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Senior Research Associate, Vera Louisiana

Vera Institute of Justice

Vera Institute of Justice

New Orleans, LA, USA
Posted on Saturday, November 4, 2023

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.

Who you are:

The Senior Research Associate (SRA) reports to the Vera Louisiana Associate Director of Research. The SRA performs data collection, cleaning, and analysis on a number of quantitative research projects in the Louisiana office. An SRA may lead a component of a large initiative or manage one or multiple research projects in their area of methodological or subject matter specialization, working collaboratively with interdisciplinary teams to see work through from planning, design, data collection, analysis, write up, and presentation to various audiences.

This role involves expertise in the team’s strategic priorities and provides quantitative support for the research elements of the strategic priorities. Senior research associates have spent significant time developing and growing as researchers before taking on this role.

In this role, researchers develop strong management and supervision skills aligned with Vera’s core values. They provide supervision, support, and mentorship to members of their team as well as advice, methodological guidance, and peer review to researchers working on other projects and initiatives.

Senior research associates collaborate with team members to advance the Vera Louisiana’s office goals, by actively engaging in team meetings and program activities, and support 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. They often contribute to developing research agendas, in collaboration with the office’s Associate Director of Research.

What you'll do:

Research design and review

  • Produce policy-relevant data analysis and research products that advance the initiatives of the Louisiana office. These products should be meaningful to policy goals and error-free.
  • Support the development of the team’s research agenda to meet policy goals.
  • Conduct peer-review of research design and analysis plans as well as code-review in an SQL or R environment.

Data collection, management, and analysis

  • Lead, train, and supervise others on data collection (with a focus on quantitative or mixed methods research)
  • Lead and develop discrete components of research initiatives and train and supervise others on accompanying analyses (emphasis on quantitative)
  • Help develop and maintain local data management structures and protocol.

Write up/presentation of research

  • Lead development, writing and/or editing of research publications and evidence-based messaging and products in support of project or initiative goals.
  • Present Vera’s research to external audiences, including academic and policy-focused conferences and professional meetings.


  • Work with Associate Director of Research to develop and present IRB applications and ensure that research is conducted to the highest ethical standards, may serve as “Principal Investigator” or “co-PI” on research projects requiring this designation.
  • Ensure research data are stored and managed in compliance with IRB protocols.


  • Support hiring and recruitment for research associates, analysts, assistants, and/or interns.
  • Supervise and mentor analysts, assistants, and/or interns as needed.

What qualifications are we looking for?


  • Generally, PhD and 2+ years of work experience, a Masters and 5+ years applied research, or equivalent applied experience over 7+ years. Senior Research Associates have strong research and emerging leadership skills, and commitment to race equity. They may have experience and insights from being personally impacted by criminal legal or immigration systems.


  • Experience creating, implementing, and maintaining data management structures for quantitative data sets.
  • Experience with skill sharing/teaching and mentoring junior researchers and/or non-researchers.
  • Experience with applied social research and/or participatory action research to shape public policy.
  • Experience with mixed methods research including qualitative methods and analysis.
  • Experience with criminal legal system research
  • Experience with GIS and/or other data visualizations

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities you'll bring:

  • Advanced skills in database manipulation and management
  • Advanced skills in querying data and producing descriptive statistics using either SQL and/or R
  • Advanced quantitative skills are preferred, including hands-on experience with administrative datasets and both predictive and causal analyses; ability to think creatively about how to use statistical methods to address pressing policy questions.
  • Strong interpersonal skills to communicate complex research ideas to lay audiences
  • Knowledge of critical race theory, intersectionality, & structural inequality
  • Strong teamwork and collaboration skills
  • Willingness to collaborate with non-researchers to design research projects that advance strategic priorities of the office.

Additional eligibility requirements:

  • Lived experience and/or demonstrated commitment to using research and analysis to address and undo racism and inequity in the criminal legal system.
  • Willingness to travel within Louisiana on occasion.

Technical knowledge we need you prepared to use:

  • SQL or R, MS Office Suite


Please note this role will report to our New Orleans, LA office. Vera employees adhere to a hybrid schedule and are in-office on an alternating schedule that generally amounts to 10 days per month.

Compensation and Benefits:

The compensation range for this position is $100,500 - $105,000. 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. To learn more about Vera’s benefits offerings, click here.

Applications may also be faxed to:

ATTN: People Resources / Senior Research Associate, Vera Louisiana
Vera Institute of Justice
34 35th St, Suite 4-2A, 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