Date Posted:

November 25, 2022

Job Title:

Director of Research

Job Description:

RIPL is a non-profit tech for social impact organization founded in 2018. We help government solve some of society’s most pressing challenges using data and science. Our work has supported data-driven policy improvements in health care, education, social insurance, civic participation, workforce development, and criminal justice.

RIPL  supports policy and process improvements in health care, education, social insurance, civic participation, workforce and economic development, and criminal justice.  We use economics and behavioral science to design technology-based products that help government programs measurably increase impact for the people they serve while lowering cost of delivery. Examples include AI/chatbots which help low-income students prepare for and successfully enroll in college, and a recommendation engine that uses administrative data to better connect displaced workers with new skills and careers.

In the early days of COVID-19, we partnered with Rhode Island to build a cloud-based Pandemic Unemployment Assistance system in just 10 days, making Rhode Island the first state in the nation to pay CARES act benefits to workers and families in need, and helping over 70,000 RI workers receive their unemployment benefits. We are now expanding across the country to deliver effective ML/AI solutions to connect Americans with in-demand career and streamlined benefits.

We are a growing team working to measurably improve policy impact with objective research and scalable, sustainable technology in partnerships with a growing portfolio of state and local governments. If you are motivated to lead using the research tools of economics and behavioral science to improve policy through data-driven research, you may be an excellent fit for RIPL.

As the Director of Research at RIPL, you will own the organization’s research strategy and lead the research team to deliver impactful, real-world solutions to our government partners. You will:

    • Manage RIPL’s entire portfolio of research projects, from initial ideation and project brainstorming, through funding, execution, and publication.
    • Partner with RIPL’s Faculty Affiliates in economics to support “nudges” and data-and-research-driven applications to innovate and deliver effective public policy programs.
    • Advise policy leaders across the country on effectively using causal science to solve pressing policy challenges, serving as an ambassador for scientific rigor and its application to policy improvement.
    • Lead and mentor the RIPL research team to develop analytic structure around complex and often ambiguous policy problems, distill those ambiguous problems into specific, scientific questions, and test those questions using the best empirical techniques and administrative data to generate actionable insights for policy leaders and end users.
    • Lead the research function of RIPL to build out the research team’s working practices, strengthen the organization’s scientific portfolio, and deliver both groundbreaking academic research and streamlined, science-powered solutions to our government partners.
    • Work alongside the organization’s Chief Technology Officer, VP of Product, and leadership team to ensure RIPL projects and products are delivered at the highest quality for impact.

RIPL’s staff are located all over the country but stay connected with online chat, regular coffee hours and in-person time when travel is possible. As an organization we value quality over quantity, and believe our government partners deserve the best. We know that changing culture and systems takes hard work, and we’re committed to that work for the long term. To learn more about what we value, please see our leadership values.

The ideal candidate will have the following qualifications, experience, and skills:

    • PhD in economics, computer science (with significant economics experience), public policy, or other quantitative discipline.
    • At least 5 years of experience leading a team of economists, scientists, and/or engineers to develop high-quality scientific products against deadlines for real-world application in policy or business.
    • At least 5 years of experience managing technical projects across a cross-functional team with task management software (RIPL currently uses JIRA) and communicating strategy and project goals to non-technical stakeholders.
    • A strong desire and commitment to using science to improve lives, ability to learn and think creatively in partnership with a diverse team of scientists and policymakers to use data and science to solve complex social problems at speed and at scale.
    • Demonstrable research experience in reduced-form econometric analysis, for example, experience empirical studies of causal effects using panel data, difference-in-differences, regression discontinuity, or instrumental variables. Predictive modeling and causal machine learning algorithms is a plus. Designing and administering large-scale social science surveys is a plus.
    • Demonstrable experience communicating analysis precisely and accessibly through clear writing and data visualization.
    • Advanced coding ability in a scripting language such as Stata, R, and Python. Familiarity with SQL and relational databases and project and research management software is a plus. Additional skills and background in computing and computer science are a plus.
    • Ability to plan and execute an organization-wide vision for scientific strategy and growth.


    • Competitive salary.
    • Committed, mission-minded colleagues.
    • A supportive, remote-first work environment.
    • Subsidized health, dental, and vision Insurance.
    • 401k with employer match up to 6%.
    • 21 vacation days per year, with PTO accrual beginning immediately.
    • 40 hours of sick leave starting immediately.
    • Paid family leave.


To learn more, email a resume and cover letter to [email protected] with the job title in the subject line.

Research Improving People’s Lives is an equal opportunity employer.