Urban Institute Equity Scholars Program


The Urban Institute is kicking off a new effort to grow the field of researchers building evidence on what it takes to accelerate racial justice and strengthen equity across society. Our Equity Scholars program offers emerging and established scholars the opportunity to deepen their own research on race, equity, and/or structural racism while contributing to equity-focused analyses underway at Urban. Over two years, Equity Scholars will participate in a cohort of several experts who will interrogate the effects of structural racism on people and places, develop evidence-based solutions to advance racial equity, and share their insights to decisionmakers best positioned to act. 

Interested in being a part of this inaugural group of scholars? Apply today to the Urban Institute Equity Scholars program, launching January 2022.

What you’ll work on

  • You will embed in one of Urban’s policy centers and develop and execute research with colleagues in your center.
  • You will partner with the director of Urban’s newly formed Office of Race and Equity Research to support research on race and equity taking place across Urban’s policy centers.
  • You will work to build your own bodies of work on areas of specific interest to you.
  • You will write and publish scholarly papers, op-eds, Urban Wire blog posts, or other research products in collaboration with Urban colleagues.
  • With your cohort, you will organize at least two events per year for Urban colleagues and/or external audiences.
Who you are

  • You are an early- to mid-career researcher (or an established senior scholar).
  • You hold a terminal degree (PhD, MD, or JD) or have a master’s degree or significant policy or other related experience that positions you to successfully pursue rigorous independent research.
  • You have a demonstrated commitment to policies, practices, or research methods that affect communities of color; improve the well-being of families with low to moderate incomes; address racial justice and mitigate injustice; and/or address equity issues related to the work of Urban’s policy centers.
  • You are seeking to hone an impactful research portfolio that focuses deeply on how equity, justice, and race intersect with communities, governance, and social systems.
  • You are committed to following the facts wherever they lead and to offering solutions to societal and policy challenges rooted in rigorous research.
  • You have a desire to learn how to secure funding for your research and build new connections in Washington, DC, the center of federal policymaking.
  • You have an entrepreneurial spirit, enjoy collaborating with others, and are interested in learning or devising new research technologies.
How Urban will support you

  • We will compensate you with a salary commensurate with your experience.
  • We will provide you with Urban’s comprehensive benefits package, as well as funds for supplemental supports, such as research assistants.
  • We will provide mentorship and regular engagements with research and executive leadership staff.
  • We will help you in developing your public presence and creating pathways to promote and expand the impact of your research.
  • We will offer a weekly seminar with a structured curriculum on topics such as business development and effective leadership. The curriculum will also include roundtable discussions with other scholars, Urban colleagues, and invited guests.
  • We will provide you with three executive coaching sessions per year.
Join Urban in building the evidence base on racial equity and structural racism.

Application deadline is June 1, 2021
Scholars will be announced by August 1, 2021
Program begins January 2022

How do I apply?

  • Apply to our online applicant system https://urban.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/en-US/Urban-Careers/job/The-Urban-Institute-DC/Equity-Scholars-Program_R-800943
  • Applications materials are due by June 1, 2021. Decisions will be announced by August 1, 2021. The Scholars program will begin in January of 2022.
  • The application materials consist of:
    • An academic CV (12 point-type, 1-inch margins)
    • Two letters of recommendations (one from a senior colleague, one from a peer with whom you have worked in a professional setting)
    • A statement of your research or other experiences that establish your commitment to public policy pertaining to communities of color, low- or moderate-income families, equity or justice. This statement should consist of no more 1500 words.
  • An additional writing sample of no more than 10 pages in length. It may include a previously published paper or a manuscript.
  • Applications will be assessed by a selection committee of Urban staff drawn from centers and from the Office of Race and Equity Research.

Questions? Contact equityscholars@urban.org.