Research Assistant

Migration Policy Institute (MPI) Research assistant
Location Washington DC, United States
Application deadline 20 April 2021
Contract type Permanent
Hours Full-time
Salary Competitive salary
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The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) is an independent, nonpartisan think tank that seeks to improve immigration and integration policies through authoritative research and analysis, opportunities for learning and dialogue, and the development of new ideas to address complex policy questions. MPI is committed to recruiting, hiring, retaining, and developing staff at all levels who reflect the breadth of experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives in the countries where we work. This encourages diversity of thought that enriches and adds greater credibility to our work. As such, we are committed to making sure that staff members of all backgrounds work in an inclusive environment with equity and access for all.

MPI’s Latin America Initiative is an interdisciplinary policy laboratory developing innovative, evidence-based, and politically feasible solutions to the region’s migration challenges. From advising and creating dialogue among countries, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations on migration and immigrant integration issues to crafting policy recommendations and memos for governments in the process of rethinking their border or integration policies, the Latin America Initiative strives to inform critical policy debates in the region.

The role

As a Research Assistant, you will be expected to quickly achieve proficiency across the range of projects that MPI’s Latin America Initiative is engaged in and provide critical management, administrative, and logistical support to advance the Institute’s mission. You will also be expected to bolster the brainpower of the team through your strong analytical and writing skills. Private and public events are also a big component of what the Initiative does to foster critical discussions. This means you will need to rapidly come to understand the landscape of Latin America’s migration policy community; research the appropriate policymakers, thought leaders, and organizations to connect with; and manage the appropriate event functions, from drafting invitations to following up with potential speakers. If you are organized, proactive, curious, an avid reader, have strong research and writing skills in both English and Spanish, and want to spend the next several years in an organization where you can grow, MPI is the place for you.

Key roles and responsibilities


  • Support the design, management, and execution of research projects relating to migration policy in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Conduct literature reviews; assist with quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis; and contribute to analytical research products, ensuring timeliness and accuracy.
  • Contribute to and/or co-author explanatory and analytical reports, policy briefs, and other research materials, under the supervision of senior staff.

Project Coordination

  • Support the Latin America Senior Program Manager with project and team management, procurement, and other administrative tasks where necessary.
  • Routinely draft official correspondence and develop project materials.
  • Plan and execute fieldwork and key interviews through on-site visits and virtual platforms.
  • Assist in the organization of public and private roundtables and events (e.g., developing event agendas, drafting invitations, and coordinating with speakers) under the supervision of senior staff.


  • Support the Latin America Initiative with conceptualizing and contributing to funding proposals for key donors and partners in support of MPI’s projects in the region.
  • Participate actively as a member of MPI’s staff in institutional planning and internal meetings and discussions.
  • Actively monitor current migration debates and developments.

Experience and skills

Required Skills

  • Excellent English and Spanish writing skills and speaking fluency. (Finalists will be asked to complete writing and oral exercises.)
  • High-motivation and initiative; ability to handle multiple assignments, prioritize, and meet deadlines in a fast-paced, changing environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively and work both independently and as part of a team.
  • Proven research, organization, and project management skills.
  • Ability to understand and succinctly synthesize complex policy decisions.
  • Knowledge of governmental and nongovernmental institutions, legislation, key migration policy issues, and socioeconomic context in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Academic and/or professional background in migration policy or related field.

Preferred Skills

  • At least one year of prior professional experience in public policy, international development, or a related field.
  • Prior experience conducting policy analysis, qualitative field research, and/or quantitative research in academia, a think tank, international organization, international development program, and/or in the governmental sector.
  • Excellent ability to convey complex issues to a nonspecialist audience, verbally and in writing.
  • Knowledge of SPSS, STATA, and/or Tableau.

Other useful information

This position comes with a competitive salary, commensurate with experience, and a generous benefits package.