Job Type

Full Time


Details: Commensurate with experience.




New York
New York
United States


The Knight First Amendment Institute works to preserve and expand the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education. We aim to be a generator of new ideas and a distinctive voice for these fundamental freedoms in public discourse and in the courts. Over time, we expect to tackle a wide range of issues, such as free speech on social media, net neutrality, government surveillance, intermediary liability, the rights of whistleblowers, the right of journalists to protect their sources, the right of citizens to record and broadcast police activity, encryption, machine speech, and institutional transparency. In all of our work, our aim is to promote a system of free expression that is open and inclusive, that broadens and elevates public discourse, and that fosters creativity, accountability, and democratic self-government.

Reporting to the Director, the Research Director will be part of the Institute’s management team and will be responsible for overseeing a research program that facilitates rigorous interdisciplinary inquiry into issues relating to the Institute’s mission. This research program will draw on the Institute’s location at a world-class university to bring together scholars, students, practitioners, and policymakers to identify and tackle important open questions. The exact shape of the research program has not yet been determined; the Research Director will work with the Director, the Institute’s staff, and Columbia University professors from different departments to develop and implement a short- and medium-term operational plan.

Responsibilities include:

  1. Develop an interdisciplinary research program that leverages the Institute’s location at Columbia University to advance public knowledge and policy solutions in the Institute’s areas of concern;
  2. Oversee and manage the research program on a day-to-day basis;
  3. Collaborate with the Director and Columbia University professors to formulate and carry out research projects;
  4. Collaborate with the Director and the Institute’s staff to forge links between the Institute’s research program and its litigation and advocacy efforts;
  5. Work with the Director to develop fundraising proposals to support the research program, as appropriate;
  6. Work with the Director to develop grantmaking mechanisms and other strategies to recruit and support affiliated scholars, as appropriate;
  7. Educate the public about the scholarly and policy contributions being made by Institute-affiliated researchers; 
  8. Serve as a spokesperson for the Institute in the media regarding the research program;
  9. Build and maintain the Institute’s relationships with academic disciplines including law, journalism, and computer science;
  10. Supervise interns;
  11. Other duties as assigned. 

Minimum Qualifications for Grade

Bachelor’s degree required. Advanced degree desirable. Minimum five years related experience. 

Additional Position Specific Minimum Qualifications

Exceptional interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills. Strong background in academic research and publication. A demonstrated capacity to collaborate with scholars and to cultivate and evaluate ambitious research projects. A commitment to the Institute’s core values.The ambition and vision necessary to conceive of and implement a new research program at the Institute. 

Preferred Qualifications

A law degree or advanced degree in a relevant field other than law. Prior publications in academic journals. Experience in managing a research team. Experience working with media and legal organizations.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply

Candidates must apply through the Columbia University jobs site at

Required attachments for your application include:

  • Cover letter explaining your interest in the position, including a description of any relevant life or work experience
  • Resume

Additional information may be requested during the application process.