Research Associate

The Oakland Institute

Oakland, CA, US

The Oakland Institute is an independent policy think tank bringing fresh ideas and bold action to the most pressing social, economic, and environmental issues of our time. Our research investigates land rights and theft of natural resources; analyzes the impact of so-called development schemes and international aid of donor countries and international financial institutions; promotes agro-ecological solutions; examines the impact of conservation on indigenous communities; and more. Our work is accomplished through impactful research, compelling publications, international advocacy campaigns, and a creative communications strategy.

Position Summary

The Oakland Institute is looking for a Research Associate to contribute to the publication of reports, briefs, and advocacy campaigns on a variety of topics relating to land rights, food security, and international development. This position will involve desk research and report writing, in collaboration with both the supervisor and the rest of the Institute’s team.

The contribution to and production of written materials by the Research Associate will involve numerous issues and geographic areas, and may range from blogs to policy briefs and analytical reports. The Research Associate will take part in all relevant activities for the promotion of the Oakland Institute’s work and advocacy, including: assistance with translation; drafting media documents; outreach to partner organizations; assistance with organizational events; and more.

Specific Duties & Responsibilities

  • Carry out research: for reports, briefing papers, blog posts
  • Provide assistance with written work of team members: copy-editing and providing research support.
  • Assistance with publication and advertising of materials produced by the Oakland Institute including translation and outreach. Communication with partner organizations and individuals under the guidance of the supervisor.
  • Participation in public events and fundraising, and support organizing events to promote the Oakland Institute’s work.
  • Participation in regular team meetings, ad-hoc meetings, or project-based skype calls, as needed.
  • Supporting program development: Staying apprised of world news concerning ongoing subject areas. Work collaboratively with team members, and maintaining open communication with the supervisor and other team members.

Please note: the Oakland Institute doesn’t hire researchers for specific geographies or issue areas. All team members at the Institute take on a variety of issues and geographies as part of their work portfolios. We expect flexibility, fast-learning, and an interest to explore new research domains as part of this position.

The Desired Candidate Will Be/Have:

  • An Excellent and Efficient Communicator: Exemplary written and oral communication skills for a range of audiences.
  • A Meticulous & Thorough Researcher: In-depth and thorough research skills on a variety of issues relating to land, development, economics, trade, human rights, and/or the environment.
  • Independent & Flexible: Self-directed learner and worker with a willingness and passion to take on new tasks and projects. Be prepared to work flexible hours to accommodate developing and urgent events. Ability to multi-task effectively and work under time pressure is required.
  • Quick Learner: Quick and productive team-member, with experience in a fast-paced work environment, who can deliver outputs in a timely manner.
  • A Desire to Grow: An openness to receiving feedback and deepen research skills with the guidance of their supervisor.
  • Integrity & Commitment to Justice: High integrity professional, who is passionate both about the organization and issue areas we cover and is committed to actively contribute to the growth of the Oakland Institute as a world-class research organization.


  • Master’s Degree in Policy, International Relations, Governance, or Related Field.
  • Minimum 2 years non-profit and/or professional research experience.
  • Demonstrated commitment to social and economic justice issues.
  • Fluency in Spanish an asset.
  • Experience working in solidarity with farmers, pastoralists, indigenous groups, grassroots organizations & communities an asset.

Salary, Benefits, & Application Process

Location: Oakland, CA

Salary & Benefits: Competitive salary and benefits commensurate with experience.

How to Apply: Send your resume, cover letter, three references, and two writing samples (showing ability to communicate for different audiences) to [email protected] with “Research Associate First Name Last Name” in the subject line. We prefer applications sent as PDFs. Incomplete applications will not be considered. No phone calls please. Only complete applications will be reviewed and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Deadline: December 15, 2017.