Research Fellow - Humanitarian Agenda

Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS)
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Nov 21

Position description

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a non-profit, bipartisan public policy organization established in 1962 to address international policy issues and to provide policy options and solutions. CSIS is one of the largest organizations of its kind, with a staff of roughly 200 employees, including more than 100 analysts tracking policy issues and developments in countries across the globe.


The CSIS Humanitarian Agenda is a center-wide initiative that explores evolving trends and identifies policy solutions to improve the fundamental outcomes of humanitarian assistance. The Humanitarian Agenda is made possible in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).

CSIS seeks a highly motivated Research Fellow to join the team in early February. This is a one-year position. Responsibilities include drafting and finalizing short, medium, and full-length pieces of policy analysis, qualitative data analysis, and leading a field research trip. Research will focus on humanitarian crises in protracted conflicts, efficacy of aid, and issues regarding humanitarian access. This individual will also be a critical player for the upcoming Task Force on Humanitarian Access and serve as a primary author on a technical report on humanitarian access. The Fellow is expected to help shape a research agenda in accordance with the overall approach of the project, and to maintain a high level of scholarship in a dynamic, fast-paced environment. Work includes synthesizing large amounts of information and tailoring messages to different audiences, including policy makers, donors, and the advocacy community. The Fellow will work on several projects simultaneously, in addition to responding to daily demands.


Essential functions may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Contribute to the intellectual vitality of the program by producing work which embodies the CSIS principles of scholarly independence, objective analysis, political bipartisanship, and policy impact.
  • Prepare, edit, and review thoughtful, content-rich publications, potentially including commentaries, critical questions, policy briefs, and analytical pieces that contribute to policy debates in Congress, the Executive Branch, and the international sphere.
  • Design, organize, and lead an international research trip to support the research and publication strategy.
  • Collaborate with other programs at CSIS on research initiatives as appropriate, relevant, and feasible.
  • Edit and fact-check program materials with a critical perspective and strong attention to detail.
  • Maintain working knowledge of trends in humanitarian sector and intricacies of various regional protracted conflicts and assess their implications on U.S. leadership and policy. Keep apprised of academic, technical, programmatic, and policy literature in the humanitarian space.
  • Generate and develop ideas for new projects, partnerships, collaborations, events, and speakers.
  • Represent CSIS and disseminate work by participating in formal and informal channels such as Congressional engagement, industry conferences, external lecture opportunities, roundtable discussions, etc.
  • Contribute to the strategic planning and implementation of other program initiatives as appropriate, including efforts to secure new or follow-on funding.


The physical demands are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

Performances of duties require the use hands to finger, handle, or feel. The job frequently requires ability to stand, walk, sit, reach with hands and arms and talk or hear. Specific vision abilities required include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential job functions.

The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.




  • At least a decade of progressive experience in humanitarian sector, international development, or related field.
  • Master’s in relevant subject matter (international development/affairs, humanitarian or security studies, conflict and conflict resolution, etc.).
  • Strong knowledge and experience analyzing humanitarian policy, nexus between development and security, and/or U.S. foreign aid policy required.
  • Robust network in humanitarian community and knowledge of how the international development industry, including donors and implementing partners, operate.
  • Experience working in developing countries strongly preferred—particularly in humanitarian contexts.
  • Deep familiarity with academic, technical, and policy literature pertaining to humanitarian affairs is essential.
  • Demonstrated ability to write coherent research reports, concept papers, and short analyses independently, on deadline, and in clear, simple language. A body of published work preferred.
  • Must possess strong analytic and exceptional communication skills, including the ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from stakeholders, media, governmental entities, and the public.
  • Ability to write, think, and operate independently.
  • Social media presence a plus.

Application instructions


Interested applicants please submit your resume, cover letter, and a short writing sample (no more than five pages) here: Writing samples can be attached during Step 6 of the application. Applications that do not include all materials may not be reviewed. Please submit your completed applications by December 21, 2018. For more information on the Humanitarian Agenda, please visit:

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