Director of Research

Job Type

Full Time



Start Date


Application Deadline



140 S. Dearborn St.
Suite 1400
United States


Since 1934, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has been dedicated to shaping a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous greater Chicago region. As an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, MPC serves communities and residents by developing, promoting and implementing solutions for sound regional growth.For more information on MPC, please visit our website:

MPC is hiring a full-time Director of Research responsible for the oversight, execution and growth of all of the organization’s research activities. The Director of Research provides cross-organizational leadership to enable MPC to create a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous region. 

MPC is seeking a highly motivated individual with a background in public policy research. Strong writing, external relationship-building, project management, analytical and policy development skills are required. The ability to work in teams and lead others is essential. The position offers the opportunity to work closely with multiple colleagues, functions and teams, both internally and externally. 

The Director of Research contributes to the development of organization-wide research strategies and ensures that all research activities are advancing the goals within MPC’s annual workplan. This position supervises a Research Associate and several undergraduate and/or graduate student research interns, and shapes research products of a range of project-specific staff.

Primary responsibilities:

  • Direct the organization’s research on topical areas including: housing, community and economic development; natural resources, water policy and stormwater; transportation and infrastructure finance; government effectiveness; land use; demographic trends; and more.
  • Work with staff, interns, partner organizations and consultants to identify, scope and execute MPC’s research agenda
  • Conduct primary quantitative and qualitative research and produce products for dissemination
  • Share research results in a number of formats, including MPC’s Regionalist newsletter, blogs, publications, journal articles, presentations, social media and donor reports
  • Direct and shape the production of a State of the Region report on key regional vitality and quality of life measures to coincide with MPC’s 85th anniversary in March 2019
  • Track region-wide data trends and analyze large datasets specific to MPC’s program priorities
  • Broaden MPC’s network of government, business, academic, civic and media partners to support MPC’s role as a convener and thought-leader on regional challenges
  • Work closely with MPC’s communication’s team to share primary research and articles with a variety of audiences, including elected officials and the media
  • Manage external consultants, both paid and pro-bono
  • Collaborate with MPC staff and volunteers on media inquiries, talking points, blog content, presentation collateral, etc.


MPC seeks an organized, high-energy individual who thrives in a collegial work environment and is able to juggle multiple deadlines. The ideal candidate holds a degree in an area requiring integrative and analytical thinking (e.g. Social Sciences, Economics, Finance, Statistics, Public Policy, Journalism, Urban Planning or other relevant field) and has at least five years of relevant work experience.

Knowledge, skills and abilities:

  • Demonstrable team management expertise
  • Strong quantitative and analytical skills (i.e. familiarity with platforms such as Microsoft Access, ArcGIS, etc.)
  • Extensive knowledge of dataset content/availability and strong ability to quickly gather and analyze large datasets
  • Established credibility through an innovative portfolio of research and policy work that complements MPC’s mission
  • Ability to multi-task among competing, often changing needs
  • Knowledge of relevant actors, institutions and the political process in Illinois and the Chicago region
  • Excellent communications, both oral and written, to convey complex data and information to the public and audiences with different levels of expertise
  • Ability to engage and motivate colleagues and volunteers at all levels
  • Entrepreneurial self-starter who can work independently and in teams to deliver high-quality work on deadline in a fast-paced, intellectually stimulating environment
  • Mature judgement
  • Curiosity about challenges facing the Chicago region and ideas for solutions
  • Passionate about the body of issues that MPC addresses and commitment to supporting the organization’s mission
  • High degree of professionalism with a demonstrated ability to manage responsibilities with alacrity, integrity and tact

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply

How to apply:

Please send the following materials by e-mail to 

  1. A cover letter detailing how your experience relates to the job description; 
  2. Your résumé;
  3. A brief writing sample; and 
  4. Three professional references.

Skyler Larrimore 

Metropolitan Planning Council

140 S. Dearborn, Suite 1400

Chicago, Ill. 60603  

No phone calls please.  For more information on MPC, please visit our website:

MPC is proud to be an equal opportunity employer.