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Cannon Design Research Director in Buffalo, New York

CannonDesign has an exciting opportunity for a Research Director to work on a part time or full-time basis. This position may be filled in one of several CannonDesign offices or working hybrid or remotely in the US. We're looking for creative, curious, empathetic people to join our Living-Centered Design movement.


CannonDesign is an integrated design solutions firm focused on helping people continuously flourish. Whether designing for innovations in health, new scientific discoveries, equity in education or the next big idea in business, we use our Living-Centered Design approach to help organizations realize widespread change. Our ability to design transformational places, plans and strategies is why Fast Company named us a World Changing Company and one of the most innovative design firms in the world.


At CannonDesign, we strive to create a world where diverse people continuously flourish by addressing the complex interdependencies that exist between people, businesses, communities, society and the environment. A research practice is being launched at CannonDesign to help answer the question: How do we know if design solutions delivered to clients are helping people flourish or improve lives? Research can help answer this question by systematically assessing design solutions using performance indicators aligned with Living-Centered Design directives. In short, we use design as a tool for good - for problem solving, for innovation, for invention - and we want to demonstrate our impact by conducting research that informs and elevates our practice and our contribution to the world at large. In this role, you will have a dual reporting relationship to the Director of Design and the Director of Firmwide Strategies, to start. We reserve the right to offer the position to more than one candidate, thereby creating a structure with two co-directors of Research.


Establish and lead a research practice that follows a Living-Centered Design ethos that guides the selection of the team members, the research agenda, the approach, and activities

Establish and lead a research practice that asks critical questions to study the impacts of design solutions using performance measures informed by Living-Centered Design directives

Operate the research practice with a business mindset where services are repeated, yet customized, based on a generalized Living-Centered Design framework, methodology, core metrics, and tools

Establish research as a value-added service within CannonDesign to strengthen projects (e.g., project-based research, mock-ups, advanced modeling, POE, something outside the scope of work)

Expand research to achieve a fee-generating, stand-alone service (e.g., POE or independent research unassociated with direct design project)

Align the firm to the commitment of research as fundamental to good design, and facilitate continuous quality improvements in design thinking

Use and teach research as a knowledge base that advances design solutions (share expertise and research both within and outside of CannonDesign)

Initiate research programs focused on collecting economic, statistical demographic and/or other related data that meet the information needs of the organization.

Perform advanced research and interpret data/information relevant to the desired topic and proceeds with research as warranted by preliminary findings.

Propose and initiate new research in support of the organizations needs and goals.

Present findings and conclusions to the appropriate leadership including the CEO, core team and board members of the organization, and external audiences.


PhD or relevant doctoral credentials with completion of a thesis or dissertation that demonstrates knowledge and ability to design, conduct, and report research activities and outcomes.

Minimum 5 years in the field, with solid history of research leadership, publication, and recognition

Deep knowledge of research design, the IRB process, research coordination and methodology, statistical analyses, and ability to present or publish findings in peer-reviewed forums are required.

Proven experience with research that involves some aspect of the built environment, architecture, or design is required

Some business travel may be required.

As a Federal Contractor, CannonDesign is required to comply with President Biden's Executive Order 14042. Therefore, as a condition of employment, all employees must provide proof of receipt of a full COVID-19 vaccination unless qualified for a valid medical or religious accommodation.

The salary range for this position is $130,000 to $178,000 annually. This salary range is the range we believe is the anticipated range of possible base compensation at the timing of the posting. We may ultimately pay more or less than the anticipated salary range for the position. Employees may be eligible for discretionary bonuses. We offer a full benefit package including medical, dental and vision coverage and flexible spending account options and voluntary insurances. We have paid time off, flex-time summer hours, remote work options and a 401k plan and employee perk programs. For a general overview of our benefits, please visit our careers page at Actual compensation may vary from posting based on work experience, education and/or skill level.


We are relentless in our pursuit of client adoration (not simply satisfaction). Consistent delivery of the best service is what we are about.

We are committed to ensuring our practice is equitable for all employees, representative of the communities around us - and focused on the future of design. We advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts through the leadership of our DEI Council, Employee Resource Groups and other community advocacy initiatives.

We're about communication and transparency here. If you want to talk to someone about an idea you have, or a challenge that needs addressing, we're ready for you.

For a general overview of our benefits, please visit our careers page at

Please note that candidates can only apply to our positions on our company Careers site. It's not uncommon for scammers to create positions that look legitimate on other sites; never enter your information or apply for CannonDesign positions on any platform. Should an issue arise that you feel we should be aware of, please contact us.

As a condition of employment, all employees are expected to complete mandatory training, including compliance training, within required timeframes and adhere to our internal policies and our Code of Conduct.

CannonDesign recognizes the value of diversity in our workforce. We are committed to equal opportunity. We consider all qualified employment applicants without regard to race, religion, color, gender, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, partnership status, protected veteran status, disability, or any other status protected by federal, state, or local law. Individuals who hold legal work authorization applicable to employment at CannonDesign in the United States will be considered without regard to citizenship/alienage.