Workplace Diversity
Senior Research Associate

Senior Research Associate

locationUnited States
PublishedPublished: 12/8/2023
Research / Development
Full Time


Senior Research Associate

Harvard Kennedy School


Job Summary

The Senior Research Associate (Sr. RA) will work closely with a diverse team of scholars at The People Lab (TPL) who are passionate about conducting collaborative, applied, data-driven research on key priorities in government. Projects range from: how to recruit and retain a diverse workforce, how to reduce burnout in front line workers, and how to increase take-up of anti-poverty programs. The vast majority of studies involve a randomized controlled trial (RCT), and direct collaboration with government agencies and other stakeholders.

Position Description

Duties & Responsibilities (included but not limited to):

  • Serves as a primary point of contact for government partners.
  • Develops and implements project timelines and management plans.
  • Executes the design and implementation of rigorous research designs, including – but not limited to – randomized control trials (RCTs), survey experiments, and behavioral interventions.
  • Conducts statistical and econometric analysis using Stata or R on administrative data sets and/or other incoming data, including developing preliminary analysis plans, cleaning data correctly, conducting analysis in accordance with analysis plans, and presenting and visualizing the results in various formats (tables/graphs, etc).
  • Coordinates, conducts, and analyzes surveys, both online and in the field, and supports and executes design of surveys.
  • Carries out research administration tasks, including data use agreements, data safety requirements and IRB protocols.
  • Provides guidance to junior Research Assistants/Associates (RAs), where appropriate.
  • Assists with the code review process.
  • Supports authorship of academic papers, policy reports, grant reports, and other publications by conducting literature reviews, editing or drafting text, and preparing manuscripts for submission and publication.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in public policy, economics, statistics, or another closely related field.
  • 5+ years of relevant post-baccalaureate research experience.
  • Prior experience conducting applied research.


  • Graduate degree in public policy, economics, statistics, or another closely related field.
  • 3+ years of relevant post-baccalaureate research experience.
  • Prior experience conducting applied research.

Additional Qualifications and Skills

If you have some, but not all of the following, we encourage you to apply; we value employees with a willingness to learn:

  • Demonstrated experience meeting project timelines across multiple projects and communicating with internal and external stakeholders in a productive, professional, and timely manner.
  • Ability to work with streams of qualitative and quantitative data across multiple projects in a research setting.
  • Experience supporting client relationships and communicating with internal and external stakeholders in a professional and timely manner. 
  • Experience handling sensitive data securely preferred.
  • Experience supporting the design and implementation of randomized controlled trials and / or online surveys.
  • Demonstrated experience in quantitative data analysis, including cleaning new data sets and presenting data in various formats.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and communication skills, including exceptional writing skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail.
  • Ability to work both independently and as a team member.
  • Eagerness and ability to learn new skills quickly on the job.
  • Experience working in the public sector or on public sector challenges.

Additional Information

Your resume/CV should include your cumulative GPA in college and (if applicable) grad school. GPA will be one factor among many that will be taken into consideration.  In your cover letter, please be sure to include (a) why this position interests you, (b) when you might be available to start, and (c) names and contact information for at least three references. We will not contact references until later in the recruitment process, with your permission. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

This position is a fully benefits-eligible term appointment ending June 30, 2025, 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: $74,200 - $126,200
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.

About Us

About The People Lab

The People Lab, led by Professor Elizabeth Linos, aims to empower the public sector by producing cutting-edge research on the people of government and the communities they are called to serve. Using  evidence from public management and insights from behavioral science, we study, design, and test strategies that can solve urgent public sector challenges in three core areas:

(1)Strengthening the government workforce - how to recruit, retain and support diverse talent in the public sector that can effectively and equitably respond to the changing needs of residents.

(2)Improving resident-government interactions - how to reduce barriers to equitable access to government services, mitigate the burdens that residents face when they interact with their government, and increase trust and satisfaction through such interactions.

(3)Reimagining the production and use of evidence- how to better include historically excluded voices in the design, implementation and evaluation of government innovations, and support the equitable adoption of best practice at scale.

The majority of our projects are co-designed with public sector partner agencies in order to ensure feasibility in the short-term and scalability in the long-term.  Find out more on our website (

About the Bloomberg Center for Cities at Harvard University

The People Lab is housed at the Bloomberg Center for Cities at Harvard University. Founded in 2021 with Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bloomberg Center for Cities at Harvard University is a fast-growing global community committed to improving public management, leadership, and governance. The center’s unprecedented cross-Harvard collaboration unites expertise focused on cities across disciplines and schools to produce research, train leaders, and develop resources for global use.


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

RS0057 Researcher III Humanities

Work Format

Hybrid (partially on-site, partially remote)



Salary Grade



Bloomberg Center for Cities

Annual Salary Range

$74,200 - $126,200


00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Time Status


Appointment End Date


Pre-Employment Screening

Education, Identity

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

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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