Algorithms and Justice Research Assistant Role

The Algorithms and Justice track, part of the Berkman Klein Center’s Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative, explores ways in which government institutions incorporate artificial intelligence, algorithms, and machine learning technologies into their decisionmaking. Our aim is to help the public and private entities that create such tools, state actors that procure and deploy them, and citizens they impact understand how those tools work. We seek to ensure that algorithmic applications are developed and used with an eye toward improving fairness and efficacy without sacrificing values of accountability and transparency.  Our work begins with a focus on the use of risk assessment tools in the United States criminal justice system, while developing more generalizable lessons and best practices.

As part of this work, the Algorithms and Justice track is launching a database of risk assessment tools, including information about where and how they are used; development and validation practices; and legal, legislative, and/or media responses to their use.  This first-of-its-kind resource will allow researchers, lawyers, policymakers, and technologists to get a complete picture of the landscape of risk assessment in the United States from both a legal and technical perspective, thereby enabling real discussion of how and why these tools are used.


Research assistants will be expected to work between 5 and 15 hours per week and to be at the Berkman Klein Center’s Cyberlaw Clinic at least one day a week for a progress meeting.  RAs will primarily be responsible for performing research on the attributes and use of risk assessment tools in United States and entering that information into the Algorithms & Justice track’s risk assessment tool database.  RAs may also help with database testing and data analysis, and other opportunities for research or writing may arise.

Experience with research and data collection, particularly from state and local government sources, is helpful but not required.


Compensation is the standard Harvard RA/intern rate of $11.50/hour. No other benefits are provided.

Research Assistant Information and Eligibility

* The wage is $11.50 per hour.
* Time commitment is 5-15 hours per week.
* RAs do not have to be students.
* RAs do not have to be affiliated with Harvard University.
* We are unable to hire RAs who will conduct their work outside of the state of Massachusetts.
* We do not have the ability to provide authorization to work in the U.S

Applications and Questions

Please send your current CV or resume and a cover letter summarizing your interest and experience to Kira Hessekiel at with “Application for part-time Research Assistant” in the subject line.


Last updated

March 12, 2018