Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.

Economics Science Fellow

Job Locations US-NY-New York
Posted Date 7 months ago(9/4/2019 4:04 PM)
Job ID
# of Openings
Healthy People and Thriving Communities [403000]


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 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 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 interventions, 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? Who will be the winners and losers and how can we build equity into our response to climate impacts?
  • How do subsidies and other government policies affect the food system, and what policy changes would most powerfully incentivize market change and address negative externalities?
  • How will proposed food system improvements, such as expanding organic farming or shifting to less meat consumption, impact farm profitability, market consolidation, worker wages and consumer prices? What does this mean for our strategy and goals?

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:

  • 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.


In assessing candidates, we look for:

  • A doctoral degree in economics. A candidate with a doctoral degree in a related field, or a master’s degree and relevant academic and/or work experience, may also be considered.
  • Quantitative, problem-solving, and communication skills.
  • Demonstrated success working with multi-disciplinary teams and multi-disciplinary data.
  • Experience working on policy issues and translating data and research into a policy platform.
  • Experience communicating with non-technical audiences.
  • Familiarity with the field of ecological economics, or other food system, environment, labor or health expertise.
  • Experience integrating equity considerations into analyses, including disaggregation and disparate impact analyses.
  • Demonstrated commitment to public service, equity, or environmental or social justice.

Application Process

NRDC is committed to building and supporting a diverse staff and strongly encourages applications from candidates of color. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer 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. In addition, qualified applicants with criminal histories are encouraged to apply and will be considered in a manner consistent with San Francisco’s Fair Chance Ordinance. We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a pleasant working environment. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and commensurate with experience.


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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