Policy Analysis

Rodney Knight

Senior Research Scientist


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Dr. Rodney Knight is a Senior Research Scientist on AidData's Policy and Analysis Unit. As a Principal Investigator and Co-PI, he has led the design and implementation of multiple applied policy research projects at AidData, including awards with the State Department, the Department of Defense, and USAID. His team’s recent work includes constructing a series of multi-dimensional indices on energy, peace, and security; analyzing the influence playbooks of great powers, including Russia; and surfacing development perceptions and priorities of Global South leaders. He manages a team of analysts conducting research on public policy, migration, development aid effectiveness, public diplomacy, energy security, and media freedom.

Ph.D., Sociology, Brown University

M.A., Sociology, Brown University

B.S. (Honors), Mechanical Engineering, Brown University

Dr. Knight’s research focuses on public policy, energy security, demographic change, migration, health, nutrition, food security, and poverty. Prior to AidData, he served in a variety of positions, including Deputy Chief of Party for a large multi-country project that provided program monitoring, quantitative and qualitative data collection, and impact evaluation services for the Feed the Future food security initiative. Dr. Knight has worked for USAID, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Westat, and as a consultant providing technical services for a variety of foundations, donors, universities, and non-profit organizations in 18 countries. At the beginning of his career, he worked as a software engineer on early neural network and GIS systems. Examples of journals he has published in include the New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, and Demography.


Demographic Methods, Survey Methods, Impact Evaluation, Statistical Analysis, Energy Security, Health and Nutrition, Food Security, Poverty Measurement