California Policy Lab – Research Director

About the California Policy Lab

The California Policy Lab (CPL) creates data-driven insights for the public good. Our mission is to improve the lives of Californians by generating evidence that transforms public policy. We do this by forming lasting partnerships between government and California’s flagship public universities to harness the power of research and administrative data. We work on California’s most urgent problems, including homelessness, poverty, crime, and education inequality. We facilitate close working partnerships between policymakers and researchers at UC Berkeley and UCLA to help evaluate and improve public programs through rigorous empirical research and technical assistance.

In our first 18 months, CPL has established several important partnerships at the state level, including with the Franchise Tax Board, the Department of Social Services, the community college system, the Employment Development Department, and the Student Aid Commission. We also have several partnerships with local agencies in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sonoma, and Alameda counties, including research with police departments, public defenders, health departments, and homelessness agencies.

CPL has also developed a revolutionary new research infrastructure that removes barriers to doing applied policy research and unlocks the power of administrative data in the world’s fifth largest economy. We are changing the landscape of research — and more importantly, we are changing lives.

CPL operates as one Lab across two sites. Each site is led by an Executive Director, who is responsible for daily operations, and a Faculty Director, who provides strategic direction and also leads some Lab projects.

The Position

The California Policy Lab is recruiting for a Research Director to be based at UC Berkeley. This full-time position is open until filled, with an expected start date in fall or winter 2018.

The ideal candidate for this Research Director position is an accomplished researcher, well- established in her or his career, who has considerable experience supervising research teams and executing quantitative research projects using government administrative data.

The Research Director will join our growing team at a critical juncture in our development. We launched the Lab in January 2017 and now have 19 staff across our two sites. We envision growing the Lab even further, and this will be our first Research Director, so the chosen candidate will be an important addition to our leadership team. We expect to hire at least one other Research Director at our Los Angeles site in the near future.

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Research Director will play a formative role in the Lab’s development, in the execution of current research projects, and in the planning of future research directions. She or he will work as a principal investigator on many projects, and will co-lead other projects with CPL faculty affiliates. A large part of the Research Director’s role will be managing research staff in the execution of research projects. This includes scoping projects and designing research strategies, cultivating government partnerships and engaging with key personnel, supervising data analysis and reviewing code, writing and reviewing results, and disseminating findings at conferences and other events. As most of CPL’s work is supported by extramural funds, the Research Director will also help obtain grant funding and perform on existing grants and contracts. The Research Director will support other organizational priorities, as defined by the Executive Director. Periodic travel around the state and around the country, for partner meetings and conferences, will be required.

The successful candidate must demonstrate a commitment to policy-relevant research and should be excited by the possibilities of leveraging California’s administrative data for the purpose of improving lives. We seek a candidate with experience leading research in one of CPL’s issue areas: criminal justice, education, health, homelessness, labor, or the social safety net. Ideally, the candidate would have experience across more than one of these areas, as the Lab specializes in cross-sector projects that break down data silos.

We seek a Research Director who demonstrates vision, thought leadership, intellectual curiosity, and a level of research expertise that is required to lead this work. The candidate should have the agility required to shift from project management and analysis to translating and sharing findings, in order to foster a deeper understanding of the issues and influence public policy.

Key Responsibilities

  • Design, lead, and execute research projects to improve the lives of Californians.
  • Supervise a talented team of CPL research staff and graduate students. Provide methodological, content-related, and managerial assistance to direct reports.
  • Build, cultivate, and maintain relationships with our government agency partners, including engaging them when appropriate on our research findings.
  • Apply a perspective on research and policy that contributes to CPL’s overall vision and mission.
  • Ensure that CPL’s research is conducted according to specifications, on schedule, and within budget.
  • Identify and recruit top talent to CPL.
  • Write proposals, develop research designs, analyze data, prepare reports and articles, and translate results in various written, visual, and oral formats to diverse audiences.
  • Serve as a thought partner with the Executive and Faculty Directors to develop forward-thinking and cutting-edge research and policy proposals.
  • Serve as a public spokesperson regarding the work of CPL and engage in efforts to inform policymakers, key stakeholders, and the public.

Qualifications:

Basic Qualifications (required at time of application):

  • Doctorate or equivalent foreign degree

Additional Qualifications (required by start date):

  • Seven to ten years of post-graduate experience in a research environment, including a proven track record of quantitative research projects using administrative data.
  • A minimum of 3 years of experience in managing quantitative research projects.
  • Advanced econometric experience, including experience using and reviewing code in STATA or another statistical program (R, Python, SAS, SPSS, etc.).

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Doctorate or equivalent foreign degree with a focus in economics, public policy, education, criminology, public health, social welfare, statistics, computer science, sociology, political science, or another social science.
  • Substantial experience developing and leading research projects start to finish.
  • Significant leadership and management experience, including experience motivating and managing direct reports.
  • Demonstrated ability to cultivate and manage productive relationships with internal project staff, external research partners, funders, and other key stakeholders
  • Demonstrated experience in positions of increasing responsibility in research, data analysis, or policy.
  • A track record of compelling work including, but not limited to, published peer- reviewed research.
  • Experience working with large administrative datasets, and with data that require significant cleaning.
  • Experience managing and evaluating randomized controlled trials and research using quasi-experimental methods.
  • Knowledge of machine learning and data science methods.
  • Experience writing successful grant proposals.
  • Ability to work discreetly with sensitive and confidential data.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and communication skills, including exceptional writing skills.

This position is full-time and the anticipated start date is winter 2018. The salary range is competitive and will be commensurate with experience. UC Berkeley also offers an extensive benefits package; more detail can be found here: https://apo.berkeley.edu/resources/benefits-and-retirement.

To apply, please upload your most recently updated Curriculum Vitae (required), a cover letter (required), 3 writing samples (required) and contact information for 3 references (required) to: https://aprecruit.berkeley.edu/apply/JPF01764. Letters of reference are not required at this time. We will seek your permission before contacting your references.

Please address any inquiries to Christina McKay at christinamckay@berkeley.edu.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see: http://policy.ucop.edu/doc/4000376/NondiscrimAffirmAct.