American Foundation for the Blind

JOB TITLE: Senior Policy Researcher

Department: Public Policy Center, Washington, DC
Reports To: Director, Public Policy
Purpose:  To provide leadership for the development and analysis of research to support AFB's public policy agenda and to support research projects related to AFB's mission.

The American Foundation for the Blind removes barriers, creates solutions, and expands possibilities so people with vision loss can achieve their full potential. AFB helps the 25 million Americans living with vision loss in every aspect of life-their education, their careers, their families, the technologies they use, and the laws that shape their environment. In contrast, in many parts of the world, untold millions of children and adults with disabilities are denied education, opportunities to work, and other basic rights merely because they are blind or visually impaired or have other disabilities.

AFB's Public Policy Center in Washington, DC collaborates with policymakers in Congress and the Executive Branch to ensure Americans with vision loss have equal rights and opportunities to fully participate in society. Through the analysis of published research, interpretation of demographic and related data, and the conducting of quantitative and qualitative investigations, AFB's research function strives to accurately and persuasively understand and describe the characteristics, experiences, needs, and capabilities of people who are blind or visually impaired and to inform AFB's Public Policy strategy.

The Center seeks a skilled researcher with dynamic presentation skills to join a passionate team of advocates in creating and supporting AFB's research and public policy agenda.

The ideal candidate is a researcher/evaluator, policy analyst, strategic leader, collaborative team player, project manager, relationship builder, and communicator. (S)he should have a PhD with postdoctoral experience and a strong publication record in a related field.  (S)he will have the gravitas to lead the organization's research and public policy agenda and to be able to tactically execute the vision in traditional, political, and new media channels. The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of developing and managing knowledge capture/dissemination processes (tool development, accountability, protocols, and incentives, internal and external communication) and systems (online, databases, document management).

Key Responsibilities:
  1. Provides leadership for the proposal, development and conduct of research projects including but not limited to scientific and policy research, demographic studies, and program evaluation.
  2. Offers expert guidance to other AFB staff undertaking research-related activities. Formulates research-based public policy and program evaluation recommendations.
  3. Serves as AFB's primary national spokesperson communicating data and research findings both orally and in writing for lay and professional audiences. Serves as primary AFB respondent to demographic and related information requests, and coordinates communication of responses with various AFB departments.
  4. Writes grant proposals and manages outside-funded projects (federal, state, or private), helping to advance and implement AFB's research objectives. Serves as principal investigator for AFB-administered research grants as assigned; monitors and expertly assesses potential grants and other new research revenue; serves as grant peer reviewer for federal agencies as appropriate and assigned.
  5. Prepares original research and research-based knowledge through public presentations, discipline-specific seminars, professional peer-reviewed publication, and consultation.
  6. Provides leadership for the design and delivery of research-related sessions and roundtable activities at AFB/other sponsored events, via the Internet to foster discussion, debate and information sharing.
  7. Serves as an authority on AFB's behalf participating in disability-based and discipline-based coalitions and other venues to advance AFB's public policy agenda and to promote partnership opportunities among interested stakeholders for conducting and disseminating research.
  8. Represents AFB before the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch through formal and informal written/oral communications, testimony, comments on proposed regulation, etc. for the purpose of articulating support for AFB's public policy agenda with appropriate evidence from relevant fields of research.


  • Doctoral degree or enrollment in doctoral studies program in public administration or other social science, education, public health, information science, or disability-related field required
  • 3+ years of professional work in the candidates' subject matter expertise or equivalent (that includes professional peer-reviewed publication) required
  • Must possess demonstrable professional/academic proficiency in research methods and policy analysis (including proficiency with SPSS/SAS and related software)
  • Demonstrated exceptional speaking and writing skills
  • Knowledge of and experience in vision loss/disability studies a plus
  • Ability to manage multiple competing priorities and projects simultaneously in a fast-paced environment under deadlines

Compensation:  Commensurate with experience, plus benefits Some travel required

Please contact:

Elyse Barbell
Senior Director, Nonprofits

Stephen-Bradford Search
646-728-2309 (Direct)