Research Director - Ranking Digital Rights

Washington, DC
Full Time

Are you concerned about the growing power that internet, mobile, and telecommunications companies have over people’s lives? Do you believe that corporations as well as governments have a responsibility to respect human rights? Do you have a qualitative and/or quantitative research background and experience handling or interpreting large data sets to inform public policy? If so, Ranking Digital Rights (RDR) encourages you to apply to become our Research Director.

The Research Director is a senior-level position at Ranking Digital Rights (RDR). This person is responsible for conceptualizing and overseeing the production, maintenance, and launch of the RDR Corporate Accountability Index, including our annual Big Tech and Telco Giants Scorecards, as well as other related projects and publications. In addition, the Research Director will work with our Global Engagement Manager and our research partners around the world to further build capacity for global corporate accountability research and advocacy. Their broader mandate is to develop research-driven mechanisms for supporting our primary stakeholders and allies to hold companies accountable for users’ rights, and to extend RDR’s impact as a thought leader in internet policy as it relates to tech and telecom companies’ business and human rights obligations.

The ideal Research Director will have experience overseeing the delivery of research projects—incorporating both qualitative and quantitative methods—and/or research-driven advocacy campaigns at a nonprofit, human rights organization, or technology company. They must demonstrate a command of both current and emerging global digital rights issues, including the key dilemmas posed by tech and telecom companies’ policies and practices and how they can lead to potential human rights harms.

As a senior member of the team, the Research Director will be expected to conceptualize and apply for new funding opportunities, working in close collaboration with the Director, Policy Director, and Operations Coordinator. They must be able to identify and seize strategic opportunities with agility, to advance and promote RDR’s work and data. In addition, deep knowledge of the opportunities and challenges facing applied research organizations in the global digital rights field, the stakeholders they seek to engage, and the people they aim to protect from corporate abuses of human rights online will prepare this person for greatest success.

Reporting to the director, the Research Director will be a member of RDR’s leadership team and work closely with the policy director and operations coordinator, and supervise our projects, global engagement, and technology teams.

If you thrive in a fast-paced, highly collaborative environment and are passionate about supporting teams to achieve their full potential, we encourage you to apply.

About RDR

RDR works to promote freedom of expression and privacy on the internet by creating global standards and incentives for companies to respect and protect users' rights. We do this by scoring and ranking the world's most powerful digital platforms and telecommunications companies on relevant commitments and policies, based on international human rights standards. We work with companies as well as advocates, researchers, investors, and policymakers to establish and advance global standards for corporate accountability.

RDR is housed at New America, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of policy challenges. We are a globally distributed team, with staff and contractors working from the Washington, D.C., area, Paris, Budapest, Buenos Aires, and other locations.


  • In conjunction with the director, the leadership team, and the RDR Index manager, develops a strategy and work plan that highlights the relevance and currency of RDR’s dataset on corporate policies and practices in the tech and telecom sectors in line with our strategic goals;
  • Supervises the projects and tech teams to produce the RDR Index and related outputs, such as the Big Tech and Telco Giants scorecards and other editorial and data outputs;
  • Supervising design and development of the data infrastructure for our research methodologies, including data collection, scoring, and analysis
  • Supervises the development of capacity building materials and programs to support the growth of an evidence-driven global corporate accountability movement targeting tech and telecom companies;
  • Builds and supports relationships with partner organizations, including digital rights organizations around the world;
  • Builds project budgets and tracks costs with the assistance of the operations manager;
  • Regularly contributes to grant proposals and reporting;
  • Aligns research outputs with RDR’s policy goals as appropriate, working with the policy director;
  • Works with RDR’s communications and editorial team to shape outputs for public audiences and key stakeholder groups.
  • Recruiting and preparing contracts for research consultants and other vendors to support production of RDR’s research projects, as needed.


  • Experience in developing data-driven research reports and evidence-based policy advocacy campaigns with demonstrated impact at a nonprofit or NGO, preferably in the digital rights or a related field. Formal training in research methods, such as through a PhD or other higher education, is welcome but not required.
  • Experience as a servant leader dedicated to helping diverse teams achieve success while committed to individual well-being, organizational health, and a sustainable pace. Experience managing remote teams across multiple time zones a plus.
  • Demonstrated success in conceptualizing, assigning, and editing reports, white papers, blog posts, and other editorial outputs.
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills in English; other languages a plus.
  • Superior people, project, and knowledge management skills.
  • Uncompromising adherence to deadlines.
  • Deep knowledge of the digital rights field and how to measure policy and advocacy impact.
  • Experience collaborating with communications teams to amplify impact through media coverage.

Location & physical demands

RDR operates as a distributed team, with some staff based at New America in Washington, D.C., while other staff and contractors work from other locations around the world. We will prioritize candidates with U.S. work authorization and who work +/- 1 hour from the U.S. Eastern Time zone or who can offer a compelling reason why their specific time zone, if outside the +/- 1 zone, would be advantageous to RDR.

This position often requires completing work at a computer and may require occasional travel.

Compensation & benefits

The salary range for this position is $83,580 - $104,475, depending on years of experience and demonstrated competencies. In addition, our compensation packages include generous health and retirement benefits and paid time off, including 20 days in your first year of employment.

How to apply

Please submit a cover letter and resume.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with priority for review given to those received by June 15, 2022. We would like to fill the position as soon as possible.

Diversity, equity & inclusion

Technological disruption, online discrimination, and the digital divide disproportionately affectthe most historically marginalized communities in society, including people of color, women, LGBTQIA+ people, and people with a disability. RDR is committed to centering the needs of these communities in our work, and we strongly encourage applications from people with a diverse array of backgrounds to support this mission.

We encourage candidates to apply even if they do not match all the qualifications listed above.

Ranking Digital Rights and New America is an equal opportunity employer committed to hiring a diverse workforce at all levels of the organization thereby creating a culture that allows us to better serve our mission, our employees, and our communities. We value and encourage the contributions of our employees and strive to create an environment where everyone can reach their full potential and drive outstanding results. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, gender identity or expression, or any other basis protected by local, state, or federal law. This policy applies with regard to all aspects of one’s employment, including hiring, transfer, promotion, compensation, eligibility for benefits, and termination.

Please No Phone Calls, No Emails

Please submit your application through the New America portal. We are not able to respond to phone calls or emails.


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