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Research Associate -Test Science and Data Management

Who We Are

The Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) is a private, nonprofit corporation headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC. IDA’s mission is to answer the most challenging U.S. security and science policy questions with objective analysis leveraging extraordinary scientific, technical, and analytic expertise.  IDA operates three Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC’s).

Why Work for IDA?

We are seeking a Research Associate to join IDA’s largest division, the Operational Evaluation Division (OED). The Research Associate will facilitate data-driven decision-making by developing, applying, and disseminating statistical and data science methodologies, as well as supporting the development of database and software applications within IDA. The position supports and advises OED senior leadership on internal data analysis support efforts and will also advise senior government and military officials on data science methodologies. Work involves analyzing the design, execution, and results of testing of military and anti-terrorism systems.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Provide qualitative and quantitative analytic support to OED senior leadership and government sponsors (e.g., predictive modeling, analysis of internal program data, and analysis of sponsor data for the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security)
  • Assist in the preparation of documents (e.g., briefings and reports on the design, conduct, and findings of data analyses, graphs that clearly present findings from analyses, meeting materials)
  • Develop methods for dealing with the challenges of operational testing and improving data quality (e.g., develop data management and reproducible research best practices and tutorials)

What Will You Need?

We are seeking a highly analytical person who is able to both collaborate on cutting-edge research projects within OED while also conducting independent research that is relevant to OED’s primary task to support DHS and DoD in evaluating how effective, suitable, and survivable technologies and military systems are under operationally realistic conditions.

  • Candidates must have a Master’s degree, or a Bachelor's degree with 2+ years of experience in data science, statistics, human-systems engineering computer science or related discipline
  • Candidates must have experience with statistical programming (R or Python preferred)
  • Candidates must demonstrate basic SQL or database construction knowledge or an aptitude to learn
  • Ability to work within multidisciplinary teams
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Some travel may be required
  • Successful completion of a background check is required

Why work at IDA?

  • Comprehensive benefits including diverse health insurance options, generous 11% contribution to retirement, parental leave, 20 days paid time off (which increases with tenure), and relocation reimbursement;
  • Mission-oriented work at a non-profit that supports and protects our warfighters; as a non-profit, IDA employees are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSFL);
  • Professional development including tuition reimbursement, internal and external trainings, and funding for researcher-pitched projects and publications;
  • A strong employee and corporate culture of work-life balance, including commitment to average 40-hour work weeks through flex time, partial telework options, and expectation of communication only during core business hours;
  • A brand-new facility located in Alexandria’s high-tech corridor in Potomac Yard; amenities include a cafeteria, grab-n-go café, gym, and close proximity to local dining and shopping;
  • Easy access to Potomac Yard Metro stop and Potomac Yard DASH bus stop. Employer contributes $300/month (IRS max) to commuter benefits.

What are the next steps?

Complete the application and submit your resume/cover letter.

The interview process consists of three steps.

  • A short screening call with HR;
  • A 30 min – 60 min screening call with researchers; and
  • A full day interview with various researchers, HR and OED Director; includes giving a presentation on a research project.

Prior to the full day interview, you will be asked to provide:

  • Transcripts (unofficial accepted)
  • 3 contacts that are willing to write letters of recommendation
  • A writing sample
  • You will NOT be asked to do a take home / mock work assignment


U.S. Citizenship is required

Ability to obtain and maintain a security clearance is required

IDA is an equal opportunity employer committed to providing a fair recruiting process and working environment free from discrimination. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identify, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. Click here to learn more about IDA's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.