Senior Researcher



The Charter Cities Institute is a rapidly-growing nonprofit research organization that is empowering new cities with better governance to lift tens of millions of people out of poverty. We are a cutting-edge, well-funded organization, composed of researchers, communicators, international developers, partnership experts and more, all dedicated to building the ecosystem for charter cities. We are hiring a Senior Researcher to work with our growing Research Team under the Head of Research, conceiving of, researching, writing, and communicating how charter cities can help solve many of the most pressing global development challenges of the 21st century.

Our mission is to build the ecosystem for charter cities by: creating legal, regulatory, and planning frameworks; advising and convening key stakeholders including governments, new city developers, and multilateral institutions; and influencing the global agenda through research, engagement, and partnerships. We have exciting projects across the globe, with more coming online regularly.

The Charter Cities Institute is a small team, so the Senior Researcher will need to be comfortable working on larger, flagship research projects as well as smaller, more ad hoc research outputs (e.g., blog posts, podcasts, policy briefs, YouTube videos, etc). The ideal candidate should have experience in an international development organization, multilateral, or development-adjacent think tank working both with high-level research and on-the-ground project execution.


  • Research: The Senior Researcher will be responsible for formulating, researching, and drafting well-written research papers, policy briefs, reports, handbooks, and other written outputs. The aim of these pieces is to demonstrate the promise of charter cities as a policy solution to some of the world’s most intractable issues (e.g., migration/refugee crises, urbanization, poor governance, poverty, informality, climate change, environmental degradation, gender inequality, and others). The Senior Researcher will also be encouraged to leverage their network in the international development community to engage in co-authored works and cross-promotional research activities with other development research teams/individuals.
  • Project Management: The Senior Researcher will be given substantial autonomy in directing and owning the research projects he or she works on from conception through to (and including) dissemination. This will include overseeing other researchers, research assistants, and interns assigned to individual projects, and ensuring the final research output is delivered in a timely, efficient, and maximally impactful manner.
  • Research Dissemination: Work with the Head of Research, Head of Communications, and Executive Director to pinpoint optimal distribution channels for each research output in order to maximize dissemination, audience reach, and overall impact (e.g., particular media outlets, think tank policy briefs, events, book volumes, scholarly journals, podcasts, YouTube videos, conferences, etc.).
  • Events: The Senior Researcher will work with the executive team to help plan and execute events. In particular, the Senior Researcher will help organize events (or panels within larger events) that involve research- and policy-oriented participants, especially from international development organizations and multilaterals. These events or panels will aim to highlight charter cities as a promising development policy tool. 
  • Represent: The Senior Researcher will represent CCI at various events, strive to participate in speaking opportunities, and other ways to boost the brand and impact of CCI.


  • PhD preferred, in economics, political science, international development, or other relevant social science. In particular, candidates with a background in urban economics examining cities of the Global South are especially encouraged to apply.
  • 7+ years experience in a research role.
  • Extensive experience in international development (ideally at a policy-oriented multilateral).
  • Experience managing research projects and teams.  


  • The ideal candidate will have advanced writing skills, including not only experience producing well-written research papers, but also experience simplifying and translating complicated subjects into clear and concise language easily digestible by policymakers and wider lay audiences.
  • The ideal candidate will have experience in quantitative research, in particular the candidate will be proficient in econometric analyses using common statistical software packages like R, Stata, and/or Python.
  • The ideal candidate will be entrepreneurial. They will see processes and other areas that can be improved and take initiative to make those improvements.
  • The ideal candidate will have a set of relationships that can be leveraged for co-authorship, events, and other collaborations to increase the reach of ideas about charter cities.
  • The ideal candidate will be able to communicate effectively, including representing CCI at events, conferences, workshops, and policy dialogues and presenting research findings.
  • The ideal candidate has a high level of attention to detail, as CCI’s research projects often involve many moving pieces and stakeholders.
  • The ideal candidate is intellectually curious and has a passion for charter cities.


The Charter Cities Institute greatly values our office culture. We recently moved into beautiful new offices in the heart of the District. We're a small team, so we frequently socialize as well, with regular (but optional) lunches, after-work outings, and weekend activities.  Our staff is intellectually curious and enjoys exploring a wide variety of topics, so candidates should feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work.


This is a full time position, based in our Washington DC office. The Charter Cities Institute offers generous benefits, including health & dental insurance, education reimbursement, unlimited vacation days, book reimbursement, a 401k plan, and more. Salary is negotiable and based on experience. 

Please apply within or send a cover letter, resume and writing sample (all in PDF) to with a subject line indicating the position you’re applying for. Thank you, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Applications for this role have closed.
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