Join the team at SNF Agora

Current Opportunities:

The SNF Agora Institute is seeking a Special Projects Manager to support the Director and Deputy Director with all aspects of special projects related to the institute’s work under two of its core pillars: Discovery (research) and Design (translational praxis). Responsibilities will include helping to manage special SNF Agora research and praxis projects (including communities of practice); conducting discrete research and writing projects for the Director and Deputy Director; managing public relationships with a diverse range of stakeholders involved in SNF Agora’s Discovery and Design work; assisting with project budgeting and fundraising; and providing administrative support, including briefings and related materials, and supporting the administrative team in the Directors’ office. Candidates will need to use independent judgment and initiative to manage relationships, help develop strategic direction of projects, and independently advance research and writing projects. The ideal candidate will have excellent interpersonal and writing skills, and be interested in exposure to a wide range of work in the area of democracy studies and democracy reform.  Other duties may be assigned, deemed appropriate by the Director or senior members of the Director’s office team. Examples of research and communities of practice at SNF Agora can be found here.

This is a two-year position, beginning as soon as possible, with renewal after that date contingent on the receipt of additional extramural funding.  This benefits-eligible position carries an annual salary of $50,000-$65,000 depending on experience and expertise

NOTE: Evening and weekend work will be required at times to help coordinate and staff events arising out of faculty and Visiting Fellow research, such as conferences and stakeholder meetings.


Required Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in political science, history, international studies, or related areas by the start of the appointment
  • Outstanding research and writing skills
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to simultaneously manage multiple large-scale projects
  • Experience and interest in convening and managing events for diverse stakeholders (e.g., conferences, symposia, workshops)
  • Commitment to the SNF Agora Institute Mission
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and in teams
  • Enthusiasm working in a fast-paced, dynamic work environment

Apply here

The SNF Agora Institute is an equal opportunity employer, committed to attracting and retaining a diverse faculty and staff that honor multiple experiences, perspectives and unique identities. We strive to create create and maintain working and learning environments that are inclusive, equitable, and welcoming.

AMS – SNF Agora Postdoctoral Fellowship

The Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics (AMS), and the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University seek a postdoctoral fellow to work at the interface of data science and democracy.

The position is intended for a mathematical scientist at an early stage of their career, and is ideal for someone who wishes to pursue an interdisciplinary academic position or a decision support position in the nonprofit or government sectors.

Jointly funded by AMS and SNF Agora, the fellowship begins July 1, 2021, and can be renewed for up to a total of two years. The postdoc will teach three courses in AMS over two years, will work on joint research projects in AMS and SNF Agora, and will have faculty mentors in both AMS and SNF Agora.  The position carries an annual salary of $65,000.

Apply here

Johns Hopkins is committed to active recruitment of a diverse faculty and student body. The university is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer of women, minorities, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities and encourages applications from these and other protected group members. Consistent with the university’s goals of achieving excellence in all areas, we will assess the comprehensive qualifications of each applicant.


Research Assistant

More in Common and the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University are looking for a graduate student or researcher available to help with literature reviews and background research for a project beginning immediately in the spring of 2021. This position will be supported through a stipend from More in Common and is open to graduate students or researchers with backgrounds in civic studies, political science, sociology, psychology, or any field of collective action, democracy studies, and pluralism.

Project Background

More in Common and the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University seek to organize a convening and follow up publication focused on synthesizing the evidence base for how we create collective settings that develop the behaviors and orientations that underlie a culture of democracy, and proposing a research agenda for moving forward. This will be an action-oriented convening (in early August 2021) intended to drive subsequent efforts that conceptualize, test, measure, and evaluate new interventions for shaping a positive culture of democracy. Convening participants will include researchers and practitioners from a diverse set of fields and backgrounds: researchers and academics from political science, psychology, communications, and sociology; advocates and campaigners from democracy reform and racial justice; civil servants from local, state, and federal government; and grassroots practitioners from association organizations concerned with civic engagement, behavior, and values.

Through this work, we seek to build a new conceptual architecture or framework which challenges the democracy reform ecosystem to consciously integrate efforts to shape the culture that makes possible an integrated approach to systems change. There is a great deal of integrated research and advocacy towards system reforms such as rank choice voting, expanded districts, increasing the size of the House of Representatives, and enacting stronger campaign finance reforms. Similarly, academics working with campaigns have produced a large volume of insights on voter engagement and mobilization, thus seeking to shape civic and political behaviors. However, there is far less evidence for how to affect constructive culture change on values such as pluralism or political tolerance, cultivate shared bridging identities, or nurture the kind of collective empowerment that moves beyond conventional identities or “tribes” and minimizes the “rule or die” mentality that polarizes our politics. The field also lacks rigorous evidence for how to better engage the approximately 40% of voters who rarely vote. Cutting through all these gaps are issues of race, belonging, and power.

Too often, we take the notion of a culture of democracy as a given. Culture, however, does not emerge in a vacuum. Instead, it emerges in the collective settings in which people come together to learn the rights and responsibilities of democratic citizenship. Alexis de Tocqueville famously wrote about the importance of these informal “schools of democracy” in making democracy work. Nowadays, in the 21st century, those schools of democracy have either morphed or become so weak that they would be hardly recognizable to Tocqueville. Yet, they remain fundamental to the democratic project. How can we identify and examine the characteristics of settings that bring people together, nurture the behaviors and orientations necessary for a pluralistic democracy, and create a collective culture of democracy?

The researcher’s primary responsibilities will be to assemble a literature review on existing work in this area and help prepare materials that will both inform the convening, and the publication or report that emerges from it. The bulk of the work is likely to take place from Feb-May 2021, with some follow up possible in the summer of 2021.


The researcher’s primary responsibilities will include the following:

1. Conducting literature review and synthesis of multidisciplinary research on what we know about the kinds of collective settings that are likely to shape the behaviors and orientations that underlie a culture of democracy;
2. We imagine that conducting this literature review will involve (a) developing citation network maps across multiple disciplines, (b) developing annotated bibliographies, (c) conducting interviews with leading scholars and experts in the field to gather their expertise, (d) writing the literature review;
3. Regular check-ins with the More in Common and SNF Agora teams, including creating a schedule for initial outlines, first drafts, and revisions;
4. Supporting creating preparatory materials for the August 2021 convening; and,
5. Other duties as assigned.

We seek candidates that are strongly interested in studying democracy and community-based organizations, as well as the intersection of “on the ground” research and advocacy. Excellent writing and communication skills are a must.


The minimum qualification required to be considered an applicant is to be a currently enrolled Ph.D. student in any related field (e.g., political science, political psychology, sociology, ethnic studies, public policy, etc.) or an independent researcher with the appropriate background.

Additional Qualifications (required by start date):

1. Ability to work both independently and in collaboration
2. Ability to meet project deadlines
3. Experience working in teams
4. Exceptional writing, research, and communication skills
5. Experience conducting meta-analyses and literature reviews desired
6. Excellent organizational skills

The appointment for this position will begin immediately and extend to the summer of 2021. We anticipate weekly requirements of 12-15 hours. Compensation will be $25/hour.

How to Apply

This position is open until filled. Questions regarding this position, and application materials can be directed to with the subject line “Research Assistant Position”. Complete applications will include a cover letter, CV, and short writing sample of 5000 words or less, and the names and contact information for three references. Letters of reference are not required at this time. We will seek your permission before contacting your references.

We value diversity across many dimensions, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, age, religious belief, and political orientation.