Director of Applied Research

Seeking Director of Applied Research

The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) is seeking a driven, experienced and passionate applied research professional to lead our research and education programming. This is a unique opportunity for a talented individual to join a dynamic and dedicated team united around a compelling mission: to provide objective research and education about American Muslims to support well-informed dialogue and decision-making. And, we believe that rigorous research in the right hands will help us get there. Unique in its field, ISPU has built up a strong reputation as the go-to resource for information, insight and analysis on American Muslims and issues impacting them. Our work educates the general public and equips advocates, policy makers, journalists, educators and more to do their work smarter and more effectively. Please explore ISPU’s research publications and education programs here.

Having built a strong body of research over 20+ years, and amidst increasing demand for further research and broader dissemination, the right candidate will be stepping into an impactful, and well-regarded organization primed for growth. With a core four-person research and outreach team, this is an excellent opportunity for an applied research professional to help take ISPU’s programming to the next level. The right candidate will be a multidisciplinary applied researcher who is also able to effectively communicate with broad audiences and a strategic thinker who is also willing and able to manage people and processes. 

Position Description:


The Director of Applied Research is responsible for leading strategy, planning, implementing, oversight and evaluation of ISPU’s applied research and its dissemination including:

  • Conceptualizing new applied research projects on American Muslim community development and public policy topics on issues impacting American Muslim communities. 
  • Developing research partnerships and supporting grant applications for funding with research, methodological and dissemination programming expertise.
  • Oversight of implementation of funded research projects, ensuring quality, relevance, objectivity and rigor. 
  • Shaping dissemination and communication of research findings and recommendations to educate and equip multi-sectoral and broad audiences.
  • Sharing research in public forums, trainings and workshops, direct outreach, and media.
  • Tracking and evaluating impact of research and dissemination programming. 

The Director will oversee a team of two research project managers and two outreach managers along with a network of contracted research project staff and advisors and work in close partnership with communications staff. As a key member of the management team, the Director will be involved in the organization’s strategic planning, evaluation, and professional development initiatives. This is primarily a management role, although there may be opportunities to conduct original research.

Candidates will be considered from across the United States. This role is virtual. View the full job description here.

The Ideal Candidate


The Director will have:

  • At least 5-7 years of related professional experience (2-3 years of management experience preferred)
  • PhD required or equivalent professional experience with a Master’s Degree in a related subject area 
  • Demonstrated applied research expertise, including basic qualitative and quantitative methodologies and developing surveys and interview protocols
  • Ability to communicate effectively to non-expert audiences (some experience speaking to media a plus)
  • Excellent people skills and ability to work collaboratively in (virtual) teams
  • Strong attention to detail and ability to multitask, overseeing multiple projects with complex deliverables and timelines (project management skills a plus)
  • Strong understanding of American Muslim communities (experience in Muslim communities in the United States preferred).
  • Ability to travel nationwide (20-25%)

ISPU research and dissemination programming is in high demand and poised for growth. Our next Director of Applied Research is an experienced results-oriented self-starter who can hit the ground running and lead our research team to successfully conceptualize and conduct high quality studies that will inform and equip community development and public policy efforts.

Compensation and Benefits:


ISPU is an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate in hiring decisions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, and genetic information. Must be US based and authorized to work.

Annual Salary Range: $105-$125K contingent on geographic location, level of experience and skill set. Benefits include:

  • Employer provided health, dental and vision insurance
  • 401(k) retirement plan
  • 3 weeks paid vacation (increasing with years of service, up to 5 weeks with 5+ years of service) 
  • 12 days paid office holidays
  • Professional development opportunities

Applications are now closed for this position. 

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