Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Center for International Security and Cooperation Stanford University

CISAC Employment

Marilie Coetsee (left), former research assistant, and Associate Director of Research Lynn Eden

The Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), part of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), is a multidisciplinary community dedicated to research and training in issues of international security. The Center brings together scholars, policymakers, area specialists, business people, and other experts to focus on a wide range of security questions of current importance.

CISAC grew out of Stanford University's pioneering commitment to explore concerns about the escalating arms competition that marked the decades following World War II. With the founding of the Arms Control and Disarmament Program in 1970, Stanford University became one of the first academic institutions in the nation to commit faculty and resources to the study of the critical issues surrounding the Cold War. Today it has expanded its mission to also focus on nuclear risk reduction, biosecurity and global health, cybersecurity, terrorism and homeland security, governnance, migration and transnational flows. 

Current Openings:

Research Assistant to Siegfried Hecker


Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) is one of the nation’s leading interdisciplinary, university-based research and training centers addressing critical international security issues. The Center draws on scholars from a range of disciplines, integrating political, regional, and scientific expertise in international affairs, and applying this expertise to policy-relevant solutions.

Professor Siegfried Hecker is seeking a research assistant with outstanding academic credentials to conduct research, draft reports, support teaching and lecture activities, and assist with a range of administrative needs. The research assistant will support the scholarly and policy research of Dr. Siegfried Hecker, Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and Professor, (Research), Management Sciences and Engineering. The research assistant will play an essential role in Professor Hecker’s efforts to reduce nuclear risks posed by nuclear programs in China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea. Specifically, the research assistant will support Professor Hecker’s sponsored projects by conducting research on topics ranging from the history of U.S. – Russia lab-to-lab cooperation to nuclear risk reduction initiatives with Russia, China, and Pakistan, to ongoing research on Iran and North Korea’s nuclear capabilities. In addition, the research assistant will provide administrative support for Professor Hecker’s ambitious research and teaching agenda; for example, by assisting in organizing conferences and travel, managing two courses annually, and overseeing the finances and reporting for sponsored research grants.

Research responsibilities (50% FTE): The research assistant will provide research support for reports and articles written by Professor Hecker and co-author articles on topics related to nuclear weapons policy, nuclear security (including nonproliferation and counter terrorism), and cooperative nuclear threat reduction. Research and writing will be policy-oriented, with political and technical dimensions requiring background in international relations subjects. The research assistant will analyze information and prepare written synopses and reports on research areas listed above, to be used by Professor Hecker in meetings, workshops, grant reports, and books.  

The Research Assistant will be responsible for designing programs (including workshops, meetings, and events) to further objectives for sponsored projects. The research assistant will also organize all aspects of important workshops and conferences – for example, design and create agendas, draft talking points and presentation materials, write and prepare policy briefs for invited speakers, coordinate logistics for conferences, and author reports and summaries.

Administrative responsibilities (30% FTE): The research assistant will manage a busy and changing calendar, arrange complex domestic and international travel (including visa applications, hotel and ground transportation reservations and airline reservations), plan a wide-range of events and workshops at Stanford and internationally (including in challenging settings in Asia and the Middle East), draft and format letters for signature and mailing, process reimbursements and payments, coordinate visits to CISAC for a wide range of visitors, and organize and file a large amount of materials. Will also serve as Course Administrator for Professor Hecker’s two courses—the first a large lecture course on the role of technology in national security; the second, a small seminar for sophomores that focuses on nuclear weapons and nuclear energy; will oversee and guide the activities of Professor Hecker’s student RA’s and TA’s.

Financial responsibilities (20% FTE): The research assistant will oversee and manage finances for multiple sponsored projects. Duties include drafting budgets and financial reports, reviewing monthly expenditure statements for accuracy, and tracking expenses for all accounts to ensure grant does not exceed budget parameters.


The ideal candidate is a skilled and tenacious researcher with first-rate analytical capabilities. The candidate is an exceptional writer, able to produce near-publishable or publication-quality work independently. He or she is extremely well organized, self-motivated, detail-oriented and wants to work on the world’s most challenging international security problems. He or she has a familiarity with nuclear issues and international relations subjects. He or she has the poise and diplomacy to interact with some of the world’s leading scholars, government officials and other dignitaries. The candidate exercises absolute discretion when handling sensitive information.

Applicants should have an excellent academic track record in international affairs, political science, history, the physical sciences, or a related field. Advanced research skills are required, including library, archival, and online research. Exceptionally strong web-based research skills are mandatory, as is a deep familiarity with web-based academic resources. The candidate should be familiar with maintaining and preparing footnotes, bibliographic checking, and fact checking. The candidate should have familiarity with a range of administrative responsibilities, including scheduling, office organization, and answering phone calls. The candidate should have outstanding Word, Power Point, and Excel skills. Lastly, the candidate should be willing to travel domestically and internationally to support Professor Hecker’s research projects.

A Bachelor’s degree required. One year of applicable experience desired. A background check will be required for all final candidates. For consideration please submit a resume and cover letter via under job number 62458.

Social Science Research Assistant


Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) seeks talented individuals who desire to work in a multidisciplinary community dedicated to research and training issues of international security.  The Center brings together scholars, policymakers, area specialists, business people, and other experts to focus on a wide range of security questions of current importance.  The qualified candidate will partner with Consulting Professor Philip Taubman by providing critical research assistance.  

This is a two-year fixed term position with the possibility of renewal. It is an exempt position designated at the 2P1 level. A general summary of the benefits available to employees of Stanford University can be found at the following link:

Job Description:

The research assistant will work with Philip Taubman to conduct research, draft reports, and assist with a range of research and administrative needs. Incumbent will assist Philip Taubman on a biography of George P. Shultz, who served as secretary of state during the Reagan administration and as labor secretary, director of the Office of Management and Budget and treasury secretary during the Nixon administration. This will be the first comprehensive biography of Mr. Shultz. It is being done with Mr. Shultz’s full cooperation and exclusive access to his personal papers, which are housed at Stanford, but the author will retain full editorial control.

Research areas will include:


  • Biographical research spanning Mr. Shultz’s career, starting with his childhood and extending across his academic, government and business service, as well as later years; biographical research about American and foreign leaders with whom Shultz interacted.
  • Researching domestic and international issues that he engaged during his career, including labor, civil rights and economic policy matters during the Nixon administration and diplomatic, and defense and intelligence issues that played out during the Reagan administration; the Iran-Contra affair; Cold War history, particularly US-Soviet relations, US-China relations, the Middle East.  
  • Reviewing archival materials at the National Archives, The Nixon Library, the Reagan Library, the Hoover Institution and other collections. Including preparing and tracking requests to seek the declassification of government documents and records.
  • Organizing and maintaining large data sets and assembling so that they can be efficiently exploited during the writing phase of the project and serve as the basis for endnotes and fact-checking during the editing phase of the project.
  • Preparing research reports on various aspects of Mr. Shultz’s career and the economic, national security and other domestic and international issues he engaged during his career.
  • Conducting interviews of individuals frequently along with Philip Taubman, and sometimes individually.
  • Working with Philip Taubman to prepare detailed chapter outlines.
  • Among the administrative tasks are coordinating a very busy calendar, arranging complex domestic and international travel, reimbursing various research expenses and drafting and sending correspondence.
  • Assisting Philip Taubman with some of his other Stanford work, including courses that he teaches, and a speaker series he is organizing at Stanford during the 2014-15 academic year about National Security Agency intelligence collection programs and operations.
  • Will require travel of approximately 5% time.


Applicants must posses a bachelor’s level college degree and minimum of 3 years, 5 years desired, of significant University level research experience, preferably in diplomatic and economic issues, history and in biographical research. Other qualifications include:

  • Familiarity with 20th century American and world diplomatic and economic history, in particular the history of the Nixon and Reagan administrations, knowledge of international affairs specifically Cold War history, including US-Soviet relations.
  • Excellent written communications skills.
  • Experience with advanced research skills including fact-checking, picture and map research, outlining research, footnotes and compiling biographies, as well as organizing and managing large volumes of research materials in bibliographic software programs.
  • A commitment to accuracy and meticulous crediting of sources.
  • Proven record of thinking and writing clearly and insightfully about public policy issues and historical matters.
  • Proven ability to work productively and collegially with colleagues in an academic environment.
  • Incumbent must have the ability to meet deadlines, be very organized, self-driven, and have outstanding Power Point, word, Excel, and calendaring skills.
  • Travel required within the United States and abroad required approximately 5% of responsibilities.

Philip Taubman

Philip Taubman is the author of “The Partnership: Five Cold Warriors and Their Quest to Ban the Bomb” (HarperCollins, 2012), and “Secret Empire: Eisenhower, the CIA and the Hidden Story of America’s Space Espionage” (Simon & Schuster, 2003).  Before coming to Stanford as a consulting professor in 2008, he worked for thirty years as a reporter and editor at The New York Times, including stints as Moscow bureau chief, Washington bureau chief and deputy editorial page editor. He also serves at Stanford as associate vice president for university affairs and secretary of the Board of Trustees.

To Apply

The Shultz biography projected is expected to take two to three years. A minimum commitment of two years is required. Applicants should be available to start work this summer, no later than Aug. 4, 2014. The job is based at Stanford and applicants should be prepared to relocate to the San Francisco Bay Area if selected (relocation expenses will not be reimbursed).

Applicants should submit a resume and cover letter outlining why they want to work on a biography of George Shultz and what skills they believe they would bring to the project.

Application deadline: May 1, 2014.

Applicants much apply online at under job number 62508.

Stanford Student Positions at CISAC

We are no longer accepting applications for undergraduate research assistant positions. We will post updates here should positions become available.