diversity
Research Assistant

Research Assistant

locationUnited States
PublishedPublished: 1/26/2024
Research / Development
Full Time


Research Assistant

Harvard Kennedy School


Job Summary

The Belfer Center seeks Research Assistants to support Graham Allison, the Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at the Harvard Kennedy School and Director of the Belfer Center’s Avoiding Great Power War Project, in conducting in-depth research on topics such as US foreign policy and strategy; China; Russia; defense and intelligence policy; global nuclear security and nonproliferation; international history; and a range of other major international security issues.  

Position Description

Candidates should be familiar with the research focus of at least one of the three Research Assistant positions the Belfer Center is seeking to hire for: (1) Applied History; (2) Asia-Pacific security and US defense policy; (3) Generalist: other fields noted above. Please indicate in your cover letter if you have a preference for which positions(s) you would like to be considered for. 

Research Assistants work closely with other members of a small research team and play a key role in:  

  • Conducting research on specific international security topics and producing in-depth analytic memos, eventually building deep expertise in their area(s) of responsibility.  
  • Contributing to internal and external publications such as research reports, op-eds, academic articles, and book chapters.  
  • Planning and conducting research for high-level events, including private working groups and large public events.  
  • Other related job duties, as required.  

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of, and interest in, current international security issues, research methods, and basic quantitative techniques. 

Additional Qualifications and Skills

  • Master’s degree in a relevant field is preferred, though we will consider candidates who have a bachelor’s degree with extraordinary academic or professional credentials.
  • 1+ year of related work experience preferred but not required; relevant coursework will count towards experience.
  • Exceptional writing skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with minimal supervision under tight deadlines.
  • Candidates with a background in economics, finance, and/or technology in addition to one or more of the above mentioned research areas, are encouraged to apply, but experience with these topics is not required.

Additional Information

All applicants must submit the following materials:
(1) Cover letter of 300 words or less
(2) Resume or CV
(3) Official or unofficial transcript
(4) Analytic writing sample of 20 pages or less
(5) Names and contact information for three references

Application Deadline
Material must be submitted no later than June 15, 2024, at 11:59pm Eastern.  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and early submissions are encouraged. 

This position is a fully benefits-eligible term appointment ending two years from date of hire, with possibility of renewal. 

Learn more about our work culture and see yourself at Harvard Kennedy School.

We regret that the Harvard Kennedy School does not provide visa sponsorship.
Harvard University requires pre-employment reference and background checks. 
Harvard University is committed to supporting a healthy, sustainable learning and working environment.

This is a hybrid position based on our campus in Cambridge, MA.  As a campus-based institution, we place a high value on the in-person experience, cross-team collaboration, and strong community building in order to create a vibrant campus for our students, faculty, staff, and research fellows. The position is required to work in-person on campus a minimum of three days per week during the academic year. Specific days and schedule will be determined between you and your manager.

The health of our workforce is a priority for Harvard University. With that in mind, we strongly encourage all employees to be up-to-date on CDC-recommended vaccines.

Salary Range: $48,176 - $75,250
Note: Starting salaries typically fall in the lower half of the salary range; however, they are ultimately determined by the scope of the position, the candidate's relevant experience, and internal equity. 

Work Format Details

This is a hybrid position that is based in Massachusetts. Additional details will be discussed during the interview process. All remote work must be performed within one of the Harvard Registered Payroll States, which currently includes Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Washington, and California (CA for exempt positions only). Certain visa types and funding sources may limit work location. Individuals must meet work location sponsorship requirements prior to employment.


We invite you to visit Harvard's Total Rewards website ( to learn more about our outstanding benefits package, which may include:

  • Paid Time Off: 3-4 weeks of accrued vacation time per year (3 weeks for support staff and 4 weeks for administrative/professional staff), 12 accrued sick days per year, 12.5 holidays plus a Winter Recess in December/January, 3 personal days per year (prorated based on date of hire), and up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents who are primary care givers.
  • Health and Welfare: Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision benefits, disability and life insurance programs, along with voluntary benefits. Most coverage begins as of your start date.
  • Work/Life and Wellness: Child and elder/adult care resources including on campus childcare centers, Employee Assistance Program, and wellness programs related to stress management, nutrition, meditation, and more.
  • Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with contributions from 5% to 15% of eligible compensation, based on age and earnings with full vesting after 3 years of service.
  • Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive program including $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and reduced tuition through other participating Harvard graduate schools.
  • Tuition Reimbursement: Program that provides 75% to 90% reimbursement up to $5,250 per calendar year for eligible courses taken at other accredited institutions.
  • Professional Development: Programs and classes at little or no cost, including through the Harvard Center for Workplace Development and LinkedIn Learning.
  • Commuting and Transportation: Various commuter options handled through the Parking Office, including discounted parking, half-priced public transportation passes and pre-tax transit passes, biking benefits, and more.
  • Harvard Facilities Access, Discounts and Perks: Access to Harvard athletic and fitness facilities, libraries, campus events, credit union, and more, as well as discounts to various types of services (legal, financial, etc.) and cultural and leisure activities throughout metro-Boston.

Job Function


Department Office Location

USA - MA - Cambridge

Job Code

403113 Research Assistant II Non-Lab

Work Format

Hybrid (partially on-site, partially remote)



Salary Grade



Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs


55 - Hvd Union Cler & Tech Workers

Time Status


Pre-Employment Screening

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Harvard Kennedy School’s Mission and Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism

At Harvard Kennedy School, fostering a diverse and inclusive community where everyone feels they belong is a matter of basic fairness consistent with our core values as an institution. It is also essential to our mission of improving public policy and leadership—because recruiting the best people and creating an environment where they can thrive make us better at what we do, because we learn more from people with different perspectives, and because we work in diverse groups and serve diverse societies.

Learn more about Harvard Kennedy School’s commitment to Diversity Equity, and Anti-Racism.

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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