Urban Institute - Data Scientist

paid / Washington, DC / full-time


Who we are:

At the nonprofit Urban Institute, we believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities. Our employees are empowered to influence policy, open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions. We encourage intellectual honesty, innovation, diversity, and mutual respect, and our analysis elevates debate, wherever it takes place.

Urban’s greatest asset is our people. We strive to attract and cultivate a vibrant, creative, and diverse community. Our employees drive Urban’s mission through entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership, effective communication, results orientation, and relationship cultivation. Our success depends on engaging individuals who possess and value these attributes.

Data scientists at the Urban Institute serve as the bridge between cutting-edge technology and evidence-based policymaking, and work closely with the research programming and DevOps technology teams within the Office of Technology and Data Science. The team works with researchers to improve access to data, analytics tools, and innovative research methods. They also use and advise on such tools as machine learning, natural language processing, web scraping, big data platforms, data visualization techniques, data privacy methods and their application to relevant public policy issues.

How you’ll contribute:

The Urban Institute’s Data Science team is hiring a Data Scientist to work on various public policy projects across the institution and data privacy and confidentiality initiatives. Specifically, the Data Scientist will work at the intersection of data science, technology, and public policy to translate public policy and proposals into algorithms and code, produce novel analyses, advise researchers and project staff, and publish materials.

Responsibilities include:

  • Contributing to research that harnesses technology, data science, and statistical methods, including data imputation, synthetic data generation, and formal privacy, to answer practical social and economic policy topics.
  • Developing open-source R and/or Python packages for data science and statistical methods with distributed version control with Git and GitHub.
  • Developing cutting-edge data products and pipelines to produce novel data that can help tackle pressing economic and social public policy issues.
  • Building systems and processes to collect, analyze, and combine multiple sources of data in novel ways.
  • Analyzing data using techniques and platforms such as natural language processing, big data, machine learning, and cloud computing technology.
  • Authoring papers, blogs, visualizations, and other dissemination materials.
  • Debugging and solve programming problems.
  • Taking the initiative to suggest improvements or innovations of methods or processes.
  • Contributing to a growing team and collaborating on various projects across Urban.

What you’ll bring:

The successful candidate will have:

  • A Masters or a Bachelors in Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics, Economics, Public Policy, or a related field.
  • At least 2 years of programming experience in a professional or academic environment with either Python or R.
  • Ability to apply and implement research principals and goals into code.
  • Willingness to learn and adapt to changes in work assignments, deadlines, and team environment.
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to manage competing deadlines.
  • Ability to communicate clearly with both technical and non-technical audiences.
  • Interest in domestic economic and social policy issues.

What you’ll experience:

Working in the Nation’s Capital, the epicenter of public policy among a network of policy experts, you can expect to have an impact on policy areas you care about and work with great colleagues who are smart, mission-driven, and collaborative. You will blend academic rigor with on-the-ground collaboration, be encouraged and supported to fulfill your potential through meaningful work that matters, and enjoy a welcoming workplace free from harassment, discrimination, and intolerance.

Also, we offer a comprehensive benefits package that includes: medical, dental, disability, and life insurance coverage, competitive paid time off allowance, and eligibility to participate in a generous retirement savings plan and reimbursable commuting expense program.

The Urban Institute is committed to Equal Employment Opportunity without regard for race, ethnicity, gender, protected veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other protected status under applicable law.

The Urban Institute is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer -Minorities/Women/Disabilities/Veterans.

For more information about the Urban Institute, please visit our website at www.urban.org


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