Research Lead Position

Ayni Institute—Research Lead

Starting February 2017— applications considered on a rolling basis. 8 month contract. NYC, LA, or Boston preferred, but all applications considered. Full-time position. Work from home.

Ayni Institute seeks an experienced researcher to help produce a formal analytic report on the measurable impacts of popular social movements.

The goals of this project are to publish a comprehensive report on how philanthropic funders can strategically direct resources into organizations that drive and support mass mobilization. The analysis will be focused on measuring the influence of mass escalation and public pressure on political and social issues, using the field of criminal justice reform and anti-mass incarceration movements as a main focus area. The research will potentially allow a new class of funders to enter the field of funding movements, as well as provide frameworks for movement organizers to measure their strategic choices.


The researcher will primarily work with the Research Director (Paul Engler, co-author of This Is An Uprising) and Research Manager, and occasionally with other members of the Ayni team. They will be responsible for primary research, sourcing, databasing, drafting copy, consultant interviews, and preparing the report for final publishing. The team works remotely, so the bulk of the work will be done from home and over Skype, with occasional in-person retreats.

The researcher must have excellent investigative and analytical skills, and be meticulously attentive to detail and organization. Required to have experience and/or strong interest in theory and praxis of popular movement organizing and political analytics. Preference for familiarity with the “Momentum” theory and community of practice.


Responsibilities will include:

  • Targeted information gathering and maintenance of extensive research database

  • Compiling and analyzing political data (public opinion polls, media reporting, etc.); study and synthesis of civil resistance theory and case studies; close examination of criminal justice reform field

  • Conducting interviews with expert consultants and incorporating feedback from advisors

  • Long-form report development, including outlining content, drafting copy, incorporating edits, and tracking citations

  • Potential to assist in writing short articles to translate research findings to a public audience



  • Some previous research and/or writing experience, ideally at a research institute or department, academic institution, or in journalism. Professional experience with book research, fact-checking, or report analysis is a plus.

  • Strong writing and investigative research skills are required, including the ability to write engagingly, conduct consultant interviews, and search databases. Strong attention to accuracy and detail. Comfortable interpreting and synthesizing a wide variety of both quantitative data and theoretical analysis.  

  • Must be extremely self-driven and comfortable working with less management structure and without office space.

  • Some organizing or activist experience preferred, or close familiarity with the field.

  • Experience in the criminal justice or anti-mass incarceration field is a plus, but not required.

  • Training in Momentum theory and/or experience within momentum-driven movements is a plus, but not required.

  • Preference for location in New York City, Los Angeles, or Boston, but all applications will be considered.


Full-time position. Salary to be negotiated based on needs-based compensation.


About Ayni Institute

Ayni means reciprocity in Quechua, a language spoken by the people of the Andes. We honor ayni as the cornerstone of a resilient culture and a balanced world. Ayni Institute creates and supports systems of human organization capable of adapting to the profound shifts underway in our planet and societies. One of the core ways we do this is through research and trainings, which allow us to share tools and build communities of practice with those creating resilient organizations and movements.

To apply
Please send cover letter and resume to

Application deadline: February 6. Applications considered on a rolling basis.

Ayni Institute is an equal opportunity employer, and we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive team.

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  • published this page 2017-01-25 12:13:07 -0500