Posted: Jun 5, 2024

Senior Research Associate

Application Deadline: N/A

The Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center aims to be the go-to resource for actionable evidence for state policy leaders as they develop and implement the most effective policies that ensure children get off to a strong start and thrive. Through original and rigorous research and analysis, the Research and Evaluation team at the Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center builds the evidence base of the most effective policies and strategies for young children and their families, with a focus on implementation factors and equity. We seek an energetic and experienced person to provide oversight and support for multiple policy-focused research studies and evaluations to build the evidence base for effective prenatal-to-3 policies.  

General Notes: 

This position reports functionally and administratively to the Research Director. Applicants from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. We are committed to building an inclusive and diverse environment to continue to build a strong and equitable prenatal-to-3 system of care. This position can be performed remotely, and hybrid remote-work opportunities are available.  


Duties and Responsibilities

The primary responsibilities of the position include: 

Project management and leadership: 

  • Take a leadership role in developing project plans and timelines for successfully completing research projects and ensuring project deliverables are completed on time, through an equity lens, and to the highest quality possible 
  • Monitor and supervise research students to effectively contribute to projects 
  • Assist in the professional development of research staff and students 
  • Routinely document project goals, deliverables, and timelines  
  • Demonstrate ownership of project timelines, analysis, and all work products  
  • Communicate and work collaboratively with other staff to ensure organizational goals are met 
  • Contribute to developing and improving processes and procedures  

Research, analysis, writing, and client/stakeholder engagement:  

  • Demonstrate expertise in a research area and contribute to the theoretical direction of related research projects 
  • Contribute substantially to study design and development of evaluation plans 
  • Develop survey and focus group instruments; provide technical guidance and support to research staff on focus group and survey instrument development 
  • Develop, manage, and provide oversight on survey and focus group data collection processes 
  • Demonstrate an understanding of sophisticated analytic methods (e.g. multiple regressions, dealing with missing data, significance testing, etc.); provide technical assistance and support to other research staff on analytic methods 
  • Demonstrate excellence and clarity in writing project reports, research papers, policy briefs, and memos with guidance and feedback from supervisor 
  • Prepare presentations for clients that you or supervisor will deliver, with limited feedback and guidance 


Supervisory Relationships: 

This position supervises students and does not have staff supervisory responsibility.  


Writing Exercise Requirement: 

As part of the selection process, competitive candidates will be asked to complete a 2-hour writing exercise. This test will assess your ability to think critically and write clearly and concisely about statistics and policy issues relevant to our work. To complete the exercise, candidates will need access to a computer with word processing software and the Internet. 



Required/Essential qualifications: 

  • Master’s degree with major coursework in the field of assignment, plus at least three years of related experience is required; Additional related experience may substitute for required education Expertise in program evaluation, policy research, research management, analytic methods used for evaluation, and/or writing products for diverse policy audiences 
  • Excellent project management and organizational skills, strong critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, tenacity about details and organization 
  • Excellent communication skills, including the ability to synthesize complex concepts clearly and concisely 
  • Able to come up to speed on new topics quickly, multi-task effectively, and produce high-quality work under time constraints; flexible and able to adapt to changing timelines and circumstances when needed 
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills and an ability to work collaboratively and effectively with others in a team environment 
  • Demonstrated understanding and support for key concepts in diversity, equity, and inclusion 
  • Demonstrated commitment to valuing diversity and contributing to an inclusive working and learning environment 


  • Work experience in public policy, such as with state legislatures or advocacy organizations  
  • Work experience conducting research on topics related to the PN-3 period  
  • Proficiency in Excel, Stata, and Qualtrics 
  • Spanish language fluency 
  • Four years of experience 


 Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion 

At Vanderbilt University, we are intentional about and assume accountability for fostering advancement and respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion for all students, faculty, and staff. Our commitment to diversity makes us who we are.  We have created a community that celebrates differences and lets individuality thrive. As part of this commitment, we actively value diversity in our workplace and learning environments as we seek to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of everyone. The diverse voices of Vanderbilt represent an invaluable resource for the University in its efforts to fulfill its mission and strive to be an example of excellence in higher education.  

Vanderbilt University 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, or status as a protected veteran, or any other characteristic protected by law.  

Please note, all candidates selected for an offer of employment are subject to pre-employment background checks, which may include but are not limited to, based on the role for which they have been selected: criminal history, education verification, social media review, motor vehicle records, credit history, and professional license verification.