Research Associate

  • Location: Washington, DC (preferred)
  • Timing: Applications are due by February 15, 2022. The start date is negotiable before September 1, 2022.

About Upturn

Upturn advances equity and justice in the design, governance, and use of technology.

We believe technology should advance justice, not amplify racial, economic, and social inequities. Without focused attention, technology can reinforce systemic injustices found everywhere in our society.

We drive policy changes by combining rigorous research with deliberate advocacy. Our approach to technology and justice is informed by a broad range of perspectives and experiences, including computer science, social science, law, and policy. We strive to ground our work in community and lived experiences.

We partner with a strong and growing network of local and national advocates, litigators, organizers, academics, and policymakers to ensure that our work together is grounded, collaborative, and actionable.

Some of our recent work includes:

  • Investigating how large hourly employers use technology to screen candidates for low-wage jobs;
  • Pressuring Facebook to address discrimination in online ads for housing, credit, and employment;
  • Advocating with local partners for the sealing of eviction records to prevent their use in tenant screening software;
  • Advising legal aid groups challenging technologies used in public benefits determinations;
  • Documenting the dangerous expansion of U.S. law enforcement agencies’ capabilities to search people’s mobile phones using forensic tools; and
  • Persuading Google to ban online payday loan ads, together with financial justice advocates.

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC. Learn more about Upturn on our website: https://www.upturn.org.

About the Position

This position is ideal for someone who is excited about sharp, interdisciplinary research on a range of topics related to technology, policy, and justice. You will:

  • Research and write policy memos, in collaboration with other members of the team;
  • Help prepare public reports, testimony, amicus briefs, and our weekly newsletter;
  • Track and analyze current policy developments across all of our priority issues;
  • Attend internal and external meetings, workshops, and other events; and
  • Provide support and feedback on major organizational policies, processes, and decisions.

You will join a small and growing organization that is collaborative, energetic, and fun. We will actively invest in your professional growth through training, feedback, and support. We are committed to building an inclusive, flexible, and welcoming workplace. We have a transparent culture and strive to include our entire staff when making strategic decisions.

Work Location

While we prefer candidates who are based in Washington, DC, or who are willing to relocate, we are open to hiring a candidate who lives elsewhere in the United States and can work remotely with occasional travel to DC. While all of our full-time staff are currently based in DC, we are committed to working collaboratively to create an equitable workplace, no matter your location.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, all of our staff are currently working remotely. We do not yet have a timeline for returning to the office. Nevertheless, for staff who feel comfortable and have a desire to do so, we have office space available.

Compensation and Benefits

The Research Associate salary begins at $65,000. For more details, see our compensation policy, which includes a description of roles and responsibilities at Upturn.

We provide a generous and comprehensive benefits package, including health, dental, vision, and disability insurance; a 403(b) retirement plan with a 10% employer contribution; open paid time off and flexible work hours; a monthly transit benefit; employer-sponsored medical and dependent care FSAs; and free lunch. We provide a one-time relocation stipend of $2,000 to new hires moving to DC.

About You

We welcome applicants from a broad range of backgrounds, especially those with lived experience with our areas of work. We’re looking for someone who is:

  • Interested in law and policy. This interest could be demonstrated through academic coursework, work experience, internships, volunteer work, or other lived experiences. If you don’t have specific experience but are interested in law and policy, please apply — we will help you develop these skills.
  • Committed to advancing racial and economic justice.
  • A clear written and verbal communicator.
  • An organized, detail-oriented, and instinctively curious researcher.
  • Eager to research and explain the nuts and bolts of technology.
  • Passionate about understanding the growing impact of technology on people’s lives.

We strongly encourage people of color, women, LGBTQ+ applicants, and people with disabilities to apply.

The Application and Interview Process

We want our application and interview process to be transparent for applicants. Not every candidate will move on to each stage of this process; we will update candidates about their status in the application process as quickly as is reasonably possible. At a minimum, the process for this position consists of the following stages:

  1. A review of the application, resume, and writing sample.
  2. A round 1 30-minute video interview.
  3. A round 2 30-minute video interview.
  4. A writing assignment.
  5. Reference checks.

We will work with applicants to provide reasonable accommodations during each stage of this process.

Applications are due by February 15, 2022. If you have any questions, please e-mail join@upturn.org.