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Director of Research and Investigations

Employer Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)
Deadline 3. May 2021
Type Full time
Location United States
Level Senior-level (7+ years experience required)


For more than 30 years, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has used science and medicine to document and call attention to mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We investigate and document abuses, give voice to survivors and witnesses, and plant seeds of reconciliation by ensuring that perpetrators can be held accountable for their crimes. PHR uses our core disciplines – science, medicine, forensics, and public health – to inform our research and investigations and to strengthen the skills of frontline human rights defenders. We work closely with hundreds of partners around the world, using facts to wage effective advocacy and campaigning and providing critical scientific evidence so that survivors can seek justice.

PHR, which shared in the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for our work to end the scourge of landmines, is poised for even greater growth and impact. As part of that strategy, we are seeking committed activists with a passion for human rights.

The director of research and investigations has internal- and external-facing responsibilities, primarily focused on the management and oversight of existing research and investigations program areas and new program development within the organization’s framework of investigating, documenting, and advocating to prevent human rights violations. This position works closely with the director of programs and other team members to chart PHR’s future growth and strategic vision.  This is a full-time position and will require frequent travel to conduct fact-finding investigations and advocacy, and the capacity to work flexible hours to respond to crises and urgent situations.

Reports to: Director of Programs

Location: This position is usually located in our Headquarters in New York City, but remote while offices remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Direct PHR’s research and investigations unit, overseeing methodologically rigorous research projects that align with PHR’s vision and mission; developing new areas of work, including forensic documentation and rapid response investigations; recruiting and collaborating with medical and scientific experts and academic institutions; developing strategies to monitor and evaluate PHR research; and ensuring the integration of an impact-driven advocacy approach in all research projects.
  • Supervise research and investigations staff in all locations; implement security protocols to ensure the safety of everyone working on the team; maintain a work culture that empowers and mentors staff to deliver outstanding work;
  • Develop, defend, monitor and manage department and individual research project budgets;
  • Ensure that PHR’s research findings are communicated effectively and with the highest ethical and editorial standards, through well-substantiated and compelling original reports, as well as opinion pieces, peer-reviewed articles in medical and legal journals, social media posts, and via other communications channels;
  • Represent PHR in the media, and at external conferences, professional associations, academic institutions, government and policy-making organizations;
  • Serve on PHR’s leadership team, providing input on policy positions, advocacy and communication strategies, campaigns, and organizational management and administration;
  • Monitor global human rights issues and emerging conflicts; foster relationships with policy leaders, human rights organizations, academic institutions, donors, and others, in order to identify organizational opportunities;
  • Support fundraising for new research initiatives, coordinate closely with the Development department, meet current and prospective donors;
  • Carry out other functions requested by the director of programs.

Qualifications of the Ideal Candidate

  • Advanced degree or equivalent experience in international relations, public health, journalism, law, social sciences, or research-related field
  • At least 10-15 years progressive experience at nonprofit or international organizations, foundations, or government agencies, with a minimum of 5 years in a senior management position
  • Extensive research experience in international human rights, public health, and/or related work including investigations, reporting, and advocacy
  • Extensive knowledge of international and human rights law, global advocacy, and international justice mechanisms
  • Proficiency with a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research methods and human subjects research ethics
  • Superior writing and editing skills and demonstrated ability to defend and explain complex issues to broad audiences, including senior officials and intergovernmental bodies
  • Comfort dealing with the media and public speaking
  • Inclusive approach to leadership, comfortable working in a cross-cultural setting and with a variety of partners
  • Ability to multitask and work under tight deadlines
  • Proficiency in French, Arabic, and/or Spanish is a plus
  • A self-starter, self-disciplined with spark, imagination, and creativity
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, maturity, creativity, flexibility, passion for the program mission and mentorship of staff, patience, and a good sense of humor
  • Ability to work collaboratively, effectively, and professionally with multiple stakeholders and organizations

Salary and Benefits

This is a full-time position located in New York, NY. Candidates must be authorized to work in the United States and be currently working in the United States. Salary is commensurate with experience. PHR offers competitive employer-paid benefits, including medical, dental, disability, and life insurance, a retirement savings plan, and generous vacation.

How to Apply

Please email cover letter and resume to resumes@phr.org. Please include the job title of the position you are applying for in the subject line of your email and where you saw this job posting in the email body.

Physicians for Human Rights is an equal opportunity employer. We recruit and hire without regard to race, national origin, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, prior conviction, arrest history, disability, marital status, veteran status, or age.

Apply now