Research Analyst

  • Metropolitan Area Planning Council
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  • Sep 02, 2020
Full time Climate Change/ Resiliency Energy Efficiency Environmental Planning - NEPA Green Building - Sustainable Development Renewable Energy Research Sustainability

Job Description


The Metropolitan Area Planning Council seeks an innovative and technically-skilled Research Analyst to conduct policy-oriented research in support of equitable and sustainable regional planning. The Analyst will help to  design, manage, and execute mixed-methods research to advance MAPC’s policy and planning initiatives. Research will encompass topics such as housing and economic development, public health, arts and culture, clean energy and the environment, land use, municipal governance, demographics, transportation, and others. Examples of recent projects include Climate Vulnerability mapping, analysis of the housing impacts of COVID-19, and analysis of the diversity of the municipal workforce in Metro Boston. 

Applicants must be proficient in quantitative and spatial analysis, possess strong communication and data storytelling skills, and be familiar with issues and topics relevant to regional planning. This is an ideal position for someone excited about  applying state-of-the-art modeling tools and analytical methods to real-world applications in a large metropolitan region with a variety of social, environmental, and transportation challenges. We seek an individual who is innovative, mission-driven, and committed to advancing sustainability and equity through just, inclusive, empowering, and data-informed public processes.

About MAPC
MAPC is the Regional Planning Agency (RPA) serving the people who live and work in Metropolitan Boston.  Our mission is to promote smart growth and regional collaboration. We are guided by MetroFuture: Making a Greater Boston Region, our regional policy plan for the region, which was adopted in 2008.  We are currently working on a successor regional plan, MetroCommon X 2050. MAPC's staff includes approximately 100 full-time employees located in downtown Boston in a transit-accessible and bike-friendly office.

The Analyst will report to the Research Manager, who oversees a 5-person team within MAPC’s Data Services Department, which is recognized as a national leader in data dissemination, regional indicators, scenario modeling, spatial analysis, and open source interactive websites. For more information about the department’s work, visit

During the COVID emergency, almost all staff are working from home.  MAPC is deeply committed to on-boarding new staff in ways that integrate them fully into our team of professionals, and maintaining close contact among existing staff, new staff, and external stakeholders.

Examples of Duties


  • Design and implement policy-oriented quantitative and mixed methods research addressing local, regional, and statewide issues impacting Metro Boston.
  • Summarize and communicate research results in narrative, visual, and digital formats for use in planning reports, policy briefs, public presentations, and other MAPC communications. Present findings to team members, stakeholders, and the general public in a variety of settings.
  • Research and obtain updates to MAPC’s existing datasets as they are released from public agencies, the private sector, and other MAPC departments.
  • Contribute to the collection and analysis of novel and non-traditional datasets, such as online rental listings or job advertisements. Help determine whether and how such datasets could be used in research activities. 
  • Recommend research projects and data analyses to advance MAPC’s mission and to address concerns in the region. 
  • Collaborate with colleagues to develop tools and web platforms for communication of research, including development of automated data cleaning and analysis scripts and production of digital, interactive data visualizations.
  • Provide on-demand data analysis for MAPC’s Executive Director and other MAPC departments, municipal staff, the press, and other constituents. Quickly identify relevant datasets and provide summary statistics, maps, and key findings as requested.
  • Build relationships with other agencies and allied organizations to support ongoing collaboration and data-sharing.

Typical Qualifications

The successful candidate will demonstrate most or all of the following:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in planning, statistics, sociology, economics, public health, or a related field, and at least 2 years of experience in a related field, or a Master’s degree or higher in a related field.
  • A high proficiency with managing, analyzing, and visualizing both spatial and tabular data. Proficiency in R, Python, PostgresSQL or other statistical and data management tools. Experience using GIS for mapping and spatial analysis.
  • Demonstrated experience in research design, methods, and interpretation.
  • Excellent communication skills (written and oral) with experience in giving presentations and writing research reports with detailed technical documentation. Ability to translate findings into compelling, data-driven narratives and visual presentations.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of regional planning topics, and experience with the planning and policy context of a metropolitan region, Metro Boston preferred.
  • Proficiency with diverse datasets from federal, state, and local agencies including the Decennial Census, American Community Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and others.
  • Successful experience working in interdisciplinary teams with colleagues from various topical backgrounds.
  • A commitment to advancing smart growth, regional collaboration, and equity in Metro Boston. Fluency discussing various types of diversity (racial, ethnic, linguistic, age, ability, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, immigration status, and more), as they relate to data interpretation, policy, and research.
  • Self-motivated and goal oriented with the ability to take an innovative, strategic, and analytical approach to research and collaboration.

Supplemental Information

This is a full-time position.  The starting salary ranges from $58,000 to $68,000 annually depending on qualifications and experience. MAPC offers excellent Massachusetts state employee benefits as well as a flexible, supportive, and family-friendly work environment.

How to Apply
The position is open until filled, and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter, résumé, and three references.

Apply online at A review of applications will begin immediately. The position is open until filled. Candidates must have legal authorization to work in the USA.
MAPC is an EOE/AA employer. MAPC takes pride in the diversity of its workforce and encourages all qualified persons to apply. 

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Government- Local/Regional


$58,000.00 - $68,000.00 Annually