Beyond Conflict Innovation Lab Project Lead: Polarization

The Beyond Conflict Innovation Lab is seeking a Project Lead for its Polarization Program: a group of projects designed to help understand and address political polarization in the United States.  The Project Lead will direct research and policy initiatives designed to create and deploy evidence-based approaches to preventing harmful polarization.  The primary project in the program is the Polarization Index, a diagnostic tool to understand the drivers of polarization, develop interventions to counter it, and implement a national strategy to scale those interventions.  The position involves outreach to stakeholders who will be using and applying the tools and techniques developed in the program, especially in government and non-governmental organizations.  The Project Lead will work with the team at Beyond Conflict and the Innovation Lab, and will be located in Boston, although remote work is possible for an exceptional candidate.

About Beyond Conflict and the Innovation Lab: 

Founded in 1992, Beyond Conflict is a global non-profit organization based in Boston that works with government, nonprofit and community leaders to address conflict and promote social change in the United States and abroad. In recent years, Beyond Conflict has partnered with cognitive and behavioral scientists to create the Beyond Conflict Innovation Lab for Neuroscience and Social Conflict, a research and development unit within the organization, which conducts original research, applies existing scientific insights, and tests new interventions. The goal is to apply brain science to design and promote new tools that reduce conflict, increase tolerance, and facilitate positive social change in the United States and abroad.

About the Polarization Program: 

The polarization program seeks to develop and test interventions aimed at reducing political polarization and at understanding the policy and practice implications of dialogue-oriented interventions being developed and tested in the Innovation Lab.  The primary project in the program is the Polarization Index, a novel set of measures to assess the psychological drivers of political polarization, which can then inform and drive the development of targeted interventions to address it. Current project intervention sites include regions in the United States.

The Position: 

This is a grant-funded position that begins in the Fall of 2019 and will likely last through February 2023.  The Innovation Lab’s opportunity generation strategy extends beyond this timeline, making the position a likely long-term need.

The Project Lead’s primary responsibility will be to coordinate and manage the implementation of the Polarization Index project, and the Toolkit for Effective Dialogue (a guide that brings insights from cognitive science and first-hand experience to frame more effective approaches to dialogue).  In this capacity, (s)he will work closely with Beyond Conflict staff members, scientists, and other internal and external stakeholders to advance the mission of the Beyond Conflict Innovation Lab and the Polarization program.

  • Manage implementation of the Polarization Index project including travel to field sites and organization of related meetings, workshops, and any other programmatic agenda items
  • Manage and regularly provide updates on Project budget, work plan/Gantt chart, and deliverables
  • Develop and maintain partnerships with organizations, funders, and other applicable internal and external stakeholders including the creation of MOUs and negotiating terms of agreements
  • Represent Beyond Conflict at meetings and public fora to speak on its polarization research and intervention work
  • Work with Beyond Conflict scientists to design and test polarization-reducing interventions
  • Work with, manage, and interact with researchers and software developers to advance the Polarization Index
  • Draft policy papers, funder reports, and communication posts
  • Plan and execute the scaling-up of the project for maximum impact among practitioners, policy-makers, and researchers through the expansion of existing initiatives, obtainment of additional funding, and finding opportunities to share the project results

Qualifications and Characteristics

The ideal candidate will have: 

  • An MA/MPA/MPP in public policy, political science, psychology or related fields
  • Optimally 10-15 years of experience running national programs or working in high-profile journalism, politics, or communications positions.  Candidates must have at least 5 years of professional experience working in the government, non-profit, or commercial sectors, especially on issues of polarization and dialogue, with some familiarity with organizations working in this area
  • Experience dealing with the media, elected officials, and the public
  • Familiarity with social psychology or social cognition, especially as related to polarization
  • Familiarity with quantitative analysis skills and conducting psychological or cognitive science research, especially in practical field settings
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills with the ability to communicate publicly (on television, radio, podcasts, public events, etc.) about the results of the index and transmit complex issues to lay audiences
  • Have existing networks in government, media, and/or national non-profits
  • Experience managing projects that require attention to details, tight timeframes, and periodic troubleshooting
  • Demonstrated commitment to non-partisan approaches to understanding and addressing political polarization
  • Comfort with working in a small-size team internally

Why Work with Beyond Conflict?

At Beyond Conflict you will have the exciting opportunity to be at the forefront of psychological research, and the development of interventions to help shape the world in which we live. Beyond Conflict also offers competitive salary and benefits package including 401K, health, dental, and generous vacation packages.

To Apply:

A successful application will include a CV and a cover letter detailing relevant experience and qualifications for this position; salary will be commensurate with experience. Please submit the requested information to and use a subject line of Polarization Project Lead: Your First and Last Name. Beyond Conflict is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.