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Association of Public & Land-grant Universities
Office of Congressional & Governmental Affairs
District Of Columbia
Posted: 07/10/2019
Assistant Director, Research Policy

Title: Assistant Director, Research Policy

Supervisor: Assistant Vice President, Research Advocacy and Policy

Status: Full-Time; Exempt

Location: Washington, DC

Application Deadline: Until filled

The Assistant Director, Research Policy will work on research policy issues related to sustaining the excellence of public research universities, including communicating the importance and impact of university research; ensuring the resilience and security of the research enterprise; lowering the burden of regulatory compliance for research; and preparing and sustaining an expert and diverse scientific workforce. The incumbent will also staff the Council on Research (CoR) - the APLU senior research officer constituency group. The Assistant Director will report to the Assistant Vice President for Research Advocacy and Policy, who, in turn reports both to the Vice President for Congressional and Governmental Affairs and the Executive Vice President, in an expanded APLU effort to integrate university research advocacy with policy development. The Assistant Director will also collaborate with the APLU Offices of Public Affairs and of Economic Development & Community Engagement, given closely aligned efforts in innovation and competitiveness. Successful candidates will have a deep understanding of how university research is conducted and supported, an ability to analyze policy issues, and exceptional representational skills. This full-time position is based in Washington, DC.

APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. With a membership of 241 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, APLU's agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement. Annually, member campuses enroll 4.9 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.3 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $44.9 billion in university-based research. For more information, consult

Primary Responsibilities
The main responsibilities of the Assistant Director are to:

  • Develop expertise and track key federal policy issues in close collaboration with other APLU staff and engage a wide array of APLU research leaders and other stakeholders and relevant external audiences to achieve APLU objectives. This will include writing position papers and analyses; updating APLU members on emerging policy developments and professional opportunities; creating content for the Council on Research (CoR) electronic news and website; sharing positions and analyses with other university associations; speaking at national meetings; and building support for external initiatives that complement the CoR mission.
  • Represent APLU at stakeholder meetings, including with White House, federal agency and congressional staff, as well as with senior university administrators, professional societies, and university coalitions.
  • Significantly bolster APLU research promotion and advocacy, garnering the participation of research vice presidents and vice chancellors in close collaboration with APLU staff from Congressional and Governmental Affairs and Public Affairs.
  • Develop and facilitate programming for the APLU Annual Meeting, CoR Summer Meeting, and CoR Executive Committee Meeting; assist with the administration of the CoR Research Leader Fellowship Program; and contribute to the APLU Public Impact-Focused Research Initiative.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Current Issues include:

  • Research Policy: Science and security; diversity and demographic change in the scientific workforce; sexual harassment; open and public access to data and publications; data reproducibility; research integrity; emerging ethical and practical issues in biotechnology.
  • Regulatory Policy: Cost, administrative, and merit review policies. Working with federal partners and other stakeholders to reduce unnecessary regulatory compliance burdens impacting research universities. Additional matters may include engaging in regulatory discussions and initiatives focused on export controls, select agents, dual use research, bioethics, human subjects research, animal research, and others as needed.
  • Research Promotion and Advocacy: Develop more effective means of conveying the value of research as part of the overall societal importance of public research universities and incorporating work in all scientific fields, including life, social, and physical sciences as well as engineering.

Preferred Qualifications

  • 3 years of relevant work experience, preferably including a policy fellowship or similar program (such as AAAS) in a federal executive or legislative branch office.
  • PhD preferred.
  • Understanding of university research, including deep expertise in a field of science or engineering.
  • Demonstrated outstanding communication skills, including interpersonal, public speaking, and writing. Demonstrated capacity to describe technical matters to a lay audience.
  • Capability to facilitate committees, working groups, and networks to develop and implement common objectives.
  • Experience analyzing federal, university policy, and/or administrative issues.
  • Working knowledge of university structures, organizations, and cultures.
  • Working knowledge of federal policymaking, legislative, and regulatory processes.
  • A creative mind that can translate complex, detailed information into compelling content for multiple audiences.
  • Self-starter with ability to identify opportunities and develop and implement initiatives.
  • Ability to work under minimal supervision and as part of a team.
  • Excellent Microsoft Office Suite skills.
  • Willingness to travel several times per year.
  • A deep commitment to advancing higher education issues, particularly in the area of research and science policy.
  • A great sense of humor, particularly in times of tight deadlines and a heavy workload.

To Apply
Please send a cover letter and resume along with two writing samples to APLU’s Human Resources Department at with the subject line: Assistant Director, Research Policy.

Applications will be reviewed as received and continue to be reviewed until the position is filled.

Salary is commensurate with experience. APLU provides a generous benefits package. For more information on APLU, please visit