sharing in governance of extractive industries

Research Director at MSI Integrity

Deadline to Apply: June 20, 2018

Title: Research Director (Full-Time)

Location: Flexible. Work remotely or from our office in San Francisco, CA.

Start Date: September - October 2018 (Flexible)


About MSI Integrity

MSI Integrity is a nonprofit human rights organization that investigates whether, when, and how multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) can be effective instruments to protect and promote human rights and the environment. While MSIs such as Fairtrade International and the Forest Stewardship Council have become popular as human rights, environmental, and governance instruments, there is still little evidence about whether these voluntary initiatives are effectively addressing the issues that prompted their formation. Through rigorous research, the facilitation of debate and dialogue, and the development of tools for evaluation, we seek to reduce the harms and human rights abuses caused or exacerbated by the private sector. We have a particular interest in how MSIs include, empower, and impact affected communities.


MSI Integrity was incubated by the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School. We are currently funded by the Hewlett Foundation and Open Society Foundations.


Research Director: Position Overview

We are expanding our young, globally-recognized NGO and seek a Research Director to design, supervise and deliver MSI Integrity's research and analysis activities. This leadership position requires deep strategic thinking, excellent team management skills, a track record of tackling difficult projects, and a commitment to human rights, local empowerment, and equality. The Research Director will be responsible for hiring and supervising a small, dedicated research team.


Research priorities and programs will be developed collaboratively with the leadership of MSI Integrity. Examples of likely activities include:

  • On-the-ground research into the impact and value of MSIs, particularly from the perspective of the communities that MSIs are designed to benefit or protect.
  • In-depth analysis and research into accountability mechanisms and governance structures, as well as into emerging issues in global governance and human rights.
  • Developing evaluative benchmarks, tools, databases, and platforms that will encourage further research and understanding about the effectiveness of MSIs as governance and accountability tools.


Position Responsibilities

  • Oversee MSI Integrity’s global research activities. This will range from desk-based research and analysis into MSIs, through to developing a framework for on-the-ground human rights impact assessments.
  • Generate interest among other organizations and researchers in exploring questions related to the effectiveness of MSIs from a human rights perspective, including by growing our Global Research Network on MSIs into a community of critical practice.
  • Develop and manage a small research team, including dedicated staff, as well as members of the Global Research Network on MSIs, interns, and fellows.
  • Provide input into outreach and advocacy strategies to ensure that research projects lead to real-world change and, as appropriate, support with the implementation of those strategies
  • Represent MSI Integrity at international conferences, debates and events, as well as in meetings with key stakeholders, MSI participants and local communities.
  • Nurture research partnerships, leverage academic resources and work closely with the Executive Director to sustain and grow funding for MSI Integrity’s research.
  • Contribute to the leadership and development of MSI Integrity, including providing input into strategic planning, working collectively with leadership to develop MSI Integrity’s research agenda and developing annual work plans and research budgets.



  • At least 8-10 years research and/or analytical experience (or for candidates with less experience, evidence of exceptionally strong research outputs) with particular expertise in human rights, environmental justice, global governance, or another relevant field. Familiarity with MSIs or other complex governance instruments is strongly preferred.
  • Excellent qualitative research skills, including experience designing and conducting fact-finding and/or interview-based research. Mixed-methods or quantitative research skills are desirable, but not strictly necessary. Familiarity with community-based or community-driven research methods (or other innovative approaches that value lived experiences) as well with critical approaches to traditional research methods is strongly preferred.
  • Very strong team management skills, and a proven track-record of directing multiple complex projects.
  • Exceptional written communication skills, as evidenced by a publication history (individual or via organizations).
  • Experience working in the Global South and/or in communities impacted by adverse private sector conduct.
  • Ability to work on politically sensitive issues at a range of levels and with multiple stakeholders, including local communities, national governments, civil society and business stakeholders, and international organizations.
  • Enjoy working in a collaboratively in a small and driven team, as well as on independent projects.
  • Undergraduate and/or advanced degrees in relevant fields preferred. Excellent spoken and written English is essential.
  • Evidence of a commitment to human rights, equality, and the inclusion of under-represented voices in decision-making processes.


Compensation and Benefits

  • We offer a competitive non-profit sector salary with strong benefits, including health insurance and generous paid leave provisions.
  • Flexible working conditions, including the possibility of remote work if desired, as well as a fun and creative work environment in the heart of the Mission in San Francisco. Unfortunately, MSI Integrity is not able to sponsor employment visas.


Application Process 
If interested, submit a cover letter, resume, a list of at least three references and at least two writing samples targeting different audiences. Applications should be sent to: peoplesearch@msi-integrity.org and include in the title of the email “Application for Research Director”. The deadline is June 20, 2018. Applicants will be reviewed and interviewed on a rolling basis. References will only be contacted after seeking the permission of short-listed candidates.

MSI Integrity is an inclusive workplace and an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices. We seek a diverse applicant pool and strongly encourage people of color, women, and LGBTQ people to apply for all our positions. For this position, we also strongly encourage applicants from Global South as well as Global North locations.

Last updated by Norma Garza May 30, 2018.


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