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Research Analyst - Emerging Technologies Portfolio Lead


The Institute for Defense Analyses is a federally funded research and development center supporting the Department of Defense and other federal agencies that require rigorous and objective analysis of national security issues. The Strategy, Forces and Resources Division (SFRD) at IDA performs integrated, interdisciplinary studies of plans and policies related to national security strategy and homeland security and defense. A focus of SFRD’s portfolio is to characterize and understand the risks and opportunities presented by emerging technology, to include biotechnology, and work with decision-makers to develop and implement policies to protect U.S. strategic interests.

Challenging career opportunities now exist with our Emerging Technology analysis team as the Portfolio Lead. IDA takes great pride in the high caliber and timeliness of its analyses, which are produced in an atmosphere that encourages independent thinking and objective results. Work at IDA is conducted in a team environment and often involves a multi-disciplinary approach. Researchers work closely with and are in frequent contact with government sponsors. Consequently, strong communications skills will be greatly valued.

Research Analysts are senior level members of IDA’s research staff who typically possess extensive experience along with educational and professional credentials in their areas of expertise. Portfolio Leads are Research Analysts first and foremost, and as such are principally responsible for delivering scientifically sound research and technically reviewing other research products. In addition, they are responsible for forming and leading teams in performing abroad spectrum of analytic functions from defining problems, determining appropriate approaches, modeling or developing, and applying analytical tools to illuminate those problems; guiding junior staff in the application of the selected approaches and tools; interpreting results; and communicating findings (using both written and verbal means). This role will work with the Emerging Technology team within SFRD as well as with analysts from throughout IDA on a diverse set of topics, to include scenario-based analyses, requirements determinations, policy analysis, and doctrine and TTP development.


  • Researches, tests, studies, analyzes, hypothesizes, predicts, and/or evaluates issues within a project based on provided parameters, guidelines, and/or specifications of the project
  • Individually or in team, prepares reports documenting conclusions and/or findings; may present findings of the final report to task sponsor and/or select audience(s)
  • Leads a portfolio of researchers to provide technical direction for project planning, requirements, budgetary objectives, and assignment of responsibility and authority
  • Works with other researchers and sponsors to identify, prioritize, and communicate emerging issues for IDA, its sponsors, and the community
  • Develops and sustains working relationships with sponsors to ensure that opportunities for further support and collaboration are surfaced
  • Other duties as assigned


Highly qualified individuals are sought, particularly self-starting professionals. Successful candidates need to exhibit strong analytical and communication skills as well as a capacity for independent thought and sound judgment. Candidates will need to exhibit excellent interpersonal skills and demonstrate the ability to contribute effectively to a team approach to problem solving.

  • A PhD in biotechnology, operations research, physics, chemistry, biology, math, engineering, or methodologically similar disciplines is required; Master’s degree with a minimum of 10 years’ experience also accepted.
  • Familiarity with modeling, simulation and other quantitative techniques employed in the analysis of emerging technologies and threats.
  • Familiarity with methodologies used to develop strategic foresight.
  • Familiarity with the Department of Defense bureaucratic processes and/or DoD military operations
  • Candidates are encouraged to submit a cover letter outlining how their skill set, experiences, and education align with the defined responsibilities.
  • Candidates must be prepared to provide a writing sample.
  • A command of modeling and quantitative techniques including proficiency in modern programming languages or an ability to identify sources and assemble and organize large data sets for subsequent analysis is desired but not required.
  • Candidates must identify three references capable of attesting to the candidate’s skills in relation to the job qualifications described above.
  • Candidates selected will be subject to a background check, security investigation and must meet eligibility requirements for access to highly classified information.

About IDA

The Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) is a private, nonprofit corporation headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC. IDA’s mission is to answer the most challenging U.S. security and science policy questions with objective analysis leveraging extraordinary scientific, technical, and analytic expertise.

IDA embraces diversity and supports an inclusive work environment. Working here requires energy, commitment, flexibility, and teamwork. Whether you’re a graduate student ready to start your career, a professional looking for your next challenge, or a member of the military hoping to transition to the private sector while continuing to make a difference in the national security of your country, we offer exciting opportunities to learn and grow.

Sponsors rely on IDA for dispassionate, fact-based, and scientifically rigorous research and advice performed in a research environment free of commercial or shareholder interests where objectivity and the public interest are foremost.

The work produced by IDA is characterized by unquestioned objectivity and high quality. Because of our unique relationship with our U.S. Government sponsors, IDA enjoys unusual access to classified government information and sensitive corporate proprietary information.

Why Work at IDA?

  • Competitive salary and benefits, including diverse health insurance options, generous 11% contribution to retirement, 6 weeks 100% paid parental leave, 20 days paid time off, and relocation reimbursement.
  • Mission-oriented work at a non-profit that supports and protects our Nation’s warfighters; as a non-profit, IDA employees are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSFL).
  • Organization-wide commitment to diversity in the workplace and providing a working environment free from discrimination, by fostering a culture of active citizenship and implementing data-driven processes of continuous feedback and learning.
  • Professional development including tuition reimbursement, internal and external trainings, and funding for researcher-pitched projects and publications.
  • A strong employee and corporate culture of work-life balance, including commitment to average 40-hour work weeks through flex time, telework options, and expectation of communication only during core business hours.
  • Easy access to local dining and shopping. Employer contributes $300/month (IRS max) to commuter benefits.


U.S. Citizenship is required

Ability to obtain and maintain a security clearance is required

IDA is an equal opportunity employer committed to providing a fair recruiting process and working environment free from discrimination. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identify, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. Click here to learn more about IDA's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.