May 17, 2021

The application period for this opportunity has ended. Thanks to everyone who applied!

The Public Policy Lab is seeking a senior design-research fellow to join our team as a fellow from July 2021 to July 2022. We are accepting applications until May 28, 2021.

What will the fellow do?

The senior design-research fellow will contribute to all phases of PPL project work—from discovery research through pilot evaluation—and to organizational development, communications, and events.

Expected project activities include creating research plans, designing stimuli for research activities, recruiting and leading research with members of the public, synthesizing and generating visual representations of research findings, filming and photographing research activities, developing preliminary service and tool prototypes, collaboratively designing and testing prototypes with stakeholders, creating pilot-implementation plans, training project partners, evaluating program outcomes and impact, documenting all of these activities in print and digital formats, and participating in project partner presentations.

What projects are anticipated?

Fellows will participate in PPL collaborations with multiple government agencies. During the fellowship period, PPL expects to design and test policy and programs that:

  • help shelter staff better assist homeless New Yorkers in finding permanent housing,
  • understand how hospital staff are trained in infection-control procedures,
  • support public-housing residents access services in their development, and
  • coordinate social services and mental-health supports for child wellbeing.

Additional project topics may arise over the course of the fellowship period.

What are the benefits of the fellowship?
Social Impact

By participating in PPL service design projects, the fellow will have an impact on policy and public services affecting millions of Americans.

Skills Building & Mentorship

The fellow will be mentored by senior PPL staff and gain practical experience in PPL’s tested methodologies for making change in complex systems, while working in collaboration with government policy and operations leads, frontline service providers, and members of the public.

Through the fellowship, participants can expect to grow their skills in team collaboration, time management, emotional intelligence, adaptability, public speaking, and facilitation.

Network Growth

The fellow will be exposed to public-interest organizations across the public, private, and social sectors. Fellows join PPL’s international network of fellows, a community of leading professionals with expertise in research, design, strategy, and policymaking.

Salary & Benefits

The fellow will receive health benefits and pay at an annual salary rate of $75,000, subject to entering into a temporary employment agreement with PPL. Upon completion of the fellowship, there may be opportunities for the fellow to transition into a staff position.

What are the requirements?

Fellows are expected to work at PPL five days per week. Currently, PPL is operating with a remote-first work policy due to ongoing public-health guidance. However, once new guidance is issued, PPL plans to adopt a hybrid work model with staff coming to our Brooklyn office for collaborative work on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It is expected that anyone who comes to the office will be fully vaccinated. Given this plan to return to some in-person work in the coming months, we expect the fellow to be based in New York City.

While this is a senior research position, we are not only seeking candidates from traditional research backgrounds. Folks from social services, community advocacy, and other pathways are welcome to apply.

Required Research Qualifications
  • A degree in design, social science or other related field (Master’s degree preferred).
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, Keynote, and Dropbox expected, and collaboration tools such as Slack desired. Advantageous to have proficiency in the Adobe Suite and Figma.
  • At least 6 years of professional experience, preferably with at least 2 to 3 years at a design agency or research firm.
  • Background and interest in using design-research methods, particularly ethnographic methods.
  • Ability to work with a broad range of partners in a variety of communities; particularly with a strong ability to engage respectfully with individuals from historically under-represented communities.
  • Experience leading research engagements, interacting with clients, managing data collection, and guiding team workflows.
  • Strong writing skills, including especially an ability to translate research insights and complex concepts into compelling written stories and content.
Additional Desired Qualifications

We don’t expect any candidate to have all the following skills, but multiple of them will be appreciated:

  • Familiarity with design practices relating to human-centered design, such as co-design, concept development, and prototyping.
  • Familiarity with creating design stimuli, cultural probes, storyboards, wireframes, and other tools to drive participatory prototyping.
  • Knowledge of data analysis, behavioral design, and systemic design.
  • Fluency in Spanish particularly appreciated, and fluency in other major New York City languages is also helpful.
  • Strong storytelling skills for creating artifacts and delivering compelling presentations to project partners and communities.
  • Understanding of project management, particularly timelines and budgets.
Application Timeline

The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. on May 28th.

What else should you know?

PPL believes that our work—and all policymaking—will be most effective when we reflect the communities that we serve. To that end, we encourage people to apply to this fellowship from historically marginalized groups, including but not limited to people of color; people from low-income, LGBTQIA, and immigrant communities; and formerly incarcerated people.

Work/life balance is important to us. We close our office for several weeks each year and generally restrict work communications to weekday business hours.

We believe that good design starts at home: PPL can only generate meaningful policy and service designs if our team finds meaning, satisfaction, and growth in our work. We regularly discuss our values, and we explore ways to be better for each other and in the world.

Employment Policies

The Public Policy Lab is an Equal Opportunity Employer; all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, creed, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local laws.

We can only consider candidates already authorized to work in the United States. We do not provide relocation expenses. Nothing in this job posting or description should be construed as an offer or guarantee of employment.

Ready to Apply?

Use this form to submit your info. We look forward to hearing from you!