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Innovation and Economic Development Economist

Social Sciences Research
200Y5 Requisition #

RTI International has an opening for an economist who brings practitioner-based experience and intellectual creativity to economic impact analyses and the real-world applications of impact studies. This position will support multiple projects focused on quantifying the economic impacts of innovation and commercialization programs, investments in infrastructure, and the operations and activities of public and private sector entities, including universities, Fortune 500 companies, foundations, and research funders. It will also support the analysis of academic entrepreneurship and start-ups. 

A successful candidate will have experience using input-output models to estimate the economic impact of a variety of expenditures, investments, and programs for a broad range of clients. The candidate must be able to demonstrate an ability to engage with clients and colleagues to develop data collection strategies if expenditure or outcomes data are not readily available. This quality of engagement necessitates experience listening to client needs, developing strong conceptual frameworks for analysis, and designing and executing data collection strategies. A successful candidate will be able to use rigorous, defensible analysis approaches, and clearly articulate findings and key assumptions to the client and to a diverse group of stakeholders that will include people with economic backgrounds as well as lay audiences. Candidates should have working knowledge of national accounts and other essential economic data sources. 

The successful candidate will also support the analysis and evaluation of translational science programs, academic entrepreneurship, and accelerators. The candidate will have working knowledge of early-stage funding programs sponsored by the public and private sectors, and engage in analyses to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of these programs. Interest or experience in biomedical innovation programs is preferred.

Examples of projects that a candidate will support include: 
•    Economic analyses of programs and partnerships sponsored by research universities, Fortune 500 companies, and foundations
•    Evaluations of innovation and commercialization programs that result in licensing and start-up activity and that promote academic innovation
•    Impact analyses of emerging industries or technology sectors and their contribution to regional economies
•    Analysis of the potential for innovation programs to further regional innovation goals
This position is located within RTI’s Center for Applied Economics and Strategy (CAES). CAES staff draw on a range of quantitative and qualitative methods to perform high-quality research, evaluations, and strategy development for companies, universities, government agencies, foundations, and non-profit organizations. 

Responsibilities:  A successful candidate will be expected to contribute to the following task areas:
•    Serve as technical lead on regional economic impact modeling tasks
o    Work with project director(s) to understand client’s needs and use of economic impact analyses
o    Develop conceptual frameworks for defining and analyzing a range of economic impacts
o    Develop and implement data collection strategies to estimate direct expenditures, investments, or other economic outcomes (e.g., startup investment attraction, revenue growth, and job creation)
o    Oversee input-output analysis using IMPLAN, RIMS II, or custom models, including the use of STATA, R, or other mathematical programming language 
o    Communicate key findings and assumptions in written deliverables and oral presentations to the client and the client’s stakeholders
•    Work with project director(s) and other team members to analyze, estimate, and demonstrate other quantitative and qualitative impacts for clients on topics such as:
o    Innovation ecosystem development
o    Research and development programs
o    Academic entrepreneurship and start-up programs and accelerators
o    Private-sector mixed-use development and operations
o    Economic development programs and policies
o    Other key client investments such as workforce training, community partnerships, and small business development
•    Work with project director(s) and other team members to conduct interviews with subject matter experts and other external stakeholders when applicable and integrate data collected into input-output models and analyses
•    Collaborate effectively with project team members to develop concise, clear and visually appealing project reports and presentation.
•    Collaborate effectively with project team members, and with external experts and collaborators.
•    Manage workflow in a timely, realistic, and cost-effective manner to meet client expectations.
•    Contribute to the development of contract proposals and grant applications. 
•    Present research methods and findings via in-person or online presentations, technical reports, journal articles, blogs, and through other medium as relevant. 

Qualifications:  Qualified applicants should have the following:
•    Master’s degree or Ph.D. in economics, business, or related field. Master’s degree candidates should have at least 4 years of relevant experience. Candidates holding a Ph.D. should have at least 1 year of relevant experience.
•    Demonstrated experience performing a variety of economic impact studies for public and private sector clients. 
•    Track-record of publications and/or project reports presenting analysis findings and related quantitative analytical outputs. If selected to interview for the position, writing samples will be required related to a prior economic impact analyses performed.
•    Demonstrated understanding of the role of innovation ecosystems and innovation policy in economic growth and development though graduate work, internships, or prior work experience.
•    Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including ability to communicate complex issues to a wide range of audiences 
•    Legally authorized to work in the United States and should not require now, or in the future, sponsorship for employment visa status.

•    Previous experience in research consulting or client-driven research projects.
•    Specific knowledge of and interest in the following topics: big tech investment strategies, biomedical innovation, sustainable energy, data centers, and big data applications. 
•    Experience analyzing the economic impact of complex investments, programs, and policies.
•    Cost-benefit analysis of new technologies and technology development initiatives. 


RTI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition. Clients rely on us to answer questions that demand an objective and multidisciplinary approach—one that integrates expertise across the social and laboratory sciences, engineering, and international development. We believe in the promise of science, and we are inspired every day to deliver on that promise for the good of people, communities, and businesses around the world. For more information, visit www.rti.org.
For USA Job Postings Only: RTI participates in the US Government E-Verify program. Further information regarding the E-Verify program and laws that are designed to protect you against discrimination relating to your legal right to work in the US can be found here.
For San Francisco, CA USA Job Postings Only: Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records. Further information is available here.
We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. Further information is available here.

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