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Research Associate - Data Science


The IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) is a non-profit, federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) that provides analytical support to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and other federal departments and agencies on science and technology (S&T) policy issues.

STPI offers a dynamic, collaborative, and interdisciplinary team-based working environment where data and evidence inform Federal policy-makers and S&T policy. Research task timeframes range from same-day turn around to multiyear efforts. Please see for a sample of the topics included in STPI’s portfolio that are approved for public release. STPI takes pride in the high caliber and timeliness of its analyses, which are produced in a collaborative atmosphere that encourages independent and critical thinking to achieve objective results. Work at STPI often involves multidisciplinary research in diverse teams. Strong oral and written communications skills are essential. STPI staff work closely and regularly interact with federal sponsors.

The IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) is seeking a Research Associate (RA) who will contribute computational data analytics as a member of science & technology (S&T) policy project teams. The RA will implement qualitative and quantitative experimental designs, data collection, analyses, and report writing by creating and maintaining code in the R ecosystem.


This research typically involves identifying high-quality potential data sources, data cleaning, analyzing complex and often unstructured data; data visualization; social network and link analysis; statistics, including generalized linear models (GLM), longitudinal data analysis, and other analysis methods such as: survival analysis, hierarchical/mixed-effects models, latent variable modeling, and causal inference with observational data; qualitative analysis, including survey and interview data; natural language processing (NLP) over unstructured textual corpora. The successful candidate will support standards for data governance, data quality, workflow, and analysis; mentor colleagues; and engage with their professional community. 


The Research Associate must have:

  • A degree in data science or a related field (e.g., computer science, statistics, mathematics, cognitive science, cognitive psychology, education research, operations research) that includes completed courses in statistical analysis and modeling;
  • BA/BS-equivalent degree and 3+ years related work experience or a MA/MS-equivalent degree;
  • Experience developing using R, the tidyverse, ggplot2, RMarkdown/Quarto, and/or Shiny;
  • Experience automating and optimizing reproducible data acquisition, extraction, cleaning, processing, analysis, and reporting;
  • Ability to contextualize for S&T policy the meaning, implications, and uncertainty of data analyses;
  • Experience documenting and communicating research methods and results as well as the practical significance of analyses effectively using prose, tables, and data visualizations;

Preferred experience:

  • Comfort with version control and collaboration using git;
  • Experience, outside of coursework, analyzing complex data sets;
  • Experience working with survey data and tools, such as Qualtrics;
  • Database creation, use, and support;
  • Strong technical writing and presentation skills; ability to communicate with non-statisticians;
  • Ability to balance commitments to multiple project teams simultaneously in a collaborative team environment;
  • Ability to mentor and support others developing the above skills.

About IDA

The Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) is a private, nonprofit corporation headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC. IDA’s mission is to answer the most challenging U.S. security and science policy questions with objective analysis leveraging extraordinary scientific, technical, and analytic expertise.

IDA embraces diversity and supports an inclusive work environment. Working here requires energy, commitment, flexibility, and teamwork. Whether you’re a graduate student ready to start your career, a professional looking for your next challenge, or a member of the military hoping to transition to the private sector while continuing to make a difference in the national security of your country, we offer exciting opportunities to learn and grow.

Sponsors rely on IDA for dispassionate, fact-based, and scientifically rigorous research and advice performed in a research environment free of commercial or shareholder interests where objectivity and the public interest are foremost.

The work produced by IDA is characterized by unquestioned objectivity and high quality. Because of our unique relationship with our U.S. Government sponsors, IDA enjoys unusual access to classified government information and sensitive corporate proprietary information.

Why work at IDA?

  • Competitive salary and benefits, including diverse health insurance options, generous 11% contribution to retirement, 6 weeks 100% paid parental leave, 20 days paid time off, and relocation reimbursement.
  • Mission-oriented work at a non-profit that supports and protects our Nation’s warfighters; as a non-profit, IDA employees are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSFL).
  • Organization-wide commitment to diversity in the workplace and providing a working environment free from discrimination, by fostering a culture of active citizenship and implementing data-driven processes of continuous feedback and learning.
  • Professional development including tuition reimbursement, internal and external trainings, and funding for researcher-pitched projects and publications.
  • A strong employee and corporate culture of work-life balance, including commitment to average 40-hour work weeks through flex time, telework options, and expectation of communication only during core business hours.
  • Easy access to local dining and shopping. Employer contributes $300/month (IRS max) to commuter benefits.


U.S. Citizenship is required

Ability to obtain and maintain a security clearance is required

IDA is an equal opportunity employer committed to providing a fair recruiting process and working environment free from discrimination. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identify, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. Click here to learn more about IDA's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.