Research Structure

Become a Researcher at IDA

Most research staff start their careers at IDA as either a Research Analyst or Research Associate. A relatively flat organizational structure encourages collaboration across teams and shared responsibility for our mission.

Research Analysts apply analytical, scientific, and technical expertise to a variety of projects to address questions from government sponsors on national security or science policy topics in a collaborative team-based environment. They demonstrate broad abilities to conduct all phases of research and analysis: conceptualize a research idea, frame a question for analysis, select appropriate methodology, conduct research and analysis, reach objective conclusions, and effectively communicate findings. More experienced Research Analysts also develop and manage research projects and provide leadership to other team members.

Degree breakdown for IDA research staff

Qualifications: Early career Research Analysts are typically recent doctoral graduates or individuals with substantial industry experience in scientific, analytical or military fields. At minimum, Research Analysts must have a bachelor’s degree plus 10 years of experience, a master’s degree with 8 years of experience, or a doctorate in a discipline appropriate for the position.  Mid-career and senior-level research analyst positions are available as well.

Early career Research Associates work under the guidance and direction of more experienced Research Analysts. They are an integral part of research teams at IDA and provide critical support on our projects. They provide skills within an area of substantive or academic training, technical expertise, and project management and coordination. Research Associates apply quantitative and specialized qualitative research tools and methods to support some or all phases of research including data collection, analysis, and reporting. Research Associates may provide administrative research support to projects such as coordination of Institutional Review Board reviews, management of data collection, and coordination of day-to-day project operations. Computer programming capabilities, training in data collection or data analysis techniques, or project management skills may be required or preferred for some positions.

Qualifications: Early career Research Associates are typically recent graduates at the bachelor’s or master’s degree level. They are members of interdisciplinary research teams and must demonstrate good interpersonal communications skills and contribute effectively to a team approach to problem solving.

Each of IDA’s three Federally Funded Research and Development Centers contain a number of separate teams and divisions, working in concert to support the needs of our government sponsors.

Systems and Analyses Center (SAC)

SAC, located in Alexandria, Virginia, blends expertise in technologies and systems with deep knowledge of costs, policies, human capital, intelligence, advanced analytic methods and sponsor organizations and processes.

Learn more about SAC and its different research divisions.

Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI)

Just steps from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., STPI’s interdisciplinary staff provides responsive, high-quality analyses of national and international science and technology issues.

Center for Communications and Computing

Center for Communications and Computing offices are located in Princeton, New Jersey; La Jolla, California; and Bowie Maryland. The research portfolio at these locations has evolved over the years as communications and computing technologies have advanced. Today, areas of particular emphasis include but are not limited to: the creation and analysis of sophisticated encryption methods, algorithmic and mathematical foundations of cryptology, and analytical applications for large data sets.

Contact us at to learn more about our application process.