Full-Time Research Associate II
Duration: Initial 2-year contract with the possibility of extension, based on available funding
Application Deadline: Open until filled
Hours: Full Time (35 hours per week)
Location: Eligible for remote work within the United States
Compensation: $65,000-75,000, Commensurate with experience, includes a very competitive benefits package
Travel: Some business travel may be required, including overnight stays
Start Date: Available immediately
Founded in 1987, the Pacific Institute is a global water research and policy non-profit organization based in Oakland, California. Our mission is to create and advance solutions to the world’s most pressing water challenges. We combine science-based thought leadership with active outreach to advance water sustainability and resilience in communities around the world. Our science-based approach draws from many disciplines and benefits from collaboration with diverse stakeholders, from local governments and UN agencies to businesses and grassroots organizations.
We are seeking a collaborative and impact-focused Research Associate to support interdisciplinary research and analysis that advances water and climate change sustainability, resilience, and environmental justice with an explicit focus on water-related challenges faced by and solutions for frontline communities in the United States. The ideal candidate will have a passion for water and climate change equity and justice; strong research background and verbal and written communication skills; ability to work independently and in collaborative teams; an interest and ability to learn new topics quickly; and a willingness to support a variety of tasks from project coordination to rigorous qualitative and quantitative research, writing, and oral presentations. They must also be skilled at working across disciplines, cultures, and different ways of knowing and communicating. The Research Associate must have the knowledge and experience to produce high-quality work at the intersection of climate change, water systems, and environmental justice.
The Research Associate will report to Pacific Institute’s Water & Climate Equity (WCE) Lead and support several water-climate-equity research projects as well as contribute to creating decision-support products for frontline communities, community-based organizations, natural resource managers, and/or policy makers. Preferred applicants will have significant experience researching the equity and justice of climate and water-related environmental policies and practices and the distributional effects on vulnerable groups and disadvantaged communities. They will also have an aptitude for researching and communicating strategies and solutions for those communities to prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change on their water systems. Additional opportunities beyond the initial 2 years will depend on performance and availability of funding.
This position includes the following core responsibilities:
- Support the WCE work per the direction of the Water and Climate Equity Lead, other PI researchers, and our partners to conduct collaborative and rigorous primary and secondary interdisciplinary, emprical research and analysis on water-climate-equity topics
- Collaborate with a diverse group of individuals to meet project objectives within established timelines
- Gather information and data through analysis of primary and secondary data, literature reviews, and contacts with other researchers, practitioners, and organizations
- Document and write up results of work performed, including synthesizing large amounts of complex information and preparing final reports and other written products
- Prepare non-technical communication materials on research topics, such as blog posts, issue briefs, opinion articles, oral presentations, and press releases
- Support fundraising activities, including the preparation of periodic reports for foundations and donors
- Provide other programmatic and project support as needed, including co-developing and tracking project team’s work plans and deliverables, coordinating internal meetings with project teams and external meetings with partners and stakeholders, documenting meetings, summarizing and communicating next steps
- Proficient knowledge of US water sector, including understanding of federal, state, and local policies and funding programs to support climate-resilient water systems for frontline communities (e.g., BIL, SRFs, California SAFER, etc.)
- Advanced degree (Master’s level minimum) in water resources, environmental or sustainability sciences, social sciences, or natural resource management
- Minimum seven years of work experience in relevant field, namely practical work and/or lived experience with climate-water-equity issues in frontline communities
- Experience with a coproduction model of research
- Strong qualitative and quantitative analytical skills and publication track record, including proficiency with interdisciplinary research and literature reviews and managing large/complex datasets
- Experience conducting interdisciplinary research and writing synthesis publications across the social and natural sciences related to water-climate-equity; and demonstrated ability to translate technical information to non-technical and lay audiences
- Proficiency with creating and managing citation databases and bibliographies (e.g., Zotero)
- Excellent oral and written communication skills, including ability to create compelling presentations to summarize and visualize findings
- Great organizational and time management skills including an ability to manage multiple projects and tasks simultaneously and meet ambitious deadlines; excellent attention to details
- Strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures
- Interdisciplinary advanced degree, ideally in combined social-natural sciences
- Strong understanding of usable climate change sciences and tools for water-related decision making
- Proficiency with Microsoft Excel, QDA (e.g., Atlas.ti, NVivo, MAXQDA), database management, and/or Geographic Information Systems software (e.g., ESRI ArcGIS, QGIS)
- Familiarity with water challenges in both urban and rural areas or small water systems through research and/or work experience; deep experience with tribes and Indigenous communities and/or communities of color and/or Spanish proficiency a plus
- Experience working on large, interdisciplinary assessments (e.g., US National Climate Assessment or similar)
- Experience developing web-based maps or visualizations for sharing research findings
- A keen interest and understanding about capacity building for frontline communities to adapt their water systems for climate change impacts
Compensation and Benefits
This position is eligible for paid vacation and benefits. The Pacific Institute offers an excellent compensation package including a generous health, dental, and Institute-matched retirement plan and a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience and reflects the geographic location and field. The initial compensation for this position is expected to range from $65,000-75,00 per year.
Diversity Equity and Inclusion
We commit to improving DEI in our internal operations and culture for two reasons:
To stay true to our values and principles: We recognize that historical and current injustices have left out certain voices and perspectives from decision-making about accessing and managing water resources. We acknowledge that the representation of these groups in water-related decision-making and careers is an important step towards addressing past and current injustices. Because Pacific Institute participates in water-related decision making, we acknowledge that hiring and retaining a diverse staff can contribute to a broader need to address systemic injustices.
To better achieve PI’s mission and vision: We know that having diverse perspectives makes for better research, creative solutions, and can help us achieve our mission. We recognize that a diverse team with varied perspectives, skills, and experiences is essential for generating and scaling innovative ideas that solve increasingly complex challenges. We make an active effort to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels respected, heard, validated, empowered, and celebrated across different identities and cultures. We aim to constantly evolve our approach to DEI to reflect best practices in this work, just as we do with our water and climate research. As part of this commitment, we request that all candidates include a short statement in your cover letter to address how your addition to our staff would contribute to our DEI efforts.