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Senior Research Scholar of Black Children and Families
Child Trends in Bethesda, Maryland
Date Posted 03/08/2021
Employment Type Fulltime
Application Deadline Open until filled

This position presents an opportunity for someone with expertise in Black children and families to become a leader in an organization nationally known to impact policymakers and practitioners alike through our rigorous, applied research presented in clear and compelling communications. We are seeking a researcher focused on transformation to partner across the organization to promote the well-being of Black children and youth. We offer you not just a national platform, but a workplace that uses teamwork to concentrate your time on your strengths. We offer enormous flexibility and have consistently won great-place-to-work awards because we know that when you achieve your mission, we achieve ours.

We’re looking for a leader who understands this moment in our country’s racial reckoning and understands how to see and seize the opportunities this moment offers. This person should want to bring people together, but also to bring them—with urgency—toward change. Equity must be at the center of this leader’s approach.

If you don’t meet our criteria exactly but think you’d be great, please submit and tell us why in your cover letter.

Duties and Responsibilities

Research Scholars spend most time (about 60-70%) producing work to influence their key audiences, maintaining a high profile as thought leaders, and leading all aspects of research, evaluation, policy, or technical assistance projects from designing studies to overseeing execution, e.g., as a principal investigator or project director. Developing new ideas and leading proposals to fund that work takes about 20-30% of their time, and the remainder, about 10% is spent in high-priority organizational activities.

Typical Research Scholar duties and responsibilities include:

  • Develops a line of inquiry and work that seeks to apply the tools of research, analysis, evaluation or technical assistance to improve the lives of children and youth.
  • Produces products (briefs, white papers, data points, etc) that influence policymakers, practitioners, or target audiences.
  • Serves as a thought leader in the broader field, presenting research findings and insights to stakeholders, including testifying before legislative bodies, providing briefings and other assistance to policymakers and other public officials, and engaging with other thought leaders and influencers.
  • Works with our communications team to reach out to and respond to the media and other opportunities to bring research insights to a broader audience, to assess results of communications, and to modify approaches accordingly.
  • Serves as principal investigator or project director for one or more projects.
  • Manages or works with managers to oversee project management.
  • Fundraises to support the line of work and related staffing.
  • Leads teams to write proposals, conceptualizes work, and negotiates and drafts budgets.
  • Meets with clients regularly.
  • Serves as a mentor for research staff.
  • Supports Child Trends’ great-place-to-work environment.


Please note: This position description is written as requiring a highly experienced scholar; however, we are open to less experienced scholars who demonstrate they are on this trajectory and are willing to enter the organization at a level commensurate with their skills and experience.

  • 10+ years of success doing similar work (please provide examples with description of impact);
  • Demonstrated thought leadership within the field; individual must have made a significant contribution through her or his research to the field, policy, or program practices;
  • Demonstrated effective writing and scholarship;
  • Effective public speaker and presenter;
  • Demonstrated success fundraising for ideas and work;
  • Experience with and understanding of federal government contracting and foundation grants;
  • Expertise in designing evaluations and research studies;
  • Either an advanced degree (e.g., PhD, MPP, MPH, or MSW, in relevant field) or equivalent knowledge;
  • Proven skills at management of a research team or partnering with managers (consistent on-time, within budget work); and
  • Demonstrated communications achievements (e.g., notable research papers, effective white papers).

How to Apply:
Please follow the “apply” link to submit your application. When asked by the system to upload resume, please upload one document that includes your resume, cover letter, transcripts, a writing sample and contact information for three professional references. Materials must be combined into one document in order to be uploaded. If you have any difficulties with this process please email the requested materials to recruitment (at) and make sure to reference the position in the subject line. No phone calls please!

Child Trends, founded in 1979, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to improving the lives of children by conducting research and providing science-based information to improve the decisions, programs, and policies that affect children. With annual revenue of $23 million and 192 employees, our clients include federal, state and local government agencies, foundations, and service providers. Our headquarters is located in Bethesda, Maryland, with offices in Minneapolis and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In 2018, we were recognized as a Great Place to Work for Women, Best Workplace in Consulting & Professional Services and Best Small & Medium Workplace.

Child Trends is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. Protected veterans and individuals with disability encouraged to apply.

*Please mention to employers when applying for this job*
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