Water and Climate Equity Researcher
The Pacific Institute is a global water think tank that combines science-based thought leadership with active outreach and engagement to influence local, national, and international efforts in water sustainability and resilience. Our vision is to create a world in which society, the economy, and the environment have the water they need to thrive now and in the future. Since 1987, we have worked with diverse groups ranging from major corporations to frontline communities with a mission of creating and advancing solutions to the world’s most pressing water challenges. Our work is routinely featured in national and global top-tier media, and we engage more than 270 partners, including NGOs, utilities, policymakers, businesses, and others.
We are seeking a collaborative and impact-focused Researcher to support interdisciplinary research and analysis that advances water and climate 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 equity and justice; strong applied research background; 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 Researcher must have the knowledge and experience to produce high-quality work at the intersection of climate change, water systems, and environmental justice.
The Researcher 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 resources for frontline communities, community-based organizations, natural resource managers, and/or policymakers. 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 funding availability.
This position includes the following core responsibilities:
- Support the WCE work per the direction of the Water and Climate Equity Lead, other Pacific Institute researchers and our partners to conduct collaborative and rigorous primary and secondary interdisciplinary, empirical 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, and oral presentations
- fundraising activities, including the preparation of proposals and periodic reports for foundations and donors
- Engage in other programmatic and project tasks as needed, including co-developing and tracking project teams’ 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 an 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 social sciences, water resources, environmental or sustainability sciences, or natural resource management
- Minimum five 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 co-production 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 $72,000-82,000 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 Pacific Institute’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.
Please submit a no more than 2-page cover letter stating your interest and fit for this position (that includes your unique DEI statement), your CV, and one writing sample. The writing sample should be a published piece as solo or lead author and 5 to 10 pages in length maximum (references pages are not included in page count) that demonstrates proficiency of the required qualifications.