Economics Associate (Natural Infrastructure Initiative)
Natural Infrastructure Initiative Overview
The Natural Infrastructure Initiative is an interdisciplinary and cross-programmatic effort to advance nature-based strategies that leverage restoration, protection, and sustainable management of natural and working landscapes and urban green infrastructure, alongside built systems, to provide water and carbon-related services as well as disaster risk strategies and poverty alleviation approaches through the development, implementation and financing of built and nature-based solutions.
The team leads Cities4Forests—a cross-programmatic effort including WRI’s Water, Forests, and Cities programs that aims to catalyze political, social, and economic support among city governments and urban citizens to integrate inner, nearby, and faraway forests into city development plans and programs. Participants share an aspiration to help reduce deforestation, restore forests and trees, and manage forests more sustainably. Cities4Forests’ goal is to amplify current best practices and extend the deliberate city-forest relationship to the global scale on which cities and forests interact. It is a voluntary coalition involving mayors’ offices—and supported by other subnational agencies such as public water utilities and offices of sustainability—from around the world. Cities4Forests encourages peer-to-peer inspiration and learning, and members receive technical support from institutions with expertise in forests, climate change, water, communications, finance, and policy.
The Natural Infrastructure team seeks a full-time Natural Infrastructure Economics Associate to conduct analysis of the costs and benefits of land conservation, restoration, and sustainable management in priority geographies—e.g., flood-prone watersheds in the eastern U.S., fire-prone forests in the western U.S., and sedimentation-prone watersheds in eastern Africa and throughout Latin America. With support from project managers and senior economists, you will be responsible for the full analysis lifecycle—including project scoping, expert consultation, analysis design, stakeholder engagement, data collection, cost-benefit analysis, sensitivity analysis, and review and publication process stewardship.
You will have exemplary quantitative skills, project management skills, an ability to cultivate and manage relationships with external partners, an ability to communicate highly technical material to policymakers and other lay audiences, and an ability to juggle multiple tasks and deadlines while setting and delivering on clear priorities. In this role, you will also have a strategic mind and entrepreneurial spirit.
Research & Knowledge Development (70%)
- Producing impactful economic analysis of natural infrastructure
- Authoring or co-authoring knowledge products (e.g. reports, briefs, data products)
- Developing research proposals, including for fundraising prospects
- Identifying, collaborating with and supporting partners to produce research and analysis using WRI data and contributing to shared research agendas
- Developing presentation materials and presenting at internal/external meetings
- Authoring or co-authoring blog posts, case studies and other outreach and communications materials
- Reviewing 1-3 knowledge products written by other WRI researchers yearly
Program Management and Administration (30%)
- Making strategic decisions to ensure project outcomes, in collaboration with senior staff and project leads
- Monitoring project implementation, including milestones and budgetary matters, to ensure high-quality project deliverables are submitted within the period of performance
- Representing WRI at external meetings, and organizing internal and external meetings, workshops, conferences and other dissemination activities
- Developing relationships and managing multi-sector partnerships to deliver project outcomes
- Liaising with WRI colleagues across programs and countries
- Liaising with internal staff and stakeholders to problem solve and generate solutions to project implementation issues
- Contributing to donor proposals
- Additional ad-hoc program management and operational duties as needed
- Minimum 3+ years of relevant, full-time work experience is required
- Master’s degree preferred, or bachelor's degree with two+ additional years of relevant experience in natural resource economics
- A successful candidate will demonstrate excellent quantitative research skills
- Prior experience in conceptualizing and executing impactful cost-benefit analysis involving natural systems.
- Familiarity with forest restoration, conservation, management and science preferred
- Familiarity with water and watershed management preferred.
- Excellent computer skills in Microsoft Office and internet research
- GIS and Biophysical modeling capacity a plus
- Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work with diverse teams of individuals and colleagues
- Strong written and oral communication skills, particularly when it comes to communicating technical concepts to non-technical audiences
- Ability to cultivate and manage relationships with external partners
- Ability to juggle multiple tasks and deadlines while setting and delivering on clear priorities
- Enjoys working within a large, diverse, and collaborative team environment
- Ability to work independently with minimal supervision and demonstrated strong work ethic
- Comfort working with remote managers
- Flexibility to travel
- Fluency in Spanish preferred but not required
How to Apply
Applicants must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered.