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Fairfax, Virginia, United States of America
JOB #R1901761

Lead Research Scientist, Criminal Justice

Working at ICF

Working at ICF means applying a passion for meaningful work with intellectual rigor to help solve the leading issues of our day. Smart, compassionate, innovative, committed, ICF employees tackle unprecedented challenges to benefit people, businesses, and governments around the globe. We believe in collaboration, mutual respect, open communication, and opportunity for growth. If you’re seeking to make a difference in the world, visit to find your next career. ICF—together for tomorrow.

Lead Research Scientist, Criminal Justice

Health, Environment, Analytics, Resilience, & Social Group

SEEDS Division

Fairfax, VA, Headquarters

Job Description

The Justice, Workforce and Community Development (JWCD) Research and Evaluation Team has a broad portfolio of projects focusing on criminal justice practices and policies. The team is seeking a Lead Research Scientist to work on multiple projects with topics ranging from victim services, juvenile justice, human trafficking, corrections, and law enforcement. You will be responsible for leading key tasks, serving as a project manager, reviewing and overseeing the work of more junior staff, and assisting in the collection, analysis, and dissemination of data through reports, journal articles, and presentations. In addition, you will assist in contract and/or grant proposal efforts by leading and managing individual efforts (as relevant), writing key sections and overseeing support sections. This is a mid-level management position for a criminal justice researcher looking to grow existing project management experience, statistical analysis, and business development skills in a fast-paced environment. You will contribute to the development of innovative, high quality products and services in support for multiple projects. 

Key Responsibilities:

  • Lead and manage large, complex projects, including oversight and mentoring of junior staff.
  • Oversee project budgets and adherence to project timelines and deliverables.
  • Collect primary data through conducting interviews, focus groups, or surveys. Lead site visits.
  • Manage databases and clean/process data using statistical analysis software such as SPSS, Stata, or SAS.
  • Oversee the transcription and coding of qualitative data.
  • Analyze primary and secondary data using intermediate and advanced statistical methods.
  • Teach/oversee entry-level staff in foundational quantitative methods such as programming in statistical software and basic statistical analyses.
  • Write proposal sections or lead small proposal efforts.  Contribute to writing reports, journal articles, and policy/practitioner briefs.
  • Present methods and findings to clients and represent projects at select national conferences and to key stakeholders.
  • Engage partners and potential clients to expand ICF’s network and build business relationships.
  • Supervise junior researchers on adherence to ICF policy, provided mentorship, offer insights on professional growth, and oversee technical responsibilities.

Basic Qualifications:

  • PhD in criminal justice, sociology, statistics, economics, or related field with a minimum GPA of 3.5 (unofficial transcript required with application).
  • 5+ years of work experience in applied social science research, with multiple past projects related to criminal justice topics.
  • Experience or knowledge related to victim services/victimology, juvenile justice, human trafficking, corrections, and/or other criminal justice areas.
  • Experience managing complex tasks with little oversight.
  • Demonstrated mastery and work experience (outside the classroom) related to statistical analyses and software (i.e., SPSS, SAS, and Stata) with strong skills in programming/syntax.
  • Experience with data collection, administering surveys, interviews, focus groups, or structured observations in multiple settings.
  • Superior technical writing skills including editing ability (writing sample is required) and recent publication of research findings (writing sample required with application).
  • Willingness to travel approximately 10% nationwide on an annual basis.
  • Proficient in MS applications, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Preferred Skills/Experience:

  • Experience with advanced statistical techniques, such as social network analysis, cost-benefit analysis, geospatial analysis/mapping, or advanced modeling (e.g., regression with diverse distributions, SEM, HLM).
  • Experiencing managing mid-sized to large projects (at least $300,000).
  • Prior research experience with vulnerable populations, especially victims or youth.
  • Experience and ability to work with all levels of internal staff, as well as outside clients and partners.

Professional Skills:

  • Strong organizational skills, superior attention to detail, and ability to meet stringent deadlines.
  • Strong analytical, problem-solving, and decision making capabilities.
  • Superior interpersonal skills including professionalism and a collaborative attitude. Candidate should enjoy and be able to work effectively as part of a team.
  • Ability to be flexible, multi-task, prioritize, work independently, and manage multiple activities simultaneously in a fast-paced, demanding environment.
  • Self-motivated, proactive, and eager to learn.

ICF offers an excellent benefits package, an award winning talent development program, and fosters a highly skilled, energized and empowered workforce. 

ICF is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity at all levels. (EOE – Minorities/Females/ Protected Veterans Status/Disability Status/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity)

Reasonable Accommodations are available for disabled veterans and applicants with disabilities in all phases of the application and employment process. To request an accommodation please email and we will be happy to assist. All information you provide will be kept confidential and will be used only to the extent required to provide needed reasonable accommodations. Read more about non-discrimination: EEO is the law and Pay Transparency Statement.

About ICF

ICF (NASDAQ:ICFI) is a global consulting services company with over 5,000 specialized experts, but we are not your typical consultants. At ICF, business analysts and policy specialists work together with digital strategists, data scientists and creatives. We combine unmatched industry expertise with cutting-edge engagement capabilities to help organizations solve their most complex challenges. Since 1969, public and private sector clients have worked with ICF to navigate change and shape the future. Learn more at

Fairfax, VA (VA01)

Who is ICF?

A consulting services company of over 5,000 experts across 67 countries, but not your typical consultants

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