Open Position: PDRI Director of Research

PDRI leadership is pleased to announce an opening for the Director of Research for the Penn Development Research Initiative (PDRI). More information can be found below.

Interested candidates please: Apply Here

Posted Job Title

Director of Research, Penn Development Research Initiative (PDRI)

Job Description Summary

The Penn Development Research Initiative (PDRI) at the University of Pennsylvania invites applications for a Director of Research position. This is a 3 year term appointment with the possibility for renewal.

Job Description

Established in 2020, the Penn Development Research Initiative (PDRI) brings together faculty and graduate students from seven schools across campus who have interests in international development, writ large. PDRI seeks to foster inter-disciplinary research by harnessing the extensive experience of its affiliates in both basic social science and program evaluation, drawing upon diverse disciplinary perspectives. PDRI serves as a launch pad for pursuing extramurally-funded research that includes, but not limited to, collaborations with international NGOs, local NGOs, and government agencies while serving as an intellectual community for Penn faculty and graduate students conducting research in developing countries settings.

The Director of Research will have dual responsibilities: advancing PDRI’s research activities and leading the development of various PDRI events and outputs.  As for research, the RPM will develop and manage research programs by conducting research activities, including conducting direct outreach to leadership at government agencies and nonprofits to explore new research opportunities, grant writing, liaising with implementing partners and other stakeholders in the humanitarian and international development space, supporting the writing of project reports for donors (interim reports; activity reports, etc.), assigning resources and making program improvement recommendations that impact policies and programs, managing project budgets, securing IRB approvals for existing projects, contracting survey firms / local consultants and supervising their work. The Director of Research will also be responsible for updating PDRI’s website, preparing bi-monthly newsletters, organizing weekly seminars and bi-annual conferences.  The Director will also support hiring of permanent staff (data coordinator and postdoctoral fellows) and supervise their work. Finally this position will take a lead role in raising core funding to support and expand PDRI’s activities (e.g., hiring additional staff, expanding menu of activities, etc.).        


  • Master’s Degree or PhD in Political Science, Economics, International Development or related field and at least 3-5 years conducting research or overseeing project implementation in developing country settings, or equivalent combination of education and experience.

  • Excellent communication and writing skills

  • Proven experience in successful grant writing


  • Managerial experience

  • Capability to do quantitative data analysis and use statistical software

The following application materials are requested:

  • Cover letter

  • Curriculum vitae or resume

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. PDRI is looking to fill this position as quickly as possible, though there is some flexibility with the start date.

Job Location – City, State

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania