Officer, Philadelphia Research Initiative, Pew Charitable Trusts

Posted on October 10, 2011

Officer, Philadelphia Research Initiative, Pew Charitable Trusts

Posted on: September 20, 2011

The Philadelphia Research Initiative produces timely, well-documented and highly readable reports and issue briefs on issues facing Philadelphia for the benefit of decision makers, the news media and the public at large. The project conducts in-depth research in Philadelphia, using a range of methodologies, and looks beyond the city and region for relevant information from comparable locales. Some of the reports simply lay out the facts of a given issue. Others go a step further to discuss the research-based pros and cons of various policy options. But the project and its small staff stop short of advocacy for specific solutions. The goal is to be a consistent and effective contributor to civic discourse in Philadelphia.

The project’s work product consists of the following elements:

Major research reports that get to the bottom of complex and important issues, often making use of comparative examples from other cities.
An annual State of the City report that scours existing databases to track trends on a wide array of key indicators of the city’s vitality—from crime to employment to demographic change.
An annual benchmark poll of Philadelphians that tracks attitudes on key issues facing the city; views of elected leaders; and the public’s sense of whether the city is heading in the right or wrong direction. Additional polling on specific topics is done on an opportunistic basis.
Shorter briefs on issues that require illumination but not full-length research reports.
A monthly newsletter that highlights work that the project has published and intends to publish, cites research done by other organizations, and takes note of developments that do not lend themselves to lengthy treatment.

Much of the project’s work is done by its own staff, which has the skills needed to conduct research in Philadelphia as well as other cities; to interview key sources; and to write, edit and package compelling studies and issue briefs. When specialized expertise is required, the project hires external consultants.

The Philadelphia Research Initiative is a Trusts-operated project that is part of the Information Initiatives division. Examples of the project’s work are available at

The officer, who is based in Pew’s Philadelphia office, reports to the project director, Philadelphia Research Initiative. The officer’s job is to help conceptualize, design and implement research and analysis on key issues affecting the city of Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Research Initiative is currently funded through the end of December 2012. Therefore, this position is established through the same timeframe. The term of the position may be extended beyond this date pending the success of the project and board decisions on continued support.

Conduct background and primary research, including empirical analysis; compilation, analysis and presentation of data sets; literature reviews; and interviews. Identify possible topics and develop the scope of research needed to fully explore the topics;
Conduct pre-survey literature searches and help draft public opinion surveys;
Develop and write major policy research reports and shorter issue briefs that are highly relevant to policy deliberations and easily understood by the public, media and policymakers, often in collaboration with external writers and consultants. Prepare charts and tables as needed. Edit and proof draft documents for accuracy;
Contribute to and/or supervise the monthly newsletter;
Manage external consultants hired for specific expertise as needed;
Help implement effective dissemination techniques, including written products and online communications strategies, working with Pew’s Communications department;
Monitor and identify emerging urban policy issues that are relevant to Philadelphia and to the priorities of the Philadelphia Research Initiative;
Maintain and build a broad knowledge of research methodologies and practices. Participate in conferences, seminars and other professional development activities to keep current in broad range of urban policy issues;
Contribute to and participate in other work tasked to the Philadelphia Research Initiative as well as broader Pew-related projects and activities;
Assist staff in writing internal documentation and processing contracts for outside consultants. Help ensure that contracts and subgrants to be submitted to the project director are complete, accurate and timely.

A minimum of 8 years of professional experience, including demonstrated research, data collection and analytical and writing skills. Experience in public policy, the public sector, journalism or with nonprofits preferred, with evidence of increased responsibilities over time;
Demonstrated strong research and analytic skills, including a proven facility with quantitative data;
Ability to synthesize and summarize large amounts of information and to focus quickly on the essence of an issue, determine whether it is ripe for in-depth analysis and identify the means to examine it;
Experience providing support for external research undertaken by academics, nonprofits and other contractors, helping ensure rigorous, relevant policy and timely results, and managing associated contracts, providing substantive oversight regarding deliverables, deadlines and financial elements;
A task-oriented style, with focus on achieving clear and ambitious goals. Demonstrated ability to meet multiple deadlines by maintaining a high level of organization. Able to develop and move projects forward with a high degree of independence and autonomy;
Excellent written and oral communications skills, including an ease in briefly summarizing the essence of issues and means to address them. Strong oral, facilitation, and written communication skills such that complex ideas, thoughts and concepts are clearly articulated for a general audience. Clear, effective writing style;
Strong interpersonal skills; able to develop and manage productive relationships with consultants, partners and others who contribute to the development of a project by anticipating possible outcomes. Excellent listening skills;
Ability to work professionally and collegially within a creative, fast-paced and corporate culture that emphasizes excellence and teamwork;
Demonstrated time- and project-management skills, including an ability to meet multiple deadlines by maintaining a high level of organization. Ability to set priorities and identify resources;
Flexible and able to routinely juggle multiple competing priorities and to work in teams that consist of support personnel and senior staff to meet project goals;
Attention to detail, including exacting standards to maintain accuracy and impartiality in all work products;
Knowledge of current trends and issues affecting Philadelphia specifically and cities in general preferred;
An advanced degree or equivalent work experience required.

For immediate consideration, please visit the Careers@Pew section of the website to learn more about the organization review the complete job description and apply online at

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