Research Assistant

The Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University
  • Location
    Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Sector
  • Experience
    Early Career
  • Posted
    Apr 13

Position description

The Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University is a university-wide center that works to advance the understanding of development challenges and offer viable solutions to problems of global poverty. CID is Harvard’s leading research hub focusing on resolving the dilemmas of public policy associated with generating stable, shared, and sustainable prosperity in developing countries. Our ongoing mission is to apply knowledge to and revolutionize the world of development practice. CID has been consistently ranked as one of the top 5 best university-affiliated think tanks in the world by UPenn’s Global Think Tank Index. CID’s current ranking is #2.
 CID has an immediate opening for a full-time Research Assistant to help with a range of research responsibilities. As an important part of our research teams, s/he will gain valuable experience working with faculty and research fellows on international development research and policy. 

General Purpose:
The Research Assistant will provide a range of research support to CID faculty and research fellows. S/he will often work with data, review research reports, and draft working documents. S/he will also interact closely with CID’s senior management and staff and hence must have excellent communication and organizational skills. 

Position responsibilities:
The primary responsibilities of the Research Assistant include:
Research Support 

  • Learn complex research ideas, concepts, and methodologies and proactively apply them to new projects and situations; 
  • Work closely with Growth Lab research teams in developing working papers, journal articles and presentations; 
  • Analyze, manage, clean, and create datasets on a range of economic variables and indicators, including the use of Stata statistical software; Perform quantitative analysis of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data under general direction of faculty and fellows to develop, test, and synthesize analytical models as required;
  • Conduct literature reviews of relevant academic papers and development policies on specific topics in areas of economic growth theory, structural transformation, governance, and growth diagnostics; and
  • Provide written analysis for academic journal articles, reports, and presentations.

Policy Engagement

  • Collaborate with Growth Lab research teams to conduct reviews and provide prompt feedback on policies being proposed by our high-level counterparts, including rapid data analysis; 
  • Conduct review of comparative policies of other countries/contexts, including aspects of the design, roles and responsibilities, and objectives of policies in project-specific areas that have included aspects of productive; development policies, trade and investment regulations, industrial zones, FDI, among others;
  • Contribute to working papers and project reports on project findings, analysis, and policy recommendations; and 
  • Prepare presentations and policy briefs for internal and external audiences.

Other support as needed

  • Provide support to CID’s senior management and staff in preparing presentations, editing proposals, preparing workshops and conferences, and managing contacts with external partners. 

Successful candidates will gain exposure to economic development issues and work alongside a friendly, energetic team in a high-profile, fast-paced office.


Basic Qualifications Bachelor’s degree in Economics or International Affairs and Development, Financial Engineering, Statistics or Mathematics.  One year of demonstrated research experience through previous positions, internships, practicums, or coursework. Experience with statistical software.

Additional QualificationsDemonstrated understanding of economic concepts. Proficient at understanding and participating in high-level research, especially with respect to topics relating to international development. Experience conducting data analysis across a range of economic methods, research based on thorough literature reviews, and writing research reports in a range of media from journals to reports to policy briefs. Exposure to topics such as development economics, growth diagnostics, structural transformation, and the implementation of development projects. Ability to multitask while maintaining excellent attention to detail. Excellent written and communication skills to match tone and content of a variety of presentation platforms for research. Exposure to or experience in advanced statistics and machine learning/NLP techniques and algorithms using R, Python, Java, Spark, H20, etc. a plus. Successful candidate must be highly motivated and detail-oriented with strong organizational skills. Strong orientation to quantitative, data-driven analysis including demonstrated intermediate level experience with statistical software, preferably Stata. Proficiency in Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and other applications.  

Additional Information: This position is a fully benefits eligible term appointment, ending one year from date of hire with the possibility of renewal.

Application instructions

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