Research Program Manager

New York

Smart Design is looking for a Research Program Manager to own day-to-day project management on the most complex research programs and contribute to research operations.

Working primarily on a project-basis (vs. as agency of record), we need strategic thinkers with strong tactical project management skills. We’re looking for someone who is eager to grow, passionate about design and innovation, and comfortable representing Smart Design with senior client stakeholders.


Research-focused Project Management:

  • Work with project teams to develop research project plans, proposals, and presentations for new opportunities with clients and warm leads
  • Provide support to the project team throughout user research including gathering quotes from external user recruitment partners, scheduling research participants, managing user research payments, etc.
  • Help to standardize and own the relationships with freelance user researchers and external recruitment agencies for user research participants and SMEs
    Contribute to proposals/SOWs with support from content leads/Directors and BD Manager as needed
  • Manage account communication with clients on existing projects (with Project Director managing design or content questions)
  • “Emcee” and schedule important client milestone meetings with appropriately documented agenda items
  • Lead budget and scope creep discussions with clients and internally with Finance to ensure all projects stay on budget, in partnership with Project Director
  • Coordinate resources with project team and Resourcing/HR, inputting project timelines and resources into 10k

Naturally you’ll have:

  • 5+ years experience in project/program or account management with specific experience supporting UX research and innovation projects
  • Experience and/or eagerness to grow client relationships to secure follow-on work and build a sustainable pipeline of warm leads from client relationships
  • Experience scoping project details, and managing budgets from $50k to $500k+
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills with ability to build rapport with clients
  • Engaging interpersonal skills, comfortable leading client conversations, and networking
  • Strong attention to detail, but can see the strategic big picture
  • High motivation and self-discipline to work autonomously
  • Comfort with ambiguity to help chart your path forward, and creatively reach goals

The role is based in NYC and will need to be local. We work on a hybrid model of 50% in person. Salary range will be dependent on candidate level and experience, and average range may fall between $85-130k base salary plus bonus and benefits eligible. 

We are committed to creating an inclusive culture and are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. At this time, we are unable to sponsor for this position.