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Director, Research Policy

Association of Public & Land-grant Universities
District of Columbia, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Posted Date
Jun 3, 2022

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The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) is seeking a Director, Research Policy to lead the administration of the Council on Research (COR) and work on research policy issues related to sustaining the excellence of public research universities. COR is the nation’s largest organized group of senior research officers of research universities and focuses on communicating the importance and impact of university research; ensuring the resilience and security of the research enterprise; lowering the burden of regulatory compliance for research; and preparing and sustaining an expert and diverse scientific workforce. The Director collaborates closely with the Office of Public Affairs, Office of Governmental Affairs, and others to align efforts supporting policies around innovation and competitiveness. Successful candidates will have a deep understanding of how university research is conducted and supported, an ability to analyze policy issues, and exceptional representational skills. This full-time position is based in Washington, DC. APLU staff must reside in DC, MD, or VA, be up-to-date with their COVID vaccinations, and pass standard background checks. Employees of APLU are eligible to telework at least two days per week. For more information, consult


Background on APLU

APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.  With a membership of 245 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, APLU's agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement.  Annually, member campuses enroll 5.0 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.3 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $49.5 billion in university-based research.


The Council on Research (COR) is composed of the senior research and graduate officers: vice presidents for research and graduate deans. CoR provides a forum for the discussion of research development and management, research policies and regulation, budget strategies, faculty roles, graduate education, research collaboration among universities and across sectors, and the importance of research to the overall mission of APLU member institutions. 


Primary Responsibilities

  • Direct COR initiatives, executive committee, and working groups, in coordination with supervisor, the Sr. Vice President and COR leadership.
  • Oversee the COR Fellows program and member engagement activities such as COR officer nominations and elections.
  • Design, lead and facilitate sophisticated workshops and conferences, including COR monthly meetings, webinars, summer meeting sessions and annual meeting sessions.
  • Support COR members in creating more diverse faculties and inclusive research environments on their own campuses as well as fostering greater diversity among the ranks of university senior research officers.
  • Develop and implement the COR communications and marketing strategy, including the newsletter, website content, member announcements, meeting content etc. Work in close collaboration with the Office of Public Affairs on APLU-wide communication products.
  • Manage other members of the office team to track and analyze COR member engagement, seeking particularly to engage underrepresented members and institutions.
  • Collaborate with the Associate Vice President for Research Policy and Government Affairs, members of COR, APLU’s Office of Public Affairs, other APLU vice presidents and association staff to identify emerging policy issues, monitor federal research agencies’ policies and legislative proposals and help develop APLU’s position on research policy and the university research enterprise. Policy issues could include:
    • Research Policy: Science and security; diversity and demographic change in the scientific workforce; engaging Minority Serving Institutions in research partnerships; regional and institutional diversity in federal research programs; sexual harassment; open and public access to data and publications; data reproducibility; and research integrity.
    • Regulatory Policy: Cost, administrative, and merit review policies. Working with federal partners and other stakeholders to reduce unnecessary regulatory compliance burdens impacting research universities. Additional matters may include engaging in regulatory discussions and initiatives focused on export controls, select agents, dual use research, bioethics, human subjects research, animal research, and others as needed.
    • Research Promotion and Advocacy: Develop more effective means of conveying the value of research as part of the overall societal importance of public research universities and incorporating work in all scientific fields, including life, social, and physical sciences as well as engineering.
  • Develop expertise and track key federal policy issues in close collaboration with other APLU staff and engage a wide array of APLU research leaders and other stakeholders and relevant external audiences to achieve APLU objectives. Analyze policy and write position papers, collect best practices and other data from COR membership, speak at national meetings, etc. on issues of importance to CoR and APLU.
  • In collaboration with Governmental Affairs, establish APLU’s research policy positions and represent APLU at stakeholder meetings, including with White House, federal agencies, industry groups, and professional societies; and educate relevant stakeholders about the university research enterprise and the impact of proposed regulatory actions.
  • Participate as an integral member of the STEM Education and Research Policy team, and APLU employee, and contribute to an inclusive, welcoming, and collegial workplace.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Preferred Qualifications

  • A Ph.D. in a relevant field (or equivalent experience) plus at least four years of relevant work experience, preferably in a policy fellowship or similar program (such as AAAS) in a federal executive or legislative branch office.
  • Deep understanding of university research, including significant expertise in a STEM field. Working knowledge of university structures, organizations, and cultures. Experience and understanding of university issues and experiences of individuals from underrepresented groups in STEM.
  • Demonstrated outstanding communication skills, including interpersonal, public speaking, and writing, including the capacity to describe technical matters to a lay audience.
  • Ability to facilitate committees, working groups, and networks to develop and implement common objectives.
  • Experience analyzing federal, university policy, and/or administrative issues.
  • Working knowledge of federal policymaking, legislative, and regulatory processes.
  • A creative mind that can translate complex, detailed information into compelling content for multiple audiences.
  • Self-starter with ability to identify opportunities and develop and implement initiatives.
  • Ability to work under minimal supervision and as part of a team.
  • Excellent Microsoft Office Suite skills.
  • Willingness to travel several times per year.
  • A deep commitment to advancing higher education issues, particularly in the area of research and science policy.
  • A great sense of humor, particularly in times of tight deadlines and a heavy workload.


To Apply

Applications should be submitted to APLU’s Human Resources Department at with the subject line of Director, Research Policy. Applications should include the following: (1) cover letter; (2) resume; and (3) A 500-word assessment of a pressing public policy issue facing public research universities. Applications will be reviewed as received and continue until the position is filled with preference given to applications received by July 1, 2022. APLU provides a generous benefits package. 


APLU is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer and is committed to a diverse, inclusive, and equitable work environment and promoting a sense of belonging, which includes recruiting, employing, training, compensating and promoting staff regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.

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