Datapraxis works to help democracy flourish. Our partners include leading progressive parties, non-profits and research institutes across Europe. Our work combines expertise in strategy, research, data science and modelling, message-testing, campaigns and digital engagement.
We are now seeking a Research Director and/or Chief Data Scientist to join our leadership team. This is an exciting senior role, perfect for someone with deep expertise in public opinion research and/or data science in the social & political arenas.
The purpose of this role is to provide management and leadership for Datapraxis’s research, development and innovation programmes. We are looking for exceptional candidates who combine rigour with creativity; who balance deep understanding with a pragmatic, hands-on attitude to delivering results; and who are motivated to use their skills to make the world a better place.
You will play a vital role in helping Datapraxis deliver on its vision, by refining and building on our current research and data analytics techniques, and by exploring, testing and developing new approaches to generate deeper insights and to help our partners achieve their goals.
The ideal candidate will have deep knowledge of quantitative research methods, significant experience of applied data analytics or domain-relevant modelling techniques, an interest in large-scale natural language processing and/or qualitative methods, strong communications skills, and project and line management experience. An interest in the dynamics of public opinion, politics and social change is also essential.
We are open to applications from emerging or seasoned leaders who have specialised most deeply in only one of these technical areas (research or data science), provided that they can demonstrate sufficient interest in and understanding of the other aspects of the role. The precise job title and role description can also be tailored to the successful candidate’s expertise and specialisms, as we are also recruiting other roles alongside this one.
This role has four main areas of responsibility, which are explained further below:
- Overseeing research and analytics on regular projects for partners and clients in the social and political arenas;
- Innovation, testing and development of new techniques and offerings;
- Providing research leadership for our longer-term, multi-country insights programme;
- Management and leadership responsibilities as part of Datapraxis’s leadership team.
Research & Analytics - leading and managing this organizational workstream, working closely with the project leads and analysts. This responsibility includes:
- Optimising the design and commissioning of custom research for client projects.
- Overseeing our data analytics programme, tailoring this work to the needs of each project.
- Identifying opportunities to leverage and draw insights from Datapraxis’s backbone data assets.
- Ensuring that all our project research and analytics are of the highest quality.
- Building and managing our portfolio of fieldwork partners, to ensure that we can deploy a diversity of research approaches which are appropriate to different projects, needs, budgets and country contexts.
- Managing a range of fieldwork partners and data analysts, ensuring that they deliver excellent and timely work that meets our partners’ needs.
Innovation, Testing and Development - overall responsibility for this workstream, collaborating closely with our leadership team on strategy, and with analysts and project teams on specific opportunities for innovation and development.
- Working with our team and contractors to review and improve our current analytics techniques (including but not limited to cluster analysis, predictive modelling, multi-level regression with post-stratification (MRP) methods, and natural language processing).
- Horizon-scanning for new techniques and working to expand our repertoire, ensuring that we are testing new research and analytics methods in an agile way that contributes to our mission.
- Scoping and evaluating opportunities for third party data licensing, acquisition and integration.
- Working with the senior data scientist to progressively optimise our data centre environment.
- Continually exploring new fieldwork partners, to ensure that we can deploy a diversity of research approaches.
- Working with partners on innovative joint projects, for example in the arena of online media and social media monitoring and analysis.
Long-term multi-country insights programme - leading the research elements of this programme, working closely with the Managing Director and a dedicated analyst:
- Designing, developing and overseeing the research programme, which involves large-sample research over multiple years to investigate deeper trends, patterns and drivers of opinion.
- Coordinating this research with R&D and product development, while ensuring that it helps build up Datapraxis’s backbone data assets.
- Contact and engagement with funding partners and clients.
- Ensuring that products and outputs are of an excellent quality.
Management and leadership responsibilities, both internally in the organisation, and externally with our partners and communities of practice:
- Contributing to organizational strategy and vision as a member of the leadership team, including regular engagement with board members and other intellectual partners and stakeholders (including leading US-based analysts in our network).
- Helping to build positive values and a healthy team culture, and ensuring that we are applying our commitment to data ethics in our work.
- Involvement in external communications, working with the CEO and team to build flagship research products and reports, and attending events and presenting on behalf of Datapraxis as needed.
- Working with the Managing Director to explore how we can help foster a wider community of progressive data and analytics practitioners across Europe.
- Line management and project management responsibilities as appropriate.
Person specification Essential (strong candidates should have all of these attributes):
- Significant professional experience in research and/or data analytics
- Expertise in / understanding of psephology and social & political data (including non-polling data)
- Understanding of the applications of different modelling and analytics approaches
- Creativity and curiosity about new approaches, and some experience of testing them in practice
- Experience in successful project management of complex research or analytics projects
- The ability to identify key insights from complex data, and presentation and report writing skills
Desirable but not essential (it will be an asset to candidates if they can demonstrate at least some of these attributes):
- Insights into how best to use qualitative research and new approaches to “qual”
- At least some understanding of Python and/or R (Stata or Sas are possible alternatives)
- Understanding of natural language processing, sentiment and semantic analysis etc
- Understanding of social media and social listening data and how it can be analysed
- At least some understanding of the mechanics of predictive modelling and complex analytics
- Ability to work in other European languages, and/or some knowledge or understanding of the context in other European countries
- Management and leadership experience
- Experience of projects which involve work with clients or delivering for partners
- A track record of innovation or leadership of thought and practice in related domains
Culture and behaviour:
- Sympathetic to the mission and aims of the company
- Innovative and curious
- Enjoys sharing and fostering understanding in others
- A commitment to high standards of ethics in personal behaviour, business and data, and to consistently being a good ambassador for the organisation
- Willingness to pitch in and get things done, and comfort working in a small, fast-growing start up that punches well above its weight
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