Advocacy Assistant / Jr. Research Scientist

Posted May 22, 2024

POSITION SUMMARY: Scholars at Risk (SAR) is seeking a highly-organized, self-motivated, and team-oriented individual to join the SAR team as Advocacy Assistant. The position will focus on conducting research, drafting, and verifying reports of attacks on the higher education sector, publishing these reports through SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project, and developing communications that highlight the efforts and issues covered by the advocacy team. The position requires excellent research, writing, communication, social media skills, attention to detail, and judgment. It is ideal for a proactive individual who takes initiative, enjoys the research process, and likes to work on a small team. The position requires timely and professional communication, including with partners, SAR and NYU staff, media, and the public.


50% – Research and reporting on attacks on scholars/academic freedom: SAR researches, documents, analyzes, and reports on attacks on higher education through SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project. The Advocacy Assistant will:

  • Research, draft, verify, and publish reports of attacks on the higher education sector around the world;
  • Manage an enhanced research system using “smart-search” technology to increase the volume and efficiency of SAR monitoring, including:
    • analyzing results for inclusion in SAR monitoring;
    • sharing relevant reports and studies via SAR websites, email lists, and social media;
    • working with SAR’s technology vendor(s) to develop successful search algorithms to flag
    • potential qualifying incidents of attacks on higher education worldwide; and
    • refining efforts based on results to reduce false positives

20% – Facilitate the production of Free to Think, the annual report of the Academic Freedom Monitoring Project

  • Research and fact-check for the Monitoring Project’s annual Free to Think report, white papers, country briefing papers, and letters of appeal;
  • Develop and assess a communications strategy for the report’s publication. In close coordination with the Senior Program Officer in charge of the Monitoring Project, the Advocacy Assistant will:
    • work with SAR’s design consultant to develop communications and promotional materials;
    • develop strategy for disseminating Free to Think by email, social media, and other modes of communication;
    • refine the metrics that SAR uses to assess distribution of the Free to Think report; and
      evaluate the Free to Think dissemination strategy.

30% – Support the advocacy team’s communications and programming: Working with team members and the Advocacy Director, the Advocacy Assistant will:

  • Research and draft press releases, digital posts, talking points, and other content that highlight SAR’s advocacy efforts and achievements, including initiatives to support imprisoned scholars and students, submissions to the United Nations and other interstate governmental bodies, and special report releases;
  • Integrate advocacy activities and updates into SAR communications and materials, including drafting and setting up in EveryAction SAR’s weekly Academic Freedom Media Review (an email bulletin that compiles media articles and other announcements about academic freedom worldwide) and monthly Advocacy Insider (e-newsletter that includes action alerts, attacks on higher education, related media reports, and updates on advocacy clinics and other projects); and organizing advocacy contributions to the monthly SAR newsletter and annual report;
  • Manage advocacy-related press inquiries and outreach;
  • Generate and update advocacy content on SAR’s website;
  • Prepare social media content, including campaigns supporting advocacy reports and initiatives as well as urgent responses to attacks on higher education;
  • Represent Advocacy on the SAR Communications Committee, including by attending weekly meetings;
  • Manage the design and drafting of advocacy materials; and
  • Provide support to advocacy programming, including by conducting research for reports and campaigns, managing the team calendar, ensuring developments are highlighted in SAR-wide internal update emails, taking team meeting minutes, and other related duties.


  • Undergraduate degree, or similar, relevant experience, required.
  • Excellent research and oral and written communication skills in English.
  • Exceptional attention to detail, initiative, time-management, and problem-solving abilities.
  • Experience in human rights or journalistic research and writing desirable.
  • Experience in press outreach and digital communications; strong understanding of social media for nonprofit organizations, including outreach, media, and development.
  • Commitment to human rights, academic freedom, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Ability to manage complex political and cultural factors, difficult information, including human rights abuses, and tensions between long- and short-term goals.
  • Social media, WordPress (or another comparable website design tool), and/or HTML code experience desired.

COMPENSATION & BENEFITS: Similar to other Scholars at Risk positions, this is an at-will position, subject to further extension beyond the annual reappointment process in August, based on program priorities, exemplary performance, and availability of funds. The position offers a salary range of $52,000 – $56,000, comparable to similar positions at peer organizations in the human rights/NGO field. Scholars at Risk in an independent not-for-profit corporation hosted at New York University (NYU). SAR staff are NYU employees seconded to SAR and are eligible for NYU employee benefits, including generous vacation leave and holidays; medical, dental, vision and life insurance options; and retirement benefits (all subject to terms established by NYU as described at

HOW TO APPLY: Apply online at by uploading the requested materials in one combined PDF: (1) a letter of interest, (2) resume, (3) list of references or letters of reference, and (4) a brief, unedited writing sample. DEADLINE FOR INITIAL APPLICATION REVIEW IS JUNE 7, 2024. Applications received after the deadline will be reviewed on a rolling basis, until the position is filled. No phone calls or email inquiries, please.

SAR/NYU is an equal opportunity employer. SAR/NYU does not discriminate due to race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender and/or gender identity or expression, marital or parental status, national origin, ethnicity, citizenship status, veteran or military status, age, disability, unemployment status, or any other legally protected basis, and to the extent permitted by law. Qualified candidates of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds are encouraged to apply. (Regrettably, SAR is not able to sponsor work-eligible visas.)

ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION:  Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of over 600 higher education institutions in over 42 countries. SAR’s mission is to promote academic freedom and defend the human rights of scholars and their communities worldwide. SAR meets this mission through three primary activity areas: (1) protection services for threatened scholars and other at-risk individuals; (2) advocacy and related research, reporting and campaigning for scholars or other victims of attacks on higher education; and (3) research and training on academic freedom and its constituent elements.  In furtherance of all of these activities, SAR organizes multiple events, trainings, courses and publications, including a biennial SAR Global Congress—an international gathering for SAR’s global movement and prospective new partners to share experience, discuss critical issues, and shape SAR’s research and advocacy strategies for the coming years. SAR’s staff is organized into teams for each of these programming areas, along with a membership team to research and develop services and activities for network member institutions, faculty and students, and related development and administration roles.  

Information at

In Categories: Career Opportunities