Work type



Capability Area

Research and Survey

Senior Research Scientist - Public Affairs and Media Research

Apply now Job no: 495740 Work type: Regular Full-Time Location: Chicago – 55 East Monroe Street, IL Capability Area: Public Affairs & Media


NORC at the University of Chicago seeks a qualified Senior Research Scientist to join its Public Affairs and Media Research Department senior staff in our Chicago, IL or Bethesda, MD office. The Senior Research Scientist’s primary responsibilities include working closely with the department’s leadership team to develop new research specializations and projects, identify new business opportunities, develop and maintain funder and client relationships, and secure contracts and grants for research and journalism initiatives.

While our main office locations are in Chicago, IL and Bethesda, MD, we will consider qualified candidates who prefer to work remotely.


The Public Affairs and Media Research Department conducts high-quality research for our clients in order to deliver reliable insights that fuel effective business and communication strategies. We provide the nuanced understanding of people’s opinions, beliefs, and behaviors that organizations need to understand and serve their audiences in a world of vast and accelerating change. Our clients comprise some of the nation’s most influential and forward-looking media companies, PR and consulting firms, philanthropies, and policymaking organizations.

The Public Affairs and Media Research Department team has expertise with a wide array of important issues and a broad range of populations, including hard-to-reach groups such as young people and Latinos. The department is also home to The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The AP-NORC Center was created to join the expertise of NORC, one of the world’s premier independent research organizations, with The AP, which provides news seen every day over all media platforms and formats by more than half of the world’s population. This combination of rigorous, objective research and reliable, unbiased journalism has unmatched potential to reach both broad audiences and policy makers at every governmental level, creating a seamless transition from the gathering of survey-based information to a more fully-informed society.

Through The AP-NORC Center and our relationships with other leading news and media organizations, we are able to work with our clients to position research findings for the journalists, policymakers, and thought leaders who can amplify their impact.

  • Providing research expertise and serving as a subject matter expert to obtain funding for, plan, and execute research studies
  • Leading strategic projects by providing technical input and direction to staff regarding research design, questionnaire content, data analysis, and study conclusions
  • Independently drafting and managing contract proposals and grant applications including estimating project budgets
  • Communicating effectively with key strategic partners inside and outside of NORC, as well as current and prospective funders and clients to advance the Department’s strategic initiatives
  • Conducting business development research and using business intelligence tools to evaluate specific opportunities
  • Managing small teams to carry out strategic initiatives and business development opportunities, including monitoring and oversight of finances and administration for the projects
  • Serving as a primary funder and client contact for overall project quality and delivery
  • Bachelor's degree required, Master's or PhD strongly preferred
  • At least 9 years’ experience in positions of increasing responsibility in social science research or related field (or equivalent education) including at least 3 years of social science project management as well as experience with the design and execution of social science research and in publishing research results, with a strong career-appropriate record of peer-reviewed technical publications. Must have a proven ability to secure projects (contracts or grants)
  • Training in an array of social science, journalism, and marketing disciplines will be considered
  • Experience managing client relationships, complex projects, and budgetary oversight in academic research, consulting, market research, public relations, private sector, or non-profit settings
  • Candidates should have experience with the design and execution of social science research and disseminating research findings across a variety of platforms. Specific experience in news consumer research and trends in journalism preferred, but not required
  • A demonstrated record of developing new business relationships and securing funding from non-profit and commercial organizations
  • The candidate must have excellent oral and written communication skills and an aptitude in leading and working with project teams as well as coordinating on work conducted across the Department

NORC at the University of Chicago is an objective, non-partisan research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. Since 1941, our teams have conducted groundbreaking studies, created and applied innovative methods and tools, and advanced principles of scientific integrity and collaboration. Today, government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world partner with us to transform increasingly complex information into useful knowledge.


For over 75 years, NORC has evolved in many ways, moving the needle with research methods, technical applications and groundbreaking research findings. But our tradition of excellence, passion for innovation, and commitment to collegiality have remained constant components of who we are as a brand, and who each of us is as a member of the NORC team. With world-class benefits, a business casual environment, and an emphasis on continuous learning, NORC is a place where people join for the stellar research and analysis work for which we’re known, and stay for the relationships they form with their colleagues who take pride in the impact their work is making on a global scale.


NORC is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer that values and actively seeks diversity in the workforce. NORC evaluates qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other legally- protected characteristics.


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