Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.

  • Food Systems Economics Science Fellow

    Job Locations US-NY-New York
    Posted Date 3 months ago(9/4/2019 4:04 PM)
    Job ID
    # of Openings
    Chief Program Office [401000]
  • Overview

    The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a leading U.S.-based environmental action organization. We use law, science, policy expertise and the support of more than 3 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all living things. Since the organization was founded in 1970, NRDC has worked to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities. Our staff helped write some of America's bedrock environmental laws, and we continue to work on issues from protecting our oceans to addressing climate change. Our staff of more than 600 lawyers, scientists, policy and communications experts, and others, work out of offices in New York; Washington, DC; Chicago; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Bozeman, MT; and Beijing.


    Position Summary:

    NRDC’s Food & Agriculture team (part of the Healthy People/Thriving Communities program) believes that our food system should protect the environment, promote public health, and advance equity. The team’s work covers multiple issues at the intersection of these three concerns, including antibiotics and pesticide use, organic and sustainable farming, animal agriculture, and greenhouse gas emissions from food production. The work is grounded in science and advances both policy and market change.


    NRDC is seeking a full-time, two-year post-doctoral Science Fellow who can bring an economic perspective to our food system work, providing subject matter expertise and conducting research and analysis on the economic levers that drive the current food system and the economic implications of the changes we seek. The Fellow will support the team’s work across issues and projects, develop new analyses to advance NRDC’s food system goals, produce research-based documents and publications, identify policy and market solutions to advance NRDC goals, collaborate with partner organizations, and engage in communications efforts.


    The Fellow will spend approximately 70% of their time on a big-picture research project, and 30% of their time working with program staff to enhance current work. Specific topics and projects undertaken will depend on the Fellow’s expertise and interests, and an initial review of opportunities, priorities, and available data.


    Examples of potential research questions include:


    • How will climate change affect the economics of the food system, and who will be the winners and losers?
    • How do subsidies and other government policies affect the food system, and what policy changes would most powerfully incentivize market change and address inequities and negative externalities?
    • How does increasing market consolidation, especially in the middle of the food chain, affect food system outcomes?
    • How will proposed changes, such as expanding organic farming or shifting to less meat consumption, impact farm profitability, worker wages and consumer prices?
    • What policy and market changes would most significantly increase equity in the food system, and what would be the costs and trade-offs of those changes?


    The Food System Economics Science Fellow will be supported by NRDC’s Science Center and its Science Fellows program, which is a key element of the Science Center’s mission to enhance NRDC’s scientific capabilities and provide resources and support for policy and advocacy work. The Science Fellows program provides young scientists interested in working in the science, policy and advocacy arena with professional experience and on-the-job training; it is an excellent opportunity to refine existing skills and build new ones, develop professionally, publish work, and gain important competencies.


    The Fellow will be based in our New York, NY, office (preferred) or our San Francisco, CA, or Washington, DC, offices.


    The Fellow’s core responsibilities will include:

    • Working with the Food & Agriculture team, the Science Center, and other NRDC staff to understand and communicate the implications of food system economics for the program’s goals.
    • Identifying and refining key economic questions that advance the team’s vision and conducting research and data analysis to answer those questions.
    • Using research findings to inform programmatic priorities and activities, and develop legislative, regulatory and market proposals that would advance program priorities.
    • Developing relationships with economists and other subject matter experts to build the program’s ability to incorporate economic analysis into its work.
    • Drafting reports and peer-reviewed publications, publishing blogs and op-eds, conducting presentations and webinars, and/or using other methods to communicate research findings.


    The following qualifications are required:

    • A doctoral degree in economics or related field. A candidate with a master’s degree and relevant academic and/or work experience may also be considered.
    • Familiarity with food systems, agriculture, markets, labor or other related topics.
    • Excellent quantitative, problem-solving, and communication skills.
    • Demonstrated success working with multi-disciplinary teams and multi-disciplinary data.
    • Experience communicating with non-technical audiences.

    The following qualifications are desired:

    • Familiarity with the field of ecological economics, or other environmental or health expertise.
    • Experience working on policy issues and translating data and research into a policy platform.
    • Experience integrating equity considerations into economic analyses, including disaggregation and disparate impact analyses.


    Application Process:

    NRDC is committed to workplace diversity and inclusion. We are equal opportunity employers and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender identity and expression, marital status, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a pleasant working environment. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and commensurate with experience. Consistent with the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.


    To apply, please visit and upload your resume, cover letter, and a brief writing sample through our online portal. Your cover letter should address: (a) why you desire this fellowship with NRDC; (b) how you are qualified, including relevant work and/or research experience; and (d) how you hope the fellowship will affect your career goals


    Please no phone calls, emails, faxes or in-person resume drop-offs. Please reference where you saw this posting. NRDC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. If you are having technical difficulty while applying, please reach out to Customer Care by dialing 1-800-889-4422.


    For further information about NRDC, please visit


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