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Director of Research

Council of State Governments
Washington, DC
Closing date
Feb 14, 2024

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Organization Type
The Council of State Governments (CSG) is the nation's only organization serving all three branches of state government. CSG is a region-based forum that fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy. This offers unparalleled regional, national and international opportunities to network, develop leaders, collaborate and create problem-solving partnerships. To learn more about CSG please visit our website at To learn more about careers at CSG, and about our comprehensive benefit offerings, including medical, dental, vision, retirement, paid time off, PSLF eligibility and more, please visit our website .

This opportunity is based in either our Lexington, KY or Washington, DC office but offers flexibility to work from home part of the work week.


The Director of Research leads the CSG Center of Innovation state public policy research portfolio. The position manages a team who collects and analyzes data; develops and conducts surveys; writes research-based policy memos, briefs, and reports; and produces publications and data visualizations for use with state officials. The Director of Research develops and synthesizes data to be presented in engaging ways to advance the enactment of sound public policy in the states. The Director will identify best practices based on research results and will curate research conducted by others for the benefit of state officials. The Director of Research staffs the executive director/CEO and develops and implements strategies to provide state policymakers with impactful insights about and solutions to priority public policy challenges. The Director uses creativity and technology adeptly to enhance results and impact of research activities.


  • Lead a highly skilled team that is focused on policy research and data science.
  • Work collaboratively to support the public policy portfolio.
  • Oversee the intake, research, and communications with state policymakers who contact CSG with requests for research and policy analysis.
  • Develop and implement a strategy for engaging with state policymakers through surveys targeted at better understanding CSG member needs and priorities.
  • Develop and oversee a research agenda based on state policymaker priorities.
  • Oversee the implementation of the research agenda, including short-term policy analysis and research articles, and long-term research and data projects.
  • Provide oversight of the CSG Book of the States project, which provides longitudinal data to state government officials. This includes supervising the staff that collects, analyzes, and creates data visualizations for, and in response to, the Book of the States.
  • Manage grant-funded projects aimed at supporting states in evidence-based policymaking through convenings, technical assistance, and publications.
  • Lead efforts to generate additional and/or new sources of funding for research and data science projects; manage research project budgets.
  • Develop relationships with research partners on behalf of CSG.
  • Represent CSG before external policymakers, members, interested parties, and funders.
  • Stay abreast of emerging research pertinent to the public policy work of CSG, including access to research journals and participation or attendance at forums or other convenings.
  • Motivate and maintain a high-performing team; work with leadership to recruit new staff as appropriate, assure effective training/development of current and new staff, manage staff workload and evaluate performance.
  • Develop, administer, and oversee multiple projects including a portfolio of diverse sets of funding streams and budgets.
  • Provide CSG leadership with innovative, high-level strategic guidance and planning to achieve project objectives; ensure projects take full advantage of all research resources.
  • Maintain strong working relationships with CSG leadership, staff, and state government members while ensuring strong engagement in research efforts; integrate research methods and priorities into key Center of Innovation plans and decisions.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to equity and inclusion.
  • Oversee the ongoing training and evaluation of all research staff, ensuring core competency in all critical research functions, and productive contribution to the overall research strategy.
  • Create opportunities for "knowledge transfer" to all staff, helping increase the capacity and awareness of research methods and data-driven analytics across the entire organization.
  • Staff the executive director/CEO by advising them on relevant trends and findings to better inform the work of CSG.
  • Ability to interact effectively with diverse people in different contexts and foster equity and inclusion through self-awareness, cultural sensitivity, and valuing others.
  • Dedication to public service with an unfailing commitment to act with civility, be nonpartisan in performing CSG duties, and be a responsible steward of member and donor funds.
  • Exceptional understanding of public policy and other administrative data, how it is stored, common challenges with analysis, and processes to access and analyze.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Excel and preferably at least one other advanced statistical software (e.g. Stata, R, SQL, or Python) and able to learn additional software programs (developed in-house or off-the-shelf, such as survey evaluation tools or data presentation programs) and new evaluation/analysis techniques.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully translate data and research into practical and relevant insights in ways that are clear, concise, compelling, and actionable.
  • Demonstrated ability to proactively launch and oversee the development of new initiatives and programs, including building successful new teams and adapting to changing environments.
  • High degree of familiarity with state and local government.
  • Ability to navigate and help provide expert assistance and troubleshooting around issues of data governance, interoperability, and data-sharing across agencies.
  • Successful track record of managing complex, multi-program initiatives including budget development, staff recruitment, and work plan design.
  • Sophisticated understanding of advanced methods, processes and techniques used to analyze trends and programmatic outcomes in state and local government systems.
  • Excellent analytical skills and knowledge of current trends, principal theories, leading thinkers, and major concerns in public policy.
  • Exceptional management skills: an ability to plan, organize, follow through with staff; experience administering budgets and assessing organizational capacity.
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills, including the means to address issues in nonpartisan and non-polarizing ways.
  • Record of success in working collaboratively with a team of diverse people to achieve common goals.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with policymakers, practitioners, scholars, community leaders and the media.
  • Willingness to work from the HQ office in Lexington, Kentucky, and travel as needed.
  • Minimum of five years of public policy and/or research project management experience, ideally within multiple public policy areas.
  • Experience using statistical tools to interpret data sets, including descriptive and diagnostic analytics.
  • Demonstrated experience and knowledge of conducting policy relevant research.
  • Experience managing staff and budgets, preferably in a nonprofit/government organization.
  • Strong preference for experience within at least one state or local government system as a practitioner, policymaker, or agency leader.


Interested applicants must complete the online application and include resume and cover letter.

Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to characteristics including but not limited to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or protected veteran status. CSG is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer.

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