Council of State Governments
  • 20-Mar-2020 to 19-Apr-2020 (EST)
  • HQ-Center of Innovation
  • Lexington, KY, USA
  • Salary
  • Full Time

The Council of State Governments (CSG) is the nation's only organization serving all three branches of state government. CSG is a region-based forum that fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy. This offers unparalleled regional, national and international opportunities to network, develop leaders, collaborate and create problem-solving partnerships. To learn more about CSG please visit our website at We are currently seeking a Director of Research at our Lexington, KY national headquarters office. 


The Director of Research will be the lead researcher for the CSG Center of Innovation (COI). The Director of Research will develop and launch a leading research function to serve state policymakers. The position serves under the direction of the Chief Public Policy Officer (CPPO) who, through the CSG Center of Innovation, guides the development and delivery of innovative and creative programs, initiatives and services designed to provide state officials with the information and insights necessary for them to understand complex public policy issues and to better govern the states. 

The Director of Research will grow a team of researchers while working cross departmentally with policy, membership, communications, regional offices, affiliates and members to research best practices and provide analysis on today's most pressing state policy issues.  The position will oversee groundbreaking national research projects, support policy teams while working intensively in states and counties to analyze data spread across state systems. The Director will design and explore targeted research questions designed to advance the common good. The team will regularly collect and analyze vast amounts of data and present findings directly to elected and appointed officials at the local, state and federal level.


The Director of Research will:

  • Lead a highly skilled team that is focused on policy research;
  • Work collaboratively to support the policy projects portfolio;
  • Collaborate with senior leadership to develop and implement an organization-wide research agenda;
  • Represent COI research and projects externally to policymakers, members, stakeholders and funders;
  • Help shape and execute a long-range research agenda, including the coordination of research projects and staffing;
  • Stay abreast of emerging research pertinent to the policy work of CSG, including access to research journals and participation or attendance at forums or other convenings;
  • Lead efforts to generate additional and/or new sources of funding for research projects; manage research project budgets;
  • Launch, motivate and maintain a high-performing team; work with leadership to recruit new staff as appropriate, assure effective training/development of current and new staff, manage staff workload and evaluate performance;
  • Coordinate technical assistance to state and local governments through the collection and analysis of data, identification of trends and determine where opportunities exist for policymakers to improve and make public programs more efficient;
  • Represent CSG through participation in meetings of policymakers, practitioners and/or researchers;
  • Develop and implement policy and practice to ensure the accurate representation of data analysis and enable sufficient vetting of analyses wherever possible;
  • Develop, administer and oversee multiple projects including a portfolio of diverse sets of funding streams and budgets.
  • Provide CSG leadership with innovative high-level strategic guidance and planning to help achieve project objectives; ensure that projects take full advantage of all research resources;
  • Maintain strong working relationships with the CSG leadership, staff and members while ensuring strong engagement in research efforts; integrate research methods and priorities into key Center of Innovation plans and decisions;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to equity and inclusion;
  • Oversee the ongoing training and evaluation of all research staff, ensuring core competency in all critical research functions, and productive contribution to the overall research strategy;
  • Create opportunities for "knowledge transfer" to all staff, helping to increase the capacity and awareness of research methods and data-driven analytics across the entire organization.


  • Exceptional understanding of public policy and other administrative data, how it is stored, common challenges with analysis, and processes to access and analyze;
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully translate data and research into practical and policymaker-relevant insights in ways that are clear, concise, compelling and actionable;
  • Demonstrated ability to proactively launch and oversee the development of new initiatives and programs, including building successful new teams and adapting to changing environments;
  • High degree of familiarity with state and local government, including system dynamics and variation;
  • Ability to navigate and help provide expert assistance and troubleshooting around issues of data governance, interoperability, and data-sharing across agencies;
  • Successful track record of managing complex, multi-program initiatives including budget development, staff recruitment and work plan design;
  • Sophisticated understanding of advanced methods, processes, and techniques used to analyze trends and programmatic outcomes in state and local government systems;
  • Excellent analytical skills and knowledge of current trends, principal theories, leading thinkers and major concerns in public policy;
  • Exceptional management skills; an ability to plan, organize, follow through with staff; experience administering budgets and assessing organizational capacity;
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills, including the means to address issues in nonpartisan and non-polarizing ways;
  • Record of success in working collaboratively with a team of diverse people to achieve common goals;
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with policymakers, practitioners, scholars, community leaders, and the media;
  • Willingness to work from the HQ office in Lexington, KY and travel as needed.


  • Minimum of five years of project management experience, ideally within multiple public policy areas;
  • Demonstrated experience and knowledge of local, state and federal public policymaking and regulatory processes and state-federal relations.
  • Experience managing staff and budgets, preferably in a nonprofit/government organization
  • Strong preference for experience with in at least one state or local government system as a practitioner, policymaker, or agency leader.


Masters required and doctorate degree preferred in social science with practical experience in designing and administering research agendas directed at policy development.


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Frequently communicates with internal and external partners.
  • Frequently operates a computer to create policy briefs, memos and presentations.
  • Frequently remains in a stationary position to perform desk duties.
  • Frequently works in a well-lit, tempered room.
  • Occasionally moves throughout office to communicate to coworkers.
  • Seldom transports objects, such as files or paper boxes, with weight up to 25 pounds.
  • Periodic business travel including travel by car and/or airplane.


Interested applicants must complete the online application and must include a cover letter, resume and writing sample that is relevant to this position.

CSG is an Equal Opportunity Employer (Minorities/Females/Veterans/Disabled)

Council of State Governments
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