Senior Research Position (Nature-Based Solutions)

Pacific Institute
Flexible, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Junior (3-4 Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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About the Pacific Institute
Founded in 1987, the Pacific Institute is a global water sustainability think tank in Oakland, California that combines science-based thought leadership with active outreach to influence local, national, and international efforts in developing sustainable water policies. Our mission is to create and advance solutions to the world’s most pressing water challenges. From working with Fortune 500 companies to disenfranchised communities, we lead local, national, and international efforts in developing sustainable water policies and delivering meaningful results.

Anticipated 2019/2020 Work
Lead the development of a project on nature-based solutions. Anticipated activities include the following:

  • Review, analyze, and synthesize case studies to develop a framework and/or methodology to quantify the benefits of nature-based solutions, with a focus on carbon and water, along with other potential co-benefits (e.g., poverty/livelihoods, etc.);
  • Coordinate an expert advisory group and stakeholder engagement to solicit feedback on the draft framework and/or methodology;
  • Pilot test the framework and/or methodology in different regions of the world and compile lessons learned; and
  • Participate in international climate and water fora to engage stakeholders and present project outcomes.

Position Description
Senior researchers are expected to fulfill the following core functions:

  • Develop concept notes, timelines, implementation strategies, and budgets for projects;
  • Conduct primary and secondary research and analysis on topics at the intersection of water, climate, and energy-related topics;
  • Collect data and information through research and contacts in partnership with other researchers and organizations;
  • Prepare reports and other written products, such as white papers and journal articles;
  • Conduct communications and outreach on research and related topics;
  • Lead fundraising for select research projects and initiatives, including independently identifying funding opportunities and writing grant proposals (senior researchers are expected to raise two times their salary on an annual basis); and
  • Manage projects, including coordinating internal meetings with the project team and external meetings with stakeholders.


  • Advanced degree in water resources, natural resource management, environmental science, engineering, or relevant field;
  • Previous experience in water-climate-energy nexus;
  • Three to five years of work experience in relevant field;
  • Demonstrated ability to initiate and conduct research on interdisciplinary water, climate, and energy -related topics;
  • Demonstrated ability to write successful grant and research proposals;
  • Strong quantitative and analytical skills including experience with calculating greenhouse gas emissions, economics, and/or cost benefit analysis;
  • Excellent written communication skills, including peer-reviewed publications that show research and writing experience;
  • Excellent oral communication skills with public speaking experience;
  • Strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to work with a variety of people from diverse backgrounds; and
  • Understanding of corporate water stewardship approaches.

Compensation and Benefits:
Compensation is commensurate with experience but is expected to range from $70,000 to $75,000 per year, coupled with a generous benefits package that includes health, dental, holidays, vacation, and an Institute-matched retirement plan.

Location: Preference is for the candidate to be in our Oakland office or work remotely from the US East Coast.
Travel: Domestic and international overnight travel will be required.
Equal Opportunities: Pacific Institute is committed to workplace diversity and inclusion. We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law.
Start Date: Available immediately

To Apply:
Please send:
1. Letter of Interest of no more than two pages detailing:

  • Your interest in the work of the Pacific Institute and in environmental sustainability, `water, and climate;
  • A summary of your qualifications as noted above; and
  • Any other information you consider important that we know.

2. Resume.
3. Writing sample of no more than 5 pages.

Email these items to . In the subject line of your email, write: Senior Researcher – Nature-Based Solutions.

No phone calls please. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Due to the number of applications received, we are unable to respond to all applicants.