Research Associate

Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs - Harvard University
  • Location
    Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Early Career / Mid Career
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Mar 19

Position description

Research Associate

Harvard Kennedy School


The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs is the hub of Harvard Kennedy School's research, teaching, and training in international security and diplomacy, environmental and resource issues, and science and technology policy. In 2021, the Belfer Center was named a “Center of Excellence” by the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, in recognition of the Center’s six consecutive years as the world’s #1 university-affiliated think tank.

The Center has a dual mission: (1) to provide leadership in advancing policy-relevant knowledge about the most important challenges of international security and other critical issues where science, technology, environmental policy, and international affairs intersect; and (2) to prepare future generations of leaders for these arenas.

We believe that creating a diverse and inclusive organization is central to our ability to achieve our mission. It is our goal to promote historically underrepresented groups within our organization and within the fields of science and international affairs.

Job-Specific Responsibilities

The Belfer Center seeks a Research Associate to support Graham Allison, the Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at the Harvard Kennedy School and Director of the Belfer Center’s Avoiding Great Power War Project, in conducting in-depth research on international security issues and supervising the collaborative activities of a small research team. 

The Associate will play a leading role in:  

  • Supervising Professor Allison’s team of approximately 8 researchers, including setting research and publication priorities with Professor Allison and delivering on targets; coordinating team’s workflow; and maintaining high standards across all research and publications.  
  • Conducting research on specific international security topics and producing in-depth analytic research memos, eventually building deep expertise in their area(s) of responsibility.
  • Contributing to internal and external publications such as research reports, op-eds, academic articles, and book chapters.
  • Leading team’s processes, including hiring staff, managing team’s financial reporting and grant writing, and supporting the Belfer Center’s activities, as needed.
  • Overseeing the planning and research for high-level events, including private working groups and large public events.
  • Other related job duties, as required.


Basic Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in public administration, public policy, political science, international relations, or a closely related field is required.
  • Experience in a managerial role and a minimum of 2-3 years related work experience performing research (quantitative or qualitative) required.
  • Significant knowledge of, and interest in, current international security issues; exceptional writing skills; basic quantitative proficiency; and a demonstrated ability to work with minimal supervision under tight deadlines.

Additional Desired Qualifications

  • Prior experience in an academic or think-tank setting and/or working for a senior principal (public or private sector) is a plus.
  • Candidates should be mature self-starters with sound judgment; have the capacity to work with a wide range of individuals and manage both up and down; and have the ability to manage a variety of tasks/research projects simultaneously.

Application instructions

Additional Information

  • This is a benefits-eligible term appointment ending one year from date of hire with the possibility of renewal.
  • Evaluation of qualified candidates may include a written assessment exercise which may be followed by competency-based interviews with the research team and with Professor Allison.
  • We regret that the Harvard Kennedy School does not provide Visa Sponsorship.
  • Harvard University requires pre-employment references and background checks.
  • Harvard University is committed to supporting a healthy, sustainable learning and working environment.
  • Please note: During the current period of Covid-19 related restrictions, this position may start as a remote position, with transition to onsite in Cambridge, Massachusetts when the office reopens.

To Apply

All applicants must submit the following as a single PDF document through the Harvard employment website at

(1) Cover letter of 300 words or less

(2) Résumé or CV

(3) Official or unofficial transcript

(4) Analytic writing sample of 20 pages or less 

(5) Names and contact information for three references



Materials must be submitted by April 15, 2020 at 11:59pm Eastern. Early submissions are encouraged.