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Associate Director of Research

Vera Institute of Justice

Vera Institute of Justice

Los Angeles, CA, USA · Washington, DC, USA
Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2022

Who we are:

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is a nonprofit criminal justice organization that strives to build just government institutions and safe communities free from the scourge of racism, white supremacy, profit, and inequity that is pervasive in this country’s legal systems. We are an “inside” lane organization that drives change at scale with ambitious public sector leaders who share our commitment to building anti-racist, reparative systems that deliver justice. We leverage our access to government to transform these systems and work collaboratively with stakeholders across many movements—including advocacy, grassroots, and grasstop organizations. Our role is to pilot solutions that are transformative and achievable, harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice, and use advocacy and communications to change narratives and norms.

Vera has a staff of 300 people and offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. We are an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace. We expect our staff to embody respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, anti-racism, and equity—both in our outward-facing work and the internal culture of our workplace. We value a range of experiences in people’s educational backgrounds and encourage people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to apply.

About the jails team:

Vera's jails team works at the intersection of community and government to end the United States' dependence on local jails. The money bail system and broader criminalization of poverty have fueled mass incarceration and deprived communities of the resources they need to thrive. We work at the state and local level to decrease jail incarceration and the racially disparate impact of the criminal legal system and secure investment in community-based services, responses and resources. The jails team seeks an Associate Director of Research to serve as part of the initiative’s leadership team and manage all aspects of our robust research and data analytics agenda.

Who you are:

The ADR works in close partnership with other associate directors and the initiative director to support the initiative’s overall success. They are the most senior research lead on the team, reporting to the jails initiative director with a “dotted line” to the organization’s research director. They are also part of the institute’s research leadership team, working closely with research leadership and other associate directors of research across the organization to make connections between different bodies of work, develop policies and implement initiatives to ensure the quality of Vera’s research, advising and supporting researchers across the institute.

The ADR is responsible for the management, staffing, and performance of an interdisciplinary research team, developing and overseeing strategies that draw upon the range of research expertise and capacity that exists within Vera’s multi-disciplinary research department. The ADR oversees staff working across a range of methodologies and multiple projects or studies, engaging in sophisticated hands-on research as needed, and manages the team’s entire research portfolio. ADRs should have fluency in advocacy and communications strategies and draw on their substantial expertise in the field to oversee evidence-based messaging and policy in support of big goals. They are responsible for all research designs, publications, IRB plans, and other deliverables produced by their teams. They serve as principal investigators as needed.

Associate directors of research lead efforts to ensure Vera’s race equity and inclusion priorities are a core aspect of Vera’s research, including in methodological approaches, publications, hiring and staffing, and external and internal research communications.

ADRs are generally recognized externally as subject matter experts, with substantial management experience, advanced methodological skills, strong research communication skills, and experience building and leading a research team.

This is a senior-level position for experienced researchers with extensive technical expertise and substantive knowledge and experience.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Research leadership

Develop and lead initiative research strategies and budgets

  • Develop, manage, and oversee all aspects of research within initiatives, coordinating with the research and initiative director
  • Represent research on initiative leadership teams
    • Work with other members of initiative leadership teams to develop strategies that incorporate research, participating in theory of change planning, MEL, and other activities related to the impact pipeline)
    • Work with other initiative leadership in support of annual planning and budget development, staffing plans, and fundraising
  • Serve as a member of the Vera Research Leadership Team, providing mentorship and support across the department and aligning research supports and culture with Vera’s values
  • Supervise, support and mentor initiative research teams
    • Partner with initiative director and the research leadership team to develop staffing plans and lead recruitment and hiring
  • Cultivate relationships with partner organizations
  • Work with initiative leadership to support overall and targeted fundraising


  • Build research and/or data science teams, including hiring and recruiting through the principal associate level, coordinating with other members of the research leadership team to ensure internal consistency and collaboration
  • Supervise all research work on an initiative or project team

Presentation / publication of research

  • Sign off on evidence-based messaging and research within the initiative or project, and oversee development, writing, and editing of research publications and evidence-based messaging and products in support of project or initiative goals, including rapid response work Act as an internal and external spokesperson/ representative of the work to a range of audiences


  • Review IRB applications; develop and present IRB applications and ensure that research is conducted to the highest ethical standards, serving as Principal Investigator on research projects
  • Mentor early career researchers in human subjects /IRB protocols

Data collection and analysis

  • Lead/train/supervise others on data collection and analysis, overseeing all aspects of data management and analysis within an initiative or program

Internal collaboration and support

  • Partner with advocacy and communications staff to develop coordinated strategies that leverage research
  • Work as part of the research leadership team to ensure that researchers across the organization receive appropriate support

What qualifications do you need?

Education and Experience:


  • ADRs are generally subject matter experts, with substantial management experience, advanced methodological skills, strong research communication skills, and experience building and leading a research team.
  • Advanced data analytical and project management skills, and an extensive track record using research or data science approaches as a tool for applied justice reform.

List of Required Software Applications:

  • will vary depending on methodology and initiative

Compensation and Benefits:

The compensation range for this position is $125,000– $130,000. Actual salaries will vary depending on factors including but not limited to experience and performance. The salary range listed is just one component of Vera Institute’s total compensation package for employees. As an employer of choice in our field, supporting Vera staff—both personally and professionally—is a priority. To do this, we invest in the well-being of our staff through other rewards including merit pay, generous paid time off, a comprehensive health insurance plan, student loan repayment benefits, professional development training opportunities and up to $2,000 annual for education costs and fees relevant to Vera work, employer-funded retirement plan, and flexible time and remote work schedules. Please note this is a hybrid schedule where you will work in the office two days with a third alternating day. To learn more about Vera’s benefits offerings, click here.

Applications may also be faxed to:

ATTN: People Resources / Associate Director of Research, Jails
Vera Institute of Justice
34 35th St, Suite 4-2-A, Brooklyn, NY 11232
Fax: (212) 941-9407
Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.
No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.

In order to ensure a healthy and safe work environment, Vera Institute of Justice is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccine before their start date. Employees who cannot receive the vaccine because of a disability/medical contraindication or sincerely-held religious belief may request an accommodation (e.g., an exemption) to this requirement.

Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status, or caregiver status.

Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.

For more information about Vera, please visit www.vera.org