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Democratic Society: Research Manager, 26.4.

Research Manager - Democratic Practice

Europe (with strong preferences on Brussels and Berlin)

Salary band
49,011 - 52,686 Euros (C4) depending on experience


English. Knowledge of other European languages would be desirable

Full-time (38hours per week)

Reports to
Head of Design and Research

About the Role

The Research Manager will work within the Design and Research team at Democratic Society to support the further development and delivery of our Research Strategy and support the way in which the organisation does research and learning to develop better democratic practice. This role will operate across different Programmes within the organisation to provide updated knowledge and theory from the field of democratic innovation that can inform our work. The role will also support the translation of knowledge from the organisation’s democratic practice into thinking and developing better democratic design solutions to complex challenges.

Although we have a strong preference for the role to be based in Brussels or Berlin (where our offices are based) we will consider applications from other places in Europe. Applicants will have to be based in a Country where Democratic Society has already staff (Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, Austria and the UK) and will work closely to all offices across Europe, contributing to wider projects across the organisation. The applicant will have to have the right to work and travel in the EU.

Equality, access and diversity

Democratic Society is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes all suitably skilled persons regardless of their race, sex, disability, faith, sexual orientation, education or age. We are a multi-lingual and multi-cultural organisation, working internationally and actively working to ensure our team reflects the communities and places we serve. As a mission driven organisation, we seek people who are aligned with our core values of openness, democracy, and internationalism.


The role will report to the Head of Research and Design and will work closely with a range of partners, stakeholders and colleagues across the Democratic Society. The role will be expected to provide support on knowledge development and management, report writing and research governance.
More specifically, the role’s responsibilities will focus on the following four key areas:

1. Democratic Research

  • Leading the design of research plans (including the identification of lines of enquiry,research methods and tools, data analysis and dissemination) in line with the Research Strategy and the organisational Theory of Change.
  • Developing literature review and analysis on key topics of interest for different programmes and projects, and on the field of democratic innovation and democratic design.
  • Writing of research pieces and notes for the purpose of disseminating learning internally and externally in the organisation and for achieving policy impact.

2. Research Governance

  • Supporting the Head of Design and Research with the planning and execution ofresearch projects across the organisation.
  • Ensuring research projects are delivered at the high level of quality and in an ethical and inclusive way.
  • Liaising with partner organisations and stakeholder groups to ensure our research is informed by best practice in a manner that is open, non-extractive and inclusive.
  • Developing and leading specialist training and coaching on research ethics, researchskills and quality in qualitative research (with a particular focus on innovative and participatory research methods).

3. Thought Leadership

  • Supporting the work of the Head of Design and Research to deliver DemocraticSociety’s Research Strategy and establish the thought leadership of the organisation.
  • Representing Democratic Society at conferences or public speaking events – in coordination with the Head of Design and Research.
  • Establishing and maintaining strong partnerships with a wide range of actors in the field of democratic innovation and fostering relationships with key external organisations.

4. Learning and Impact

  • Supporting the organisation in becoming a ‘learning organisation’ and developing aresearch practice that will support the advancement of our democratic practice and impact.
  • Writing and sharing our learning for a range of audiences, including practitioners,academia, civil society, funders and democratic institutions.
  • Linking with a range of organisations, bodies and networks to learn and share with others; ensuring we are recognised in our communities of practice.

Person Specification

The ideal applicant will be an inspiring colleague with strong research skills and highly adaptive to work in a fast-paced environment.
The successful candidate must have the knowledge and enthusiasm for doing research in a participatory way and experience of working with action research approaches. Skills and experience in the policy field would be highly advantageous.

Qualifications and Experience

  • A minimum of 5 years’ experience in research management and ideally policy work in non-for-profit, government, philanthropy, or academic sector
  • Good knowledge of the field of democratic innovation and the theory and literature in this field
  • Master or equivalent expertise in democratic innovation research, political theory, or public policy (a PhD in this field would be highly desirable but not essential)
  • Direct experience of managing large and small-scale research projects would be necessary, dealing with diverse topics and working in complex and creative environments
  • Teaching and training expertise to support others to do high quality research work, data collection and analysis
  • Experience of working with governments and in the field of democratic innovation is highly desirable but not essential – however, the successful applicant must have a highly developed understanding of the public sector, policy making cycles and the democratic practitioner field.


  • Strong policy analysis and/or research skills, with a high preference for participatory research methods and action research
  • Excellent communication skills to share learning and impact with others internally and externally
  • Excellent writing and editorial skills to communicate with multiple audiences in academic and policy circles as well
  • Intellectually curios and enthusiastic about learning new things, with a passion for inclusion and participatory research and design
  • Strong project and research management and organisational skills. Previous experience working with dispersed and multicultural teams would be beneficial
  • Advanced proficiency in Microsoft Office and other specific research management and data analysis software (e.g. MS Office, Airtable, Miro, Zotero, Mendeley or others) in order to carry out research, analysis, and produce reports and presentations.

Deadline for application:

Please send your application (CV, a 1-page Cover letter and an example of your writing - e.g. reflective blog piece, a policy or academic paper) to Paola@demsoc.eu by 26 th April, 2021 (by midnight). We are planning to hold interviews on 6 th and 7th May, 2021 and we would appreciate it if the successful candidate could start the position as soon as possible.

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