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Researcher - Plaintext Group

Many of the most pressing global policy challenges today have technical problems at their core (e.g. tech competition with China, AI infrastructure investment, global internet standards, and algorithmic fairness). Yet the top policy research groups and think tanks driving new policy ideas lack technical expertise on staff or within their networks. Solving these challenges requires technical insight, which can uniquely be produced by exceptional technical talent.

We are seeking “Computer Science + policy” researchers to help build a next-generation technical strategy group from the ground up to solve this by producing cutting edge knowledge products on tech strategy questions to drive decision making for policymakers and philanthropic investment.

This is a one-year position based in New York, NY with full-time salary and benefits. Researchers will be based in the Schmidt Futures offices in New York and be able to travel within the U.S. and internationally on a regular basis as needed.

As a Plaintext Researcher, you will:

  • Produce cutting edge research: Work with customers (i.e. decision makers in policy and philanthropy) to identify the most important topics for strategic analysis. Write the analysis itself with actionable outcomes in mind (e.g. policy proposals / grants / investments). Topics might include: tech competition with China, AI infrastructure, tech standards, algorithmic fairness.
  • Influence key decision makers and investments: We see direct impact through our grantmaking and extended network.
  • Work with the best people: Within both Schmidt Futures and our broader network we work with leading experts at the intersection of tech and policy. Leverage the broader network to build working groups of subject matter experts, run the working groups.


Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Strong technical literacy: Candidates must be fluent with a variety of computing topics. The role will not involve coding, so detailed knowledge at the implementation-level is not necessary, but researchers will need to “know what they don’t know” and who to ask about it. Comfort with data analysis is a plus. The technical expertise required is analogous to a product manager.
  • Strategic acumen: The ability to synthesize large amounts of raw information into actionable insights.
  • Exceptional written and spoken communication ability: Writing samples will be required in the application process.
  • Comfort in ambiguous unstructured environments: We are building a new form of organization. The environment is highly dynamic, and there are no precedents. Doing anything new comes with significant ambiguity and we want people that are excited by that environment and can thrive in it.
  • Project management: experience turning ambiguity into concrete tasks and delegating that out.
  • Experience applying metrics and objective-driven approach to solving problems: Comfort measuring outcomes, using OKRs etc.
  • Experience or strong interest working at the intersection of technology and the public interest sector.
    Entrepreneurial mindset: Experience building something from the ground up (e.g. a club, a new team at their job, an event).



  • Received a computer science degree or related technical degree at an accredited university.
  • Demonstrated interest or experience in projects at the intersection of technology and the social sector.


Who We Are

Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative, founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, that finds exceptional people and helps them do more for others together. We knit talent into networks, bet on the most promising ideas through diverse forms of competition and support, and equip people to scale through partners and modern tools. To realize this vision, Schmidt Futures uses a broad set of tools — including gifts, grants, investments, and startup activity — for charitable, educational, and commercial efforts with a public purpose. Our initiative brings together the efforts of various charitable and non-charitable entities to improve our potential impact by making diverse types of capital available to the efforts we support.

Plaintext Group is a nonpartisan, technology policy initiative being developed by Schmidt Futures. Our mission is to strengthen U.S. leadership through the advancement of technological exploration and scientific discovery. Schmidt Futures’ incubation of Plaintext Group is part of our effort to take on important public problems where systemic solutions may be available, by creating interdisciplinary institutions of exceptional people.


Futures Action Network, LLC, which operates Schmidt Futures, is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer that proudly pursues and hires a diverse workforce. We do not make hiring or employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion or religious belief, ethnic or national origin, nationality, sex, gender, gender-identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, military or veteran status, or any other basis protected by applicable local, state, or federal laws or prohibited by Company policy. We strive for a healthy and safe workplace and strictly prohibit harassment of any kind.

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