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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues

Career Opportunities

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The Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise is the outreach arm of UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. Founded in 1985 by visionary entrepreneur and philanthropist Frank Hawkins Kenan, the Institute is the research, outreach, and strategic planning arm of Kenan-Flagler Business School. The nonprofit institute and its affiliated centers convene leaders from the private sector, academic community, and government to build a greater understanding of how the business sector can work for the public good. The Institute’s mission is to develop and promote innovative, market-based solutions to vital economic issues. With the belief that private enterprise is the cornerstone of a prosperous and free society, the Institute fosters the entrepreneurial spirit to stimulate economic prosperity and improve the lives of people in North Carolina, across the country and around the world. 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion is core to the work of the Kenan Institute. We celebrate the multiple dimensions that each individual shares and believe that diversity among our faculty and staff is paramount to ensuring the greatest possible impact of our work. We encourage all qualified individuals interested to apply to any open position. 

External Affairs Associate

This role reports directly to the external affairs director and combines marketing and communications, press relations, content creation, oversight of external vendors and contractors and project management support.  Specifically, this position will require a self-starter responsible for drafting and editing written content for print and digital, developing and implementing a press relations strategy for the institute, and project management within and beyond the external affairs team. 

Diversity, equity and inclusion is core to the work of the Kenan Institute. We celebrate the multiple dimensions that each individual shares and believe that diversity among our staff is paramount to ensuring the greatest possible impact of our work. We encourage all individuals interested in this position to submit an application


Bachelor’s degree in a discipline related to the area of assignment; or equivalent combination of training and experience. All degrees must be received from appropriately accredited institutions.

This job requires outstanding communication skills (written and verbal)—including fluency in writing and editing to adhere to AP Style—as well as strong time management. It also requires highly motivated, results-oriented individual with a collaborative mindset but an independent work ethic.  Other requirements include exceptional organizational skills, management experience, team-orientation, agility and project management experience.

Chief Economist 

The Chief Economist will help direct the Kenan Institute’s translational research activities and oversee efforts to translate economic and business data into actionable policy recommendations for broader societal impact. This includes producing economic and/or econometric analyses and related business research publications and products important to the Institute’s external reputation and that of its affiliated centers. 

 The Chief Economist has the following core responsibilities and duties: 1) providing strategic vision, delivery, and leadership on translational economic research and policy initiatives at the Institute; 2) producing relevant and insightful thought-leadership in the area of translational economic and public policy research related to business; 3) ensuring ongoing programmatic excellence, rigorous program evaluation, and consistent quality of translational research communications; 4) presenting economic policy and business insights to distinguished external audiences, assisting in the translation and curation of academic research for various external stakeholders; and 5) facilitating relationships that provide support for the Institute, in order to achieve the strategic goals of the Institute. 

The Chief Economist ultimately seeks to: (1) impact and influence the economic and commercial decisions of critical business leaders and state, federal, and non-US policymakers; (2) steward scholarship in relevant academic fields; (3) achieve relevance of work to the full spectrum of external stakeholders; and (4) become a widely known and trusted resource for objective economic policy information and the role of private-sector business in society. This position works very closely with the Executive Director of the Kenan Institute, the Director of Research Services, the Faculty Research Director, the Director of External Affairs, as well as faculty at the Kenan-Flagler Business School. This position reports to the Executive Director of the Kenan Institute. 


The position requires a master’s degree (or foreign equivalent) in Economics, Financial Economics, Public Policy, or a related field, with a PhD preferred.  

The successful candidate will be an individual with at least 5 years of related experience that includes experience in private-sector business or business policy and familiarity with academic business research and its potential to impact practice and policy. 

Experience presenting to large and influential audiences, leading multi-disciplinary teams, and managing people and processes is highly preferred. Successful candidates will possess a style that is entrepreneurial, strategic, results-oriented, empathetic, and be skilled at cultivating and sustaining networks and key stakeholder relationships both inside and outside of the University. The ability to work effectively in an academic environment in which collaborative decision-making occurs is expected, as well as outstanding technical, written, and verbal presentation skills with the business, policy, and academic communities. 

  • Excellent presentation, interpersonal, diplomatic, and communication skills necessary to develop successful working relationships with diverse external partners 
  • Excellent technical skills in economic policy analysis or related fields 
  • Ability to work across schools and departments at UNC and other organizations 
  • Experience interacting with federal and state government leadership (elected officials, senior staff, and appointed officials) 
  • Knowledgeable about major non-profit organizations and foundations doing work or funding in the areas of entrepreneurship, economic development, finance, and emerging business technologies 
  • Experience planning, hosting, and participating in high-profile events, such as research conferences, symposiums, and forums 
  • Demonstrated ability to engage and interact with private sector business senior executives 
  • Experience communicating findings from academic research, as well as engaging academic researchers in sponsored research initiatives

NOTE: For University purposes, the position is titled Research Instructor, Research Assistant Professor, Research Associate Professor, or Research Professor. Hired candidates with a master’s degree can anticipate an appointment of Research Instructor. Hired candidates with a doctorate can anticipate an initial appointment of Research Assistant Professor, Research Associate Professor, or Research Professor. This position is not a tenure-track faculty position.