Research Associate

Pacific Institute
Oakland, CA, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Entry Level (0-2 Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)
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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.

Position Description

  • The Pacific Institute is seeking a full-time Research Associate to support projects led by Senior Researchers and the Director of Research. The following are the core functions of this position:
  • Conduct primary and secondary research and analysis on water-related topics;
  • Gather information and data through analysis of primary data, literature review, and contacts with other researchers and organizations;
  • Document and write up results of work performed, including preparing final reports and other written products;
  • Write and submit comment letters on water policy;
  • Assist with preparation of non-technical communication materials on research topics, such as blog posts, opinion articles, oral presentations, and press releases;
  • Assist with fundraising activities, and help prepare reports for foundations and donors; and
  • Provide support to Senior Researchers, including coordinating internal meetings with the project team and external meetings with stakeholders and taking notes during meetings.

Anticipated 2020 Work

The Pacific Institute works on a diverse array of water policy and research topics. The ideal candidate will have an interest and ability to learn new topics quickly; strong verbal and written communication skills; and willingness to support a diversity of tasks, from project coordination to quantitative research. In 2020, the Research Associate will work under the supervision of Senior Researchers to support projects in at least three subject areas: (1) the potential of the reuse of oilfield produced water in California; (2) the development of site water balances and an optimization model for distributed water systems in the Silicon Valley; and (3) analysis of residential drinking water use and recommendations for equitable drinking water policy in California.


  • Advanced degree in water resources, natural resource management, engineering, or relevant field;
  • Two or more years of work experience in relevant field;
  • Strong quantitative and analytical skills, including familiarity with data management and data cleaning;
  • Familiarity with data analysis and statistics;
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Excel;
  • Familiarity with Geographic Information Systems software (e.g., ESRI ArcGIS, QGIS);
  • Familiarity with optimization or other modeling of water systems and working knowledge of tools to carry out these activities (such as R and/or Python) preferred but not required;
  • A keen interest in connecting data-driven research with water management decisions;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills;
  • Good organizational skills and ability to use project management software (e.g. e-mail, shared calendars, and shared documents);
  • Strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds.

Compensation and Benefits: Compensation is commensurate with experience but is expected to range from $54,000 to $62,000 per year, coupled with a generous benefits package that includes health, dental, holidays, vacation, sick leave, and an Institute-matched retirement plan.

Location: This position is in our Oakland office.

Equal Opportunities: The 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

Application Procedure: Please send a cover letter, indicating the posting number (2020-1) and name of the job opening (“Research Associate”), where you found the job posting, resume, and writing sample to . No phone calls. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Due to the number of applications received, we are unable to respond to all applicants.