Senior Policy Associate, Climate and Energy Team

Nicholas Insitute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University
Closing Date: 
Wed, 02/28/2018

The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions is seeking a senior policy associate for its Climate and Energy Program. 

This position collaborates with the Climate and Energy Program director and a fellow senior policy associate in design and management of research and policy solutions. The senior policy associate will engage relevant decision makers of the private and public energy sectors, provide information and research on a variety of intersecting renewable energy investment and conservation practices. The senior policy associate will also conduct market research, and analyze the impact of new energy policies, mandates, and programs on organized wholesale markets and utilities in traditionally regulated states.  

This position may also have an assignment to manage a group of diverse projects aligned with clean energy finance initiatives, evaluation of financial risks of renewable energy development and provide principal leadership and expertise in planning and conducting complex research and program activities. The senior policy associate also has an active and pivotal role in developing and implementing a plan for strategic growth of the assigned program and/or subprogram area and leads the effort to identify, propose, and manage fundraising activities. Working knowledge of the Clean Air Act, electric utility regulation and ratemaking, climate change policy, and/or state environmental policy is preferred. In addition, candidates with an understanding of FERC practice and RTO/ISO markets are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Work Performed

  • Plan and conduct independent and collaborative research and publish results internally and in peer-reviewed academic journals, as appropriate. Provide active leadership in engaging with university faculty, external stakeholders, and policymakers by actively leading in the development and operation of Nicholas Institute faculty working groups and attending relevant on-campus and off-campus meetings, gatherings and events.
  • Assume principal leadership role in raising funds for research projects in the subprogram area by presenting and negotiating plans for cooperative or sponsored research projects. Serve as a point of contact for the subprogram area with foundation program officers and other external stakeholders, including representatives of nonprofits, corporations, and corporate philanthropies.
  • Develop, secure, and manage research funding independently, serving as the principal investigator on projects. Independently manage grant funds and projects, including spending. Report to Duke offices charged with project monitoring, as well as to funders regarding project progress, performance, completion, and impacts. 
  • Provide leadership and expertise for the Institute in developing plans for research projects, interpreting results of projects and preparing publications. Provide and deliver oral and written presentations to relay project information to target audiences. Plan for and actively pursue opportunities for communication to external stakeholders.
  • Take initiative in collaborating with other Institute programs on strategic program initiatives, with special attention given to finding ways to integrate work across various program areas. Serve as the Institute’s principal representative for the subprogram field through travel to meetings, conferences, and donor solicitations, and deliver formal presentations as appropriate. Respond directly and independently to requests for information, including legislative drafting, from government officials and other key audiences.  
  • Recruit, manage, and supervise research staff, including the conduction of their periodic performance reviews and evaluations. Recruit, supervise, train and mentor multiple graduate student research assistants and interns. 
  • Identify and create opportunities for publicizing the Institute’s work, including informing external stakeholders about research projects and output. Identify and put into place new opportunities for involving Duke student’s in Institute research and follow through with implementing means to ensure student involvement. Depending on expertise and specific duties, procure, design, and operate economic or technical models or tools in assigned program areas.
  • Take the lead in planning and conducting meetings, workshops, conferences, and events related to the subprogram field, working to directly engage faculty and stakeholders in the planning and execution of the events. Communicate understanding of scientific and policy-based approaches to the Institute's target audiences through written and oral presentations.

Minimum Requirements

Education/Training: Master’s degree in science, law, policy, or a field directly related to the position. Ph.D. or JD preferred.

Experience: Five years of progressive experience in policy research and analysis at the international, federal, regional and/or state level. A degree higher than a master’s degree or significant technical expertise may substitute for two years of experience.


  • Knowledge and expertise in the policy, economic, legal and/or scientific aspects of the environmental subprogram area
  • Management, organizational and interpersonal skills
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Demonstrated track record and skill in raising funds for projects and subprogram area
  • Designation, or expected designation, as a principal investigator for the University
  • Ability and willingness to travel

To apply: In addition to applying to this requisition (#401370672), send a cover letter and resume to No phone inquiries please.