Director of Policy and Advocacy (hybrid) - Research!America #2024-2819

Location US-VA-Arlington
Job ID


Director of Policy and Advocacy


Research!America (R!A) is the nation’s leading nonprofit membership alliance advocating for science, discovery, and innovation to achieve better health for all. We are seeking a Director of Policy and Advocacy with experience on Capitol Hill, a comprehensive understanding of federal health and medical research policy, and exceptional problem-solving skills to strengthen our team. In this role, reporting to and working closely with the Senior Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, you will supervise 3 direct reports and be deeply involved in formulating and executing policy and advocacy objectives, as well as contributing to alliance member recruitment and stewardship, development, and other organization-wide priorities.


The US is at a pivotal point in history—the pipeline of medical research funding is under threat for the first time in over a decade while our understanding of current and potential health crises has never been clearer. There is tremendous scientific opportunity, but funding is essential for continued progress. You will work with our team to champion scientific innovation across the multiple sectors involved in its advancement, advocate for research that advances health, and urge Congress and the administration to increase funding for key agencies (NIH, CDC, FDA, AHRQ, and NSF). We will look to you to take a problem-solving, service-oriented approach to creating advocacy strategies and policy solutions, leveraging cross-partisan common ground while working toward our vision of achieving the fastest possible pace of medical and public health progress to benefit all.


In this role, you will have the opportunity to make a significant societal impact, helping shape the future of medical progress and public health. Diplomacy, discernment, and the ability to interface with high-level research and development ecosystem leaders, members of Congress, federal officials, key congressional and executive branch staff, and members of Research!America’s Board of Directors will be central to your success.


How You’ll Make an Impact

Working closely with the SVP, you will assume responsibility for ensuring the Policy and Advocacy team meets and exceeds its objectives. You will be essential in building our team’s capacity to map out strategy and respond quickly and effectively to the challenges and opportunities bearing on federal funding for medical and health research and the surrounding policy environment. Key focus areas include:

  • Policy Development and Advocacy. Work with the SVP to design and lead the execution of policy and advocacy strategies, including developing polished communications in R!A’s voice (briefing papers, talking points, letters to Congress, etc.). Serve as a lead point of contact for Policy and Advocacy to other R!A departments. Coordinate with the Senior Vice President in responding to inquiries from board members and external stakeholders. Manage special projects as assigned.
  • External Representation and Relationship Building. Represent R!A in various public speaking engagements and advocacy events. Engage in external meetings and forums to promote the mission. Play a significant role in maintaining relations with alliance members and participating in coalition activities.
  • Team Leadership. Supervise the Policy and Advocacy Associate, fellows, and interns. Set clear goals, foster open communication and collaboration, and empower team members to ensure the accurate and timely completion of initiatives. Oversee the Policy and Advocacy team’s role in signature events, including the Advocacy Awards and National Health Research Forum.


Work Environment, Salary, and Benefits 

  • You’ll enjoy a flexible hybrid schedule, with at least one in-office day weekly to collaborate with your team at our Washington, DC, metro area headquarters.
  • The budgeted salary range for this position is $110K - $125K with an outstanding benefits package including medical, dental and vision coverage; life insurance; long- and short-term disability insurance; a 403(b) retirement plan (after one year of service); and parking or Metro benefits.
  • You’ll join a warm, welcoming, and active team passionate about impacting issues critical to the health of our nation and society. We value innovation, flexibility, and adaptability in working together and in our outward-facing roles.



  • A track record of success in positions of increasing responsibility with 3-5 years of experience working in a congressional office, ideally as a legislative director or committee staff member. Experience in another mid-senior level policy or executive branch congressional relations role will also be considered.
  • Master’s degree in science, public health, public policy, government, or a relevant field is strongly preferred.
  • Demonstrable knowledge of the structure and functions of federal agencies involved in biomedical and other health research.
  • Knowledge of the research role and priorities of universities, hospitals, research institutes, professional and scientific societies, and the range of industries within the biosciences sector is highly preferred.
  • Strengths in the areas of strategic thinking and problem-solving, policy analysis and communications, coupled with exceptional interpersonal and organizational capabilities.
  • Mentorship or team leadership experience.


About Us

Research!America is a nonprofit medical and health research advocacy alliance that advocates for science, discovery, and innovation to achieve better health for all. Together with our member organizations representing a vast array of medical, health, and scientific fields, our goals are: (1) Achieve funding for medical and health research from the public and private sectors at a level warranted by scientific opportunity and supported by public opinion. (2) Better inform the public of the benefits of medical and health research and the institutions that perform research. (3) Motivate the public to actively support medical and health research and the complementary sciences that make advances possible. (4) Promote and empower a more active public and political life by individual members of the research community on behalf of medical and health research, public health, and science overall.


To Apply

We encourage you to apply even if your experience is not a 100% match with the position description; we will consider people from a variety of backgrounds and career experiences.


Use the "Apply" button on this page or simply email your resume to Aileen Hedden at with “Research!America – Director Policy Advocacy #2024-2819 SA” as the subject of the email.


Job responsibilities are similar to the following positions: Director of Advocacy, Director of Policy, Legislative Director, Legislative Assistant.


Staffing Advisors is committed to reducing bias in every aspect of the hiring process. We have long recommended a competency-driven approach to hiring. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law.


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