NNPHI: Principal Research Scientist

Position Summary:

The National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI) is recruiting a Principal Research Scientist, who is responsible for leading and/or assisting other scientists with the development of research and evaluation investigations or analytic study projects and carrying out those projects. They also provide technical expertise in the application of research, evaluation, and analytic methods to all portfolios at NNPHI. They will work within the Evidence to Action (E2A) portfolio, our full-service research and evaluation services team, to advance the overall strategic mission of the portfolio and organization.

The Principal Research Scientist will work towards operating as a recognized expert in specific fields and research areas within NNPHI, leveraging that expertise to enhance NNPHI’s reputation with members and existing clients and sponsors. As part of this work, they will develop and maintain deep, specific institutional knowledge and expertise of new and existing members’ culture, organization, and issues, especially as relates to research, evaluation, or specific technical areas.

The Principal Research Scientist will pursue business development opportunities and develop new clients and sponsors in conjunction with the business development team and the portfolio director.

Job Location:

This position may be based in NNPHI’s New Orleans or Washington, DC offices.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this position will commence remotely. Ultimately, NNPHI requires the position will be based in either of our two office locations. Therefore, applicants should indicate their preference to work in NNPHI offices located in New Orleans or Washington, DC.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Provides responsible, competent technical advice to project and operations management.
  • Maintains and develops relationships with funding agencies and partners, including federal agencies and private foundations.
  • Generates actionable intelligence and leads for business development based on technical expertise and network.
  • Supports, and may lead, preparation, presentation, and submission of research grant and contract proposals.
  • Manages external contractors, serves as liaison to contractors and consultants, and interfaces with funders via project management role.
  • Develops and monitors project budgets.
  • Organizes and manages all statistical, analytic, and data management aspects of successful research and evaluation projects.
  • Synthesizes information from external sources (literature, unstructured data gathered by external groups) to ensure programs are operating on the cutting edge of public health. This may include systematic review, cross-survey analysis, meta-analysis, abstraction-based grounded theory, text-to-data abstraction, etc.
  • Provides leadership for data-driven story-telling (data and evidence translation)
  • Expands NNPHI’s and E2A’s technical and subject matter presence through presentations at technical conferences; authoring journal articles, reports, blogs; etc.
  • Consults with NNPHI staff on the planning and conduct of studies and evaluations, in the analysis of data, and the interpretation and presentation of findings.
  • Trains, mentors, and provides technical leadership and direction for developing staff.
  • Serves as a Resource Advisor (supervisor, mentor, and content resource) to one or more NNPHI Staff.
  • Participates in multiple research projects with a minimum of supervision, operating within time and budget constraints.
  • Manages internal relationships and resources to achieve project deliverables in within a “team culture.”


While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

Education and Experience: PhD or equivalent doctoral degree and five years’ experience post-graduate.

Technical Capabilities:

  • Doctoral degree or equivalent qualifications in public health, social sciences, or health systems research.
  • Proven experience conducting various research methodologies (including both qualitative and quantitative studies), statistical analysis, and translation and dissemination of research and evaluation findings.
  • Experience designing and leading mixed methods evaluations.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work effectively on a team and with diverse external partners.
  • Demonstrated project management and organizational skills, especially with time-sensitive work.
  • Ability to compose reports, presentations, and written communication in an organized, logical, and concise manner.
  • Demonstrated expertise in qualitative research, such as:
    • Interview and focus group guide development
    • In-person interviewing
    • Telephone interviewing
    • In-person focus group facilitation
    • Online focus group facilitation
    • Open, axial, and selective qualitative coding (NVivo)
    • Operationalizing constructs and codebook development
    • Case study development
    • CDC Success Story methodology
  • Demonstrated expertise in quantitative research, such as:
    • Quantitative survey design, development, and administration (Qualtrics)
    • Survey data reporting
    • Operationalizing constructs
    • Descriptive statistics (SPSS)
    • Measurement selection and development
  • Demonstrated expertise in applied research
    • Secondary data collection
    • Secondary analysis of public health datasets
    • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Demonstrated expertise in program evaluation
    • Relationship mapping
    • Logic model development
    • Evaluation theory selection

Methods and procedures:

  • Program evaluation
    • Multi-site evaluation
    • Evaluation with racial and ethnic minority groups
  • Data collection and analysis
    • Textual analysis
    • Thematic analysis
    • Content analysis
    • Ethnography
    • Grounded theory
  • Communication product development
    • Literature reviews
    • Recommendations
    • Needs assessment
    • Environmental scans
    • Journal articles and presentations
  • Health communication
    • Data communication
    • Data translation
    • Data reporting
    • Data visualization

Topics of interests:

  • Program evaluation theory and practice
  • Health equity and social determinants of health
  • Chronic disease
  • Infectious disease
  • Mental and behavioral health
  • Global health
  • Women’s health
  • Bridging public health and health care

Client/Service Orientation: Understands clients’ and colleagues’ needs and concerns; responds promptly and effectively; customizes services and products as appropriate.

Teamwork: Collaborates with others; acknowledges others’ contributions; works effectively with individuals of different culture and gender; willing to seek help as needed. Influences and resolves differences across organizational boundaries: gains support and commitment from others even without formal authority; resolves differences by determining needs and forging solutions that benefit all parties; generates enthusiasm; promotes collaboration and facilitates teamwork across organizational boundaries.

Analytical Thinking and Decisive Judgment:  Analyzes issues and problems systematically, gathering broad and balanced input; draws sound conclusions and translates conclusions into timely decisions and actions.

Learning and Knowledge Sharing: Open to new ideas; shares own knowledge; mentors junior staff; applies knowledge in daily work; builds partnerships for learning and knowledge sharing.

Communications: Gains consensus and collaborates across NNPHI programs and with network members and partners; explains complex concepts in layman’s language; communicates with all levels of management and staff, establishing straightforward, productive relationships; treats all individuals with fairness and respect, demonstrating sensitivity for cultural and gender differences; shows great drive and commitment to NNPHI’s mission; maintains high standards of personal integrity.

Information Management Skills: Conducts secondary analysis of existing data for frequencies, communications, communications products, indicators, etc. Manages the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data; organizes and maintains NNPHI databases as appropriate.

Drive for Results: Makes things happen; is proactive; balances “analysis” with “doing”; sets high standards for self; commits to organizational goals.


Salary range of $85,000-$100,000, commensurate with education and experience. NNPHI offers a highly competitive and benefits package, including medical/dental/vision/FSA/parking/transportation, generous retirement contributions and annual leave.

Travel: Approximately 10% travel will be required. Please note: all NNPHI travel has been suspended due to the COVID-19 emergency, no travel will be expected until this suspension is lifted.

To Apply:

Please send a cover letter and CV to hr@nnphi.org with the subject line: Attn: Principal Research Scientist. In your cover letter, please indicate your salary requirement, three professional references, and preference for work/office location (New Orleans or Washington, DC office).

About NNPHI:

The National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI) is an active network of 40 plus member public health institutes and training centers across the United States. Public health institutes are nonprofit organizations that improve the public’s health by fostering innovation, leveraging resources, and building partnerships across sectors. In its role as the National Coordinating Center for Public Health Training, NNPHI collaborates with public health training centers, member public health institutes, and a wide range of national, state, tribal and local partners to build the capacity of the public health workforce through in-person and online training (www.phlearningnavigator.org), team coaching, and applied learning collaboratives.

NNPHI’s Values Statement to our Employees:

  • We value each employee as a whole person and support a healthy life balance.
  • We believe in a work environment that promotes health and wellness.
  • We believe in investing in the growth and passion of our employees to create a workforce that positively affects social change.

Equal Opportunity Employer

Connect with us:

Twitter LinkedIn YouTube
Google Plus email
Connect With Us:
Subscribe To Our Communications