Senior Researcher

Apply now Job no: 495503
Work type: Staff Full-Time
Location: Denver, CO
Categories: Research

The Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab at the University of Denver was created under the leadership of the Governor’s Office to unlock data-informed solutions to our most pressing social problems. Working together with a broad range of government and community partners, we conduct research with rigor to obtain the best available evidence to inform policies, programs, and investments. Our goal is to leverage data to inform policy and practice, set the wheels in motion to achieve and sustain change, and position our partners to pursue additional, meaningful change for the communities they serve with the guidance of eight essential elements: Prioritize Relationships, Learn Together, Apply Rigor, Activate Findings, Sustain Change, Make Connections, Welcome Risk for Reward, and act as a Bridge to the Research Community.

The Colorado Lab team currently consists of a four-person management team and an eight-person research team. The Colorado Lab also works closely with a network of affiliated researchers throughout the state. Colorado Lab research staff are required to possess a solid intuitive understanding of rigorous research methods and why they work, strong written and oral communication skills for explaining technical topics to non-experts, and coding skills necessary to manage and analyze longitudinal data efficiently. Staff members are expected to engage in a collaborative learning environment where employees are highly responsive to each other as well as to government and research partners. Staff hold themselves and each other responsible for completing high quality, well-documented work in a timely fashion. The Colorado Lab seeks to add two additional staff members at the Senior Researcher level with a start date of November 7, 2022.

Essential Functions

  • Productively engage in reciprocal partnerships with governmental agencies and external researchers. The Colorado Lab is highly interactive with policymakers, and all staff are expected to play a role in supporting this value. 
  • Develop analysis plans for a variety of research designs, including causal evaluations. 
  • Complete a variety of analytic tasks, including data management and analysis, based on a project plan, recommending deviations from the plan as appropriate.
  • Shepherd projects through the Institutional Review Board process. 
  • Develop deliverables matched to project goals (e.g., research reports, infographics, program implementation guides, fidelity monitoring tools, and legislative reports).
  • Effectively communicate orally and in writing to a non-technical audience about technical analytic and policy issues. Develop data visualizations. Develop content for layered communication such as executive summaries, factsheets, social media messaging. 
  • Translate policy or practice questions into rigorous research designs. Engage government partners in this process to ensure research designs are matched to decision-making goals.
  • At the request of Project Directors or Management Team, support the development of grant proposals; however, fundraising and new project development is not a primary responsibility for this role. 
  • Provide project-specific mentorship for staff researchers. 
  • Engage in other duties as necessary, requested, and appropriate to support the mission of the Colorado Lab.

Depending on experience and complexity of the project, the Sr. Researcher will take on one or more of the following roles within a project: project director, project manager, and/or researcher. Read more about these roles here.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities 

  • Demonstrated passion for improving government performance and addressing complex social problems.
  • Excellence in both written and oral communications.
  • Experience with technical writing for peers, policy memos for policymakers and practitioners, slide decks, and public speaking.
  • Exceptional project management capabilities and creativity in problem solving.
  • Outstanding quantitative and analytical skills, including making and documenting decisions about how to match analysis to research design when data are missing, baseline equivalence is not met, or there are other limitations to the data.  
  • Experience using a variety of statistical programs (e.g., STATA, R, SPSS, SAS).
  • Experience generating and/or using data to drive insights and action.
  • Track record of adeptly navigating complex organizations, developing trust with senior leaders, and building relationships among diverse groups of stakeholders.
  • Self-motivated with an orientation towards results achieved through a collaborative process and a track record of driving results with limited supervisory direction.
  • Eagerness to learn, attention to detail, and ability to multi-task.

Required Qualifications

  • PhD in public policy, public health, anthropology, sociology, economics, criminal justice, law, or a related field; and three years of experience leading research projects (e.g., principal investigator, co-principal investigator, lead evaluator); OR  
  • Master’s degree in public policy, public health, anthropology, sociology, economics, criminal justice, law, or a related field; and five years of experience with leadership roles in research projects); AND
  • In-depth knowledge of at least one major area of domestic social policy (e.g., education, child welfare, criminal justice, health care). 

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience in implementation science.
  • Expertise in causal research studies.
  • Experience in data visualization.
  • Track record of leading complex research projects aligned with government partner’s decision-making goals.
  • Experience working with local, state, or federal government.
  • Experience working with large administrative datasets.
  • Experience working with government and the policy-making process. 
  • Demonstrable experience working with diverse communities and populations.

Work Schedule

Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. MST. Must be based in Denver region with a balance of virtual and in-person work.

Application Deadline 

For best consideration, please submit your application materials by 4:00pm (MST) September 27, 2022.

Special Instructions

Candidates must apply online through to be considered. Only applications submitted online will be accepted. Once within the job description online, please scroll to the bottom of the page to apply. If you have questions regarding this position, please contact Elysia Clemens at

Please include the following documents with your application:

  1. Resume
  2. A cover letter that specifies “Sr. Researcher” and details your experience relative to these roles
  3. Writing sample (excerpt max 4 pages). If you are not the sole author, provide a brief description of your role in the developing the product. 

 Salary Grade Number

The salary grade for the position is 12.

Salary Range

The salary range for this position is $80,000-$90,000.

The University of Denver has provided a compensation range that represents its good faith estimate of what the University may pay for the position at the time of posting. The University may ultimately pay more or less than the posted compensation range. The salary offered to the selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as the qualifications of the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal salary equity considerations, and available market information, but not based on a candidate’s sex or any other protected status.


The University of Denver offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO pass. The University of Denver is a private institution that empowers students who want to make a difference. Learn more about the University of Denver.

The University of Denver is an equal opportunity employer. The University of Denver prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age (40 years and over in the employment context), religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital status, veterans status, and any other class of individuals protected from discrimination under federal, state, or local law, regulation, or ordinance in any of the university's educational programs and activities, and in the employment (including application for employment) and admissions (including application for admission) context, as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended in 2008; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Age Discrimination Act of 1975; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; and any other federal, state, and local laws, regulations, or ordinances that prohibit discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation. For the university's complete Non-Discrimination Statement, please see non‑discrimination‑statement.

All offers of employment are based upon satisfactory completion of a criminal history background check.

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