Sightline Institute: Research Associate (Democracy)

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Sightline Institute: Research Associate (Democracy)

Sightline also has a job opening for a Research Associate in Housing & Urbanism (see for more info). If you are interested in both positions, please indicate this in your cover letter and we will consider you for both.



Sightline Institute, the Northwest’s sustainability think tank, is seeking a gifted puzzle solver to join its team and bring passion and creativity to our growing program on democracy reform. This is a new position.

The research associate will support the research, writing, public speaking, and advocacy of Sightline’s democracy reform team. At least in the first year or two, the work will focus primarily on proportional representation, with some attention to automatic voter registration and national popular vote for president. In time, the associate may also do work in Sightline’s other research programs.

Sightline will provide opportunity for professional development and training to become an effective researcher, writer, and speaker. Over time, the research associate’s duties may expand to include conducting his or her own research; acting as a liaison to other organizations; working with elected officials and government staff; public speaking; and speaking with print and broadcast media.


Job Responsibilities:

The associate’s work will typically involve delving into an assigned topic and delivering a scrupulously accurate and thoroughly documented write-up on the subject. Other times, it will involve answering specific lists of questions that emerge in the writing process. Still other times, it may require condensing or repurposing existing Sightline research for particular audiences or particular policy debates. The research associate will help finalize works for publication, create charts and graphs for publication and presentations, help coordinate outreach lists with Sightline’s communications staff, and otherwise exemplify the attention to detail and accuracy that have established Sightline’s reputation as an esteemed source of information on building a sustainable Northwest.

The best candidates will be strong writers and provide respected references who can speak in detail to their abilities. Finalists for the position will be asked to demonstrate their ability to solve “research puzzles,” as well as to interpret and distill complex information.


Key qualifications include:

The most promising applicants will:

  • Talk and write about complex topics with concision and clarity;
  • Synthesize quantitative and qualitative scientific research;
  • Have a nimble mind, able to consider issues from perspectives of policy analysis, legal reasoning, political strategy, and communications framing;
  • Distill large amounts of complex information and data with impeccable accuracy;
  • Operate Excel like a pro (Sightline’s analysis often involves huge spreadsheets with many lines plus relatively simple operations – trends, sums, and comparisons, not regressions);;
  • Have proficiency in basic software applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook;
  • Have experience working on democracy issues, including voting rights, voting systems and campaign finance reform; experience with climate change, transportation, or housing a plus;
  • Be able to articulate his or her journey around race and equity, as well as how that journey intersects with power and privilege.


Salary & Benefits:

Sightline offers competitive benefits, including health and dental insurance, four weeks of vacation, ten days sick/safe leave, nine paid holidays, retirement contribution, and a three-month paid sabbatical every seven years. The salary range for this position is $35,000-45,000 DOE.


To apply:

Please email a cover letter, resume, and an example of your work (see below) compiled together as one PDF document, addressed to Riley Kent: Please indicate in the body of your email where you saw this job listing. Sightline Institute encourages candidates from all socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds to apply. Learn more about Sightline at

Cover Letter: In addition to your core qualifications for the position and whether you wish to be considered for both this and the democracy reform research associate position, please include in your cover letter personal or professional experience you have working at the intersection of sustainability and diversity (socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, and/or cultural).

Example of Work: Please submit an example of a research product that demonstrates your ability to synthesize a body of work or a complex topic. Samples should clearly highlight your own work (e.g. a team project would only be acceptable if the candidate’s contribution is readily discernible). Acceptable samples might include: annotated bibliographies; literature reviews; policy memos; legal briefs; data analyses; blog posts; articles you have written; or audio or video presentations.

Sightline appreciates a broad array of experiences and backgrounds and is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We continually strive to ensure that our audiences, staff, and board reflect the geographic, racial, ethnic, socio-economic, and other demographic diversity of the Northwest.

Priority given to those submissions made prior to Mar. 14, 2018. Position open until filled.

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