Career Field: Think Tanks & Research Centers

Sample Employers 

Think Tanks with DC Offices (See below for Examples of think tanks located outside Washington, DC and Membership Organizations and Professional Resouorces)

Think tanks located outside Washington, DC

For think tank employment opportunities outside of (and even within) DC, do not underestimate the value of universities.  Many host research institutes and centers.  For example, many think tanks are associated with Harvard University, although only one is listed here.

Membership Organizations and Professional Resources


Think Tanks and Research Centers Overview

Think Tanks and Research Centers employ interdisciplinary approaches to finding long-term solutions to policy-related issues and are often supported by contracts and grants from the government, foundations, private businesses, and endowments.  Work can also include major publications, professional conferences and policy debates, Congressional testimony, op-ed articles and government task force service.

Typical Career Positions

Program Assistant:  Manages a range of program support functions including logistics for major program events, meetings, conferences and international visits, public affairs, development, and other operational roles.

Jr. Research Associate/Assistant: Provides research support to Fellows and Senior Associates, drafts documents, manages database records, handles correspondence, and provides general administrative support.

Research Associate: Develops and implements research plans, prepares funding proposals, analyzes data, synthesizes findings, and publishes and presents findings to various audiences.

A common career trajectory moves from Research Associate to Senior/Principal Research Associate/Senior Fellows to Associate Program Director and then Director positions.