Director (Climate Resilience Practice)

World Resources Institute (WRI)

Washington, DC, US

About WRI

World Resources Institute is a global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. Our 500 experts and staff work with partners in more than 50 countries; we have offices in Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the United States.

WRI is consistently ranked as the top global Think Tank working on environmental issues. In January 2016, WRI was again named the #1 environmental think tank in the world in a survey conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s ‘2015 Global Go To Think Tanks index’.


You will be a leading subject matter expert in the Governance Center’s Climate Resilience Practice (CRP) with a track record of successful research, publication, and fundraising in climate adaptation and resilience.  You will facilitate program management and new project development in partnership with WRI’s programs and international offices and be expected to lead global research for the Practice. Working closely with the Deputy Director, you will manage the Practice.

WRI’s Climate Resilience Practice seeks to help developing country governments develop and implement adaptation policies and practices commensurate with the scale and scope of climate change. Our goal is to help national and sub-national decision-makers understand the drivers of climate vulnerability in their countries, engage vulnerable people in adaptation efforts, and access the information, tools, and resources they need to take account of climate change in planning and programs. We collaborate extensively with colleagues across WRI and with partner organizations in India and Africa.

CRP was recently established, building from the past work of WRI’s Vulnerability and Adaptation Initiative.  The practice is expected to grow significantly over the coming years and to increasingly intersect with work in WRI’s Food, Forests, Water, Climate, and Cities Programs.  The practice currently has seven core staff members based in the US and India. Africa is anticipated to be an area of growth.  We also collaborate closely with colleagues in WRI’s Finance and Economics Centers and increasingly with colleagues at WRI Brasil. 


The Director’s main areas of responsibility will include the following:

Management (30%)

  • Attract, motivate, and retain world-class CRP staff.
  • Manage CRP staff members, ensuring they are effective and supported, and that planned deliverables and results are achieved.
  • Oversee overall budgetary performance of CRP.
  • Collaborate and coordinate with staff across WRI’s programs, centers and international offices, and external partners to advance the interests of CRP and of WRI as a whole.
  • Review draft publications, blogs, press releases, and other research and communications materials developed by CRP staff to ensure they meet WRI’s high standards of quality.

Research (20%)

  • Identify knowledge gaps and influence opportunities where WRI research can produce meaningful improvements in the climate resilience of society.
  • Identify the data and methods needed to produce robust, unbiased research that addresses knowledge gaps and informs CRP’s influence strategies.
  • Cultivate relationships that expand the audiences for CRP’s knowledge products and their uptake of tools and research produced by the Practice.
  • Author or co-author knowledge products and review and provide constructive feedback on knowledge products produced by other WRI initiatives.

Fundraising (20%)

  • Actively cultivate and manage relationships with existing donors to secure renewals.
  • Identify and cultivate new donors to expand CRP’s funding base.
  • Leverage existing relationships with foundations, governments, and individual donors.
  • Write, develop, and review fundraising proposals with staff from CRP and other parts of WRI.
  • Mentor staff to broaden their fundraising skills, help them engage effectively in fundraising, and cultivate new funding prospects.

Leadership (15%)

  • Ensure WRI’s Climate Resilience Practice (CRP) has a compelling vision, strong research foundation, clear priorities, and coherent strategy.
  • Lead CRP strategic planning, including development and planning of a major cross-institutional Signature Initiative, on climate resilience
  • Ensure Climate Resilience Practice activities lead to meaningful results that promote climate-resilient development, and lead reporting on impacts and successes to internal and external audiences.
  • Lead CRP’s strategy development, partnership development, and fundraising efforts.
  • Foster a culture of excellence in the work of the Practice within the Governance Center and across WRI.
  • Promote close and effective collaboration with WRI’s Climate Program and International Offices.

Outreach (15%)

  • External representation of WRI’s Climate Resilience Practice.
  • Develop and give presentations at public speaking events, international fora, one-on-one meetings, and within WRI.
  • Write briefs, publish blogs, and conduct media interviews in order to set public and private sector agendas, influence decision-maker perspectives, and communicate findings and recommendations from CRP’s work.

Additionally, in keeping with WRI’s commitment to gender equity across our programs, the Director will also be required to identify relevant gender issues, as determined through a gender analysis, and ensure adequate and effective attention to these issues in project and partner development, budgeting and management.


Required Qualifications:

  • Master degree in the natural or social sciences with relevance to climate resilience and adaptation (e.g. sustainable development, development studies, climate science, environment policy).
  • Minimum of 15 years’ experience in fields relevant to climate resilience and adaptation with relevant program implementation and project management experience.
  • 5 – 7 years of direct experience working in developing countries.
  • In-depth understanding of the international climate policy environment and its relevance to adaptation/resilience.
  • Strong network of relationships and partnerships with governments, donors, civil society, and other stakeholders engaged in adaptation policy and practice.
  • Recognized expertise and track record of publication in climate resilience/adaptation in the context of international development.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully motivate and manage teams to reach their full potential and achieve on-the-ground results.
  • Strong team player with ability to work across institutional departments/programs.
  • Proven ability to provide vision and superb strategic thinking skills.Demonstrated capability to secure funding from donors.
  • Outstanding ability to communicate clearly, passionately, and compellingly to a wide range of audiences, especially high-level decision-makers from government, the private sector, and civil society.
  • Strong writing skills for both technical and general audiences.
  • Strong analytical research skills.
  • Experience overseeing and managing budgets.Detail-oriented and organized thinker who can manage multiple competing priorities.
  • Ability to travel, especially internationally, approximately 20% of time.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • PhD in the natural or social sciences with relevance to climate resilience and adaptation (e.g. sustainable development, development studies, climate science, environment policy).
  • Knowledge and experience with monitoring and evaluation methods and techniques.
  • Familiarity with major climate-related international funding mechanisms.
  • Experience with media relations and/or donor management.
  • Proficiency in French or Spanish.

Final candidates will be required to take a writing/analytical test.

Finalists will be required to submit two writing samples.

Salary and Benefits: Salary is commensurate with experience and skills. WRI offers a generous, comprehensive benefits package.

How to Apply

Qualified applicants should apply online at All applications must be submitted online through this career portal in order to be formally considered.

The World Resources Institute ( is an environmental and development research and policy organization that creates solutions to protect the Earth and improve people’s lives. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, it is WRI’s policy to recruit, hire, and provide opportunities for advancement in all job classifications without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, protected veteran status, or disability. WRI’s global agenda requires a staff that is diverse – with respect to race, gender, cultural, and international background. Diverse perspectives and experience enhance the way WRI selects and approaches issues, as well as the creativity and applicability of WRI’s policy research and analysis. WRI, therefore, encourages applications from U.S. minorities, persons from other countries (especially developing nations), and from women of all backgrounds.

About WRI

Established in 1982, WRI is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization respected globally by policymakers, non-governmental organizations, and corporate leaders.

WRI’s reputation is grounded in its excellent analysis, non-partisan approach, and high-impact results. We measure our success based on how our work helps to create real-world change on the ground—an approach we call “Managing for Results.”

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WRI fosters a culture of innovative ideas, working collaboratively, and thinking independently. WRI employees are driven by the organization’s mission and have the satisfaction of helping to create a more prosperous and healthy planet.

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