Senior Researcher-Remote

Center on Rural Innovation

Location: Hartland, VT

Type: Full Time

Education: Master's Degree

Experience: 3 - 5 Years

The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization partnering with rural leaders across the country to build tech economies that support scalable entrepreneurship and lead to more tech jobs in rural America.

Established in 2017, CORI is at the heart of a dynamic social enterprise focused on closing the rural opportunity gap. To maximize all possible resources to address this critical problem, the organization partners with a taxable nonprofit, Rural Innovation Strategies, Inc. (RISI), and a seed fund, CORI Innovation Fund (CIF), focused on early-stage technology companies located in rural areas.

Guided by a strong belief in rural ingenuity and small-town potential, we provide strategic support to rural communities that want to develop inclusive, resilient tech economy ecosystems. Our systems approach involves building a nationwide network of local economic change agents; increasing the tech workforce and access to tech jobs; using mapping, data, and research to highlight rural opportunities; making direct investments in underserved rural entrepreneurs; and closing the digital divide so all Americans can participate in the 21st-century tech economy. We are currently working with 33 communities across 24 states in the Rural Innovation Network to execute this model.

Rural America is home to 12% of the U.S. workforce, but just 5% of the tech workforce. Smaller populations and lack of broadband in rural areas have historically translated into inequities in access to training for fast-growing tech careers, leading rural employers to outsource their tech talent demand to other markets. This has led to a vicious cycle in which there is never enough demand to justify tech training in rural areas, and because training is not available, employers continue to outsource their tech needs. CORI aims to break this cycle by showing that tech jobs and tech talent can exist in rural areas, and we are seizing the moment to create a more equitable distribution of accessible future-proof jobs.

CORI and RISI are headquartered in a historic general store building in the village of Hartland, Vermont, part of New England’s Upper Valley and greater Dartmouth College region.

The Senior Researcher will join our Research, Data, and Analytics team. This team conducts research in order to develop insights, publish reports, and make policy recommendations that help advance CORI’s mission to create inclusive rural America prosperity by catalyzing tech employment and scalable entrepreneurship. Our work sits at the intersection of research in practice, drawing upon our organization’s vast experience in research, as well as our extensive work on the ground with rural leaders and communities across the country. Through high-quality research, analysis, and advising, we help businesses, policymakers, foundations, and rural leaders understand how their work can create inclusive prosperity for rural Americans.

Our interdisciplinary research team members have extensive backgrounds in economics, data science, and social science research. We collaborate closely with our colleagues that work directly with rural leaders across the country in our Rural Innovation Initiative and Rural Innovation Network programs, allowing us to root our work in the experiences and realities of rural communities. We offer unparalleled, independent analysis of rural economic development issues informed by our deep expertise and broad networks. As a result, we are consistently sought out for advice about trends and opportunities in rural development and to offer guidance on positioning in the current narrative and understanding of rural America in the future.

Examples of our work:

Job Summary:

The Senior Researcher will serve as an intellectual thought leader, leading complex projects with ability to perform in any phase of a project from design to implementation. They will bring extensive conceptualization expertise, methodologies in regional economics, and have established external peer recognition for expertise/professional stature in their field. The Senior Researcher should have an established track record of research accomplishments and demonstrated leadership capability, with external visibility and evidence of policy influence as well as internal recognition for those accomplishments. The Senior Researcher will participate in the preparation and implementation of project reports and lead complex team efforts, including data scientists and developers supporting the work.

Supervisory Responsibilities:

  • Mentorship of Data Scientists and Research and Policy Associates is expected.


  • Identify sources of funding, prepare research proposals, and submit funding in collaboration with the Director of Development.
  • Set project standards, interpreting and defining research specifications towards developing a work plan for the research and analytic team, monitoring progress from idea generation through deliverable.
  • Design, manage and conduct surveys, interviews, and focus groups for both internal evaluation and external research projects.
  • Communicate interim and final research findings in a clear, concise, and actionable manner to varied audiences.
  • Ensure research findings are rigorously fact-checked against internal and external sources and documented.


Required Skills/Attributes:

  • Demonstrated applied research skills with exemplary methodological and analytic capabilities, including experience programming and analyzing data in R.
  • Creative problem-solving skills with a commitment to quality, objectivity, and integrity.
  • Ability to tell a compelling story through the synthesis of quantitative and qualitative insights.
  • Detail oriented with strong organizational and time management skills, especially around balancing multiple workstreams.
  • Ability to work both independently, as a team player, and mentor staff members.
  • A strong commitment to mission and organization culture are essential.

Education and Experience:

  • Candidates should have substantial experience leading research activities in an academic, think tank, or public sector environment, including collecting and analyzing data and publishing reports or papers.
  • PhD in Economics preferred. PhD in Social Science or Public Administration considered with advanced coursework in statistics and data analysis.
  • MA in economics, urban and regional planning, or sociology with substantial professional experience outside of academia conducting analysis and publishing reports related to rural economic development will also be considered.

Physical Requirements:

Prolonged periods of sitting at a desk and working on a computer.

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