Foreign Policy Research Assistant

Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs - Harvard University
  • Location
    Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Early Career
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Apr 06

Position description

Job Summary

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 Research Assistants 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 topics such as US foreign policy and strategy; China; defense and intelligence policy; global nuclear security and nonproliferation; international economics; emerging technologies; and a range of other major international security issues. Candidates with knowledge of any one of these areas are encouraged to apply.

Research Assistants work closely with other members of a small research team and play a key role in: 

  • Conducting research on specific international security topics and producing in-depth analytic 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.  
  • Planning and conducting research for high-level events, including private working groups and large public events.  
  • Other related job duties, as required.  


Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree.
  • One year of related work experience demonstrating knowledge of, and interest in, current international security issues, research methods, and basic quantitative techniques. Relevant coursework will count toward experience.  

Additional Qualifications and Skills

  • Master's degree in a relevant field preferred.
  • 1+ years of related work experience preferred.
  • Exceptional writing skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with minimal supervision under tight deadlines.
  • Candidates with a background in economics, finance, and/or technology in addition to one or more of the abovementioned research areas, are encouraged to apply, but experience with these topics is not required. 


Application instructions

This position is a fully 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.

To Apply:

All applicants must submit the following as a single PDF document:

(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 

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.

We continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 and lifting of restrictions.  We appreciate your understanding as flexibility with our interview process.  We will be conducting interviews virtually for selected candidates until further notice.