Research Fellow, Education Practice

Christensen Institute - Lexington, Massachusetts or Remote - Full time

The Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation (the “Institute”) seeks a full-time Research Fellow to join its education practice. This individual will help shape the dialogue around the future of education in order to create a more effective, student-centered system that better serves students, families, and society.

In particular, over the next two years, this Research Fellow will partner with the Institute’s Director of Education Research to implement a new initiative aimed at expanding access to personal and professional social capital among K-20 students overcoming barriers to opportunity. This initiative builds off the momentum and interest generated by Who You Know, Julia Freeland Fisher’s recent book spotlighting the potential of increasing access to social capital to disrupt the opportunity gap, fueled by robust student support structures, new affordable technology platforms, and flexible, networked instructional models. Through this new initiative, the Institute seeks to expand field-wide understanding of the critical role that relationships play in the opportunity equation, and to promote scalable innovations that expand and diversify students’ networks into and through young adulthood.

Over time, the Research Fellow will develop a deep content knowledge and expertise associated with the Institute’s body of work on social capital and establish a national voice as a leading researcher in this field. S/he will serve as a primary researcher and author of major publications including case studies, white papers, and policy briefs, and will travel to education conferences and meetings to speak and share insights from the Institute’s ground-breaking research that will inspire policymakers and education leaders to transform student opportunities through expanded access to social capital. In addition, the Research Fellow will have a lead responsibility for supporting effective overall project management of the initiative. The candidate should have an entrepreneurial spirit, strong interpersonal and collaborative skills, be able to effectively develop and implement a coherent and compelling research strategy, and be able to build a following in the field.


Document emerging innovations that expand students’ social capital in user-friendly blogs, briefs, case studies, and white papers disseminated widely to help others in field adopt and adapt relationship models.

Get familiarized with and stay apprised of relevant social capital research from multiple disciplines and sectors and prepare persuasive briefs integrating these insights into narratives about the transformative role that relationships play in the opportunity equation.

Distill the outputs of convenings and other social capital forums to help inform and iterate R&D priorities arising on the frontlines of practice, helping to generate a collective R&D agenda for the field.

Develop and build out in partnership with the Institute’s external relations team. Lead creation of a third website section, Relationship R&D, to provide easy access to compelling examples of innovative program models and their design and measurement choices.

Lead overall project management of the social capital field-building initiative, ensuring forward movement across all goals and activities, timely deliverables, and cohesive management of outreach and engagement with social capital “ambassadors,” program leaders, practitioners, foundations, and others involved in this work.

Over time, promote research findings through speaking engagements and media interviews, and partner with other organizations in the field to extend the Institute’s reach and impact.


Deep interest and 5-10 years of experience in the education field.

Experienced, persuasive writer that can engage a targeted audience through a variety of communication channels (blogging, social media, white papers and case studies).

Ability to speak compellingly for large and small audiences.

Sound research skills rooted in an ability to see both qualitative and quantitative trends through the lens of the theories of disruptive innovation.Master’s Degree in business, education, law, or policy a plus.

Demonstrated curiosity in the history and future trends of K-12 education.

Understanding of Clayton Christensen’s theories of disruptive innovation a plus. Given this unique platform and approach, it is essential that all researchers develop a through understanding of and ability to apply these theories in their work.

The Institute is based in Lexington, MA. Virtual employment is a possible option for the right candidate.

Position Type: Full-time

Start date: On or before September 1, 2019

Location: Flexible

To Apply: To apply, email your cover letter and resume in PDF format to

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Experience Level

Mid Level

Christensen Institute

Founded on the theories of Harvard professor Clayton Christensen, the Christensen Institute offers a unique framework for understanding society’s most pressing issues in education, healthcare, and economic prosperity.

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