Rarefied talent in big data technology and analytics

Global Research & Insight Director

Social Progress Imperative

Job Description

‚ÄčAre you passionate about the power of data to tell a meaningful story that can drive social change? Are you a critical thinker and effective leader with strong data analytics experience? Do you want to contribute to groundbreaking work that provides data-based insight to guide better policymaking and investments to improve the quality of life for all people around the world? 

We seek an exceptional candidate to lead and implement an ambitious research and insight strategy. The Global Research & Insight Director will oversee the development of the flagship Social Progress Index (SPI), identify and manage new and continuing research projects, monitor and analyze social progress-related global trends, and effectively communicate results and critical insights as the organization’s chief researcher. 

Developed by a scientific team led by Professors Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School and Scott Stern of MIT, SPI is a composite index that measures how well a society converts its resources into social and environmental outcomes on things people really care about, including health, safety, shelter, education, rights and freedom. Its rigorous framework and unbiased analytics has quickly established the index as a leading global measure of social and environmental progress. SPI and related tools are powered by the Social Progress Imperative, a US-based global nonprofit with its principal office in Washington, DC and local partners throughout the world. We are a small organization with an entrepreneurial spirit driven by a singular, audacious goal: A world in which social progress sits alongside economic prosperity as a core benchmark of success, driving debate, decision-making and action.

Key responsibilities

Reporting to the COO and as a key member of the organization’s leadership team, the Global Research & Insight Director will: 

  • Oversee development of the annual Social Progress Index, ensuring methodological rigor and defining and articulating key results and data-based insights.
  • Identify and address data analytics needs, including applying SPI results to measure and advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals and using SPI data and insight from around the world to define what policies, investments and actions work in accelerating and sustaining social progress.
  • Identify new forms of data to measure the underlying concepts of social progress more accurately, in a more timely way, and with greater geographic and demographic disaggregation.
  • Prepare insight briefs, deliver presentations and serve as the organization’s chief researcher with media, funders, research and academic institutions, user groups and others.
  • Build relationships with relevant public and private sector actors.
  • Supervise the Research & Insight staff and external consultants, and manage the department’s annual budget.


  • Advance degree (Ph.D. or Master) in social sciences or related field and experience.
  • At least 15 years relevant work experience conducting primary and secondary research and data analytics.
  • Deep understanding of global data from the UN, World Bank and global data institutions, and knowledgeable of current issues in social and environmental development and the “Beyond GDP” movement. 
  • Strong data analytics and data management skills, with extensive experience using Stata or R, Excel and Tableau.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate complex technical material, both orally and in writing.
  • Understanding of new technologies and emerging private and public data sources that could be applied to further social progress research and insight preferred.
  • Demonstrated ability to build and steward relationships with high-level stakeholders from the public and private sectors.

How to apply

Please visit www.socialprogressimperative.org/jobs for the full position description.

Well qualified individuals are encouraged to apply for this position as soon as possible by sending a cover letter expressing your passion for the mission and fit for the role, salary expectations and resume to careers@social-progress.org. 

The Social Progress Imperative is an equal opportunity employer. We offer competitive compensation, flexible work environment and generous benefits including covering 100% of medical and dental insurance premiums for employees and their dependents, 5% contribution to employees’ 403(b) retirement plans after six months of employment and 20 days of paid time off annually. 

Interested in this position?
Job Location
2101 L St NW Suite 800, suite 800
Washington DC 20037
Company Website
Additional Job Details
Employment Type:
Full Time