Program Officer, Social Data Initiative

Job Type

Full Time



Application Deadline



300 Cadman Plaza West
New York
United States



The Social Science Research Council seeks a Program Officer for the Social Data Initiative (SDI). This position will report to the SDI Program Director and will manage one of the SSRC’s newest and largest programs: the Social Media and Democracy Research Grant program.


The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) is an independent, international, nonprofit organization devoted to the advancement of interdisciplinary research in the social sciences through a wide variety of workshops and conferences, fellowships and grants, summer training institutes, scholarly exchanges, research, and publications. For more information, please visit our website:

The longstanding study of media effects on democracy has taken on new resonance with the rise of social media platforms, the dramatic change in the business model of traditional news media, the influence of algorithms on advertising, and increasingly globalized and interconnected communications. The Social Data Initiative (SDI) at the SSRC was launched to examine the impact of social media on society, explore questions about the responsible use of social network data, generate insights to inform policy at the intersection of media, technology, and democracy, and advance new avenues for future research. The SSRC, as a respected and nonpartisan organization, is acting as a trusted broker to bridge new collaborations between industry and academia in partnership with a consortium of foundations, and will administer a number of grants on a rolling basis. To learn more, visit the program page on our website.

This is a one year appointment, with potential for renewal contingent on funding.


  • Manage, in partnership with the Program Director, the planning and operations of a rolling grants competition, including its promotion, application process, peer-review process, and awards.
  • Conduct research related to the intellectual vision of the program, contribute to strategic planning, and monitor and evaluate adherence to program protocols.
  • Communicate and correspond with SDI applicants, awardees, peer-review panels, and other SDI partners.
  • Organize and facilitate peer-review meetings, workshops for fellows, and other program-related events.
  • Represent SDI in internal and external meetings, briefings, and conferences, including academic and industry conferences both in the US and internationally. The ability to travel is necessary.
  • Facilitate communications and network-building among review panels, fellows, researchers, policymakers, and institutions in the United States and internationally.
  • Oversee the initiative’s electronic applications portal, database, website, and social media.
  • Track program budget and write annual reports and proposals to funders. Responsible for program budget administration, expenses, and reporting on financial health of the program.
  • Liaise with the SSRC Fellowships Office team to share and integrate best practices for program administration.
  • Supervise the SDI staff.
  • Other responsibilities and projects, as required.



·        PhD in one of the social sciences or a closely related field.

·        High level of interest in and a strong commitment to understanding the impacts of social media on society and the importance to the public of unfettered research on privately held datasets.

·        An understanding of quantitative social sciences or data science methods and practices.

·        Familiarity with and a strong interest in programs designed to support and strengthen the work of researchers.

·        Record of demonstrated success in administering complex tasks in an office environment and ability to manage multiple priorities and projects.

·        Excellent interpersonal and organizational skills, attention to detail, and a high degree of professionalism.

·        Team player with demonstrated ability to take initiative, work independently, and respond flexibly to changing demands.

·        Ability to write clear and compelling prose and to communicate effectively to a variety of stakeholders.

·        Availability for international and domestic travel.

·        Strong computer skills (Word, Excel, databases, internet).


·        Administrative experience - such as work for similar programs, supervision of support personnel, or preparation and/or review of grant proposals.

Application Information

Applications should be received by July 25, 2018, for priority consideration. Applications will be accepted until the position has been filled.

The Social Science Research Council is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. We are dedicated to equal employment opportunity and to cultivating and sustaining a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce. The SSRC maintains a policy of non-discrimination with all employees and applicants for employment. All aspects of employment with the Council are made on the basis of competence, skill and qualifications and will not be influenced in any manner by race, creed, color, religion, sex/gender, national origin/ancestry, ethnicity, age, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital or domestic partner status, medical conditions (including pregnancy and/or genetic information) or physical or mental disability, citizenship status or any other categories prohibited by law.


Annual salary will be commensurate with experience. Comprehensive benefits include health, dental vision, disability, life, and gym reimbursement; outstanding pension plan and tax savings programs; generous vacation and sick leave; and more. Provisions are made for professional staff to continue their development as professional social scientists while at the Council.

Level of Language Proficiency


Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

Doctorate (PhD)

How To Apply

Applications should be received by July 25th, 2018 for priority consideration. Applications will be accepted until the position has been filled.