Research Associate (Center on Global Cities)
Seeking talented researcher to join the Council's Center on Global Cities team
Chicago, IL 
Posted 10 days ago
Job Description

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is where your world and the world meet. The Council is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that empowers more people to help shape our global future. We are adding to the Center on Global Cities team to connect with the next generation of changemakers who want to create a more open and promising world for all. By informing them, inspiring them, and involving them in world affairs, we will support an inclusive community of globally conscious people who want to have a tangible impact. The Council celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2022. Do you want to help shape our next century?


The Role

Cities’ relationship to global affairs is changing. Global cities have emerged as pivotal actors in addressing the world’s critical challenges and have become well represented in international networks, organizations, and initiatives. The urgency of the climate crisis and other issues are pushing cities towards new policy approaches which recognize and exploit connections to the global scale.

The work of the Chicago Council’s Global Cities Center focuses on these changes. We study and facilitate cities’ involvement in global policymaking by producing original research, commentary, and convenings at the intersection of urban policy and global affairs. We connect urban, national, and international stakeholders, working with city networks such as the Global Parliament of Mayors and other partner organizations. As a Chicago-based organization, we are also committed to elevating Chicago and the Midwest as significant places and actors in global affairs.

Our current and upcoming research projects focus on urbanism and democracy, city-to-city diplomacy, Chicago’s global engagement, and revitalizing transatlantic industrial regions hit hard by globalization.

The research associate provides key support for the Global Cities Director of Research and Senior Fellow by helping with producing publications, including reports, policy briefs, and blogs; disseminating Global Cities content to target audiences; and providing logistical and research support to our network of nonresident fellows, partners, and constituents. The research associate will also have opportunities to produce original research and writing.

The Research Associate position is a Chicago-based hybrid role and requires some in-person attendance at our Downtown Chicago location based on work activities and peak seasons. The Research Associate will report to the Global Cities Director of Research and Senior Fellow.



Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Research: Provide support to the Global Cities research team, including project management, literature reviews, primary and secondary source research, data analysis, identifying sources and tracking citations, helping with qualitative interviews, and supporting peer reviews and consultative research processes.  Stay up to date on relevant and breaking news, events, policy developments, and announcements in urban policy, planning, and city diplomacy.
  • Writing and editing: Assist in writing and editing drafts of global cities reports, policy briefs, project proposals, meeting summaries, blogs, and op-eds, and critically reviewing and fact-checking materials produced by fellows, nonresident fellows, and colleagues.  Produce original research and writing on the Center’s areas of focus.
  • Presentations: Assist as needed with the presentation of research and publications, including creating PowerPoint presentations with complex graphs, developing talking points, and compiling other related documents.
  • Publications: Perform fact and reference checking for reports. Create reference lists, bibliographies, figures, graphics, and tables for reports.  Manage relationships with external editing and production teams.
  • Project Management: Serve as project manager, working closely with the Research Director, on researching and organizing potential contributors, speakers, task force members, and external stakeholders.  Corresponds with project team members and workshop participants.  May assist in scheduling meetings, calls, workshops, and in taking notes, tracking project metrics, and building reports in Salesforce.
  • Communications support: Collaborate with the communications officer to design and carry out dissemination strategies of global cities research.
  • Intern supervision: Supervises up to 2 interns per term, including selecting, training, ongoing supervision, and achieving learning objectives; ensures intern work assignments meet team needs and priorities.
  • Event support: Provides support for Council events (virtual, hybrid, or in-person), sometimes requiring early morning or evening hours. Examples may be registrations, ushering, greeting, monitoring social media channels, etc.
  • Other support: Occasionally assists at the front desk in meeting/greeting Council constituents and answering or routing incoming calls.
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Participates collaboratively with the Council’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies. 
  • Other projects as assigned.


  • A master’s degree in a relevant field to urban policy globally – e.g., urban studies, history, political science, international relations, economics, public policy, urban planning.
  • 2+ years’ experience in research-based and/or policy arena working with government, nonprofits, think tanks, or academia.
  • Strong interest in global cities, urbanism, and urban policy.
  • Excellent qualitative research skills, including finding and analyzing sources; quantitative research and analysis skills preferred.
  • Excellent project management and time management skills: the ability to work independently, meet deadlines, adjust to changing circumstances, and manage multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Superior writing skills, including developing arguments supported by evidence, editorial, and proofreading skills, and the ability to communicate complex concepts and topics clearly, thoroughly, and succinctly; preferable experience with policy-relevant writing and Chicago Manual of Style.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to professionally interact with high-level stakeholders and experts.
  • Extensive knowledge of and experience using MS Office (Word, Excel, and Outlook)
  • Some familiarity with customer relations management (CRM) software such as Salesforce is helpful.
  • Exceptional attention to detail.

We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, religion, age, handicap or disability, marital status, military service or veteran status, genetic information, or for any other reason prohibited by applicable law.

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
We are committed to weaving diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the fabric of the Council, and we believe people — their identities, experiences, beliefs, knowledge, and ideas — are critical to our success and to global affairs. We will elevate diverse voices and identities and a full range of perspectives, advance equitable and inclusive access to exploring and shaping ideas, and ensure our organization reflects the diversity of Chicago, our nation, and the world.

To learn more, visit:


Job Summary
Start Date
Employment Term and Type
Regular, Full Time
Salary and Benefits
There are many benefits to working at the Council, including a flexible remote/in-office work environment, half-day summer Fridays, paid parental leave, employer-subsidized medical/dental/vision insurance, generous paid time off, retirement match, mobile phone stipend, commuter accessible, fitness center membership, and more.
Required Education
Master's Degree
Required Experience
2 to 5 years
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