Director of Research
Vera Institute of Justice
New York, New York
The Vera Institute of Justice, a nonprofit organization founded in 1961, is dedicated to improving the services and processes the public relies on for safety and justice. Widely recognized for the central role research has played in the Institute’s work since its inception, Vera conducts research and evaluation of key systemic and emerging justice issues as well as current policy and programmatic responses to those problems. High quality, timely research is important to the Institute’s mission to develop, operate and study affordable programs and policies and to communicate that knowledge to constituents positioned to use it effectively. Located in the Woolworth Building across from City Hall in Manhattan, and with New York City as its research and programmatic base, the Institute also works extensively at the national and international level, providing assistance to local, state, federal, and international public officials and to policy, community and nonprofit leaders to advance justice and safety. In the next three to five years, Vera’s work will emphasize sentencing and corrections, youth justice, immigrants and the justice system, child welfare and domestic violence.
Director of Research: The Vera Institute seeks an experienced, senior researcher to serve as its Director of Research. This position reports directly to the Director of the Institute. The Research Director develops the Institute’s research program; oversees its research portfolio and the development of research funding applications; deploys, manages and supervises all research staff, and is responsible for overseeing all research designs and products. The Research Director position is supported by a full-time Administrative Director.
Some research staff in the Institute are located in subject matter centers, conducting research in close collaboration with experienced Vera planning, technical assistance and program staff on specific projects, and developing new initiatives in these substantive areas. Research staff also work outside subject matter centers on research and development in other areas of interest, including, for example, substance abuse and mental health. Overall coordination of Vera’s research with the programmatic work of the Institute is the responsibility of the Research Director and the Institute’s Chief Program Officer who also reports to the Vera Director.
Qualifications: Candidates are required to have a PhD in a relevant field of research, substantive expertise in several areas in which the Institute is working, and familiarity with justice and criminal justice issues generally. This expertise should be reflected in a candidate’s record of scholarship and publications in peer-reviewed journals. Equally as important, a candidate’s background should exhibit an enthusiasm for intellectual exchange with practitioners, public officials, and policy planners seeking practical reforms as well as with other scholars and researchers. Candidates should be able to maintain a non-partisan and effective collaboration with public officials, community groups, funders, and government officials.
Candidates should have demonstrated skills leading, developing, and managing social science research; an ability to sustain a diverse and respectful work environment; experience managing research and organizational budgets, and a record of successful competition for and fulfillment of government and philanthropic research grants and contracts. Excellent oral and written communication skills are important as is an ability to adapt scientific materials for policy and general audiences.
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