Associate Vice President for Research and Policy Engagement

Resources for the Future (RFF)

Washington, D.C., USA 🇺🇸

Job Details

Level: Senior
Job Location: RFF – WASHINGTON, DC
Position Type: Full Time
Education Level: PhD
Travel Percentage: Negligible
Job Shift: Day
Job Category: Executive


Summary of Position:  

The Associate Vice President for Research and Policy Engagement (Associate VP) provides strategic leadership and management of the research and policy engagement department at Resources for the Future (RFF). This department is the core of RFF. It is essential to RFF’s mission of improving environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement. And its work is central to RFF’s commitment to being the most widely trusted source of research insights and policy solutions leading to a healthy environment and a thriving economy. Today, we are applying our expertise to reduce emissions, build resilience, and solve the climate challenge in a manner that is effective, efficient, and equitable. This work falls in two broad categories:  

  • Designing Smart Emissions Reduction Strategies: RFF recognizes the complexity of the climate challenge and clean energy transition. We create comprehensive climate solutions that are effective, efficient, equitable, beneficial to the economy, and able to achieve net-zero emissions goals—from economy-wide solutions that send consistent economic signals to the marketplace to sector-specific strategies for all major areas of the economy.    
  • Confronting Risks and Building Resilience: RFF evaluates the physical and economic impacts of climate change, using data to assess risks and uncertainties at global, national, sectoral, and local scales, and ensures that decisionmakers are equipped with the information they need to build resilience in their communities.   

RFF’s work in these areas is organized across topics designed to support and inform decision-making and organized institutionally through a set of programs and cross-cutting initiatives. These include programs on comprehensive climate strategies that span emitting sectors, Impacts and Resilience, as well as sector-based strategies like Electric Power, Industry, Transportation, and Land Use, Forestry and Agriculture.   

The Associate VP will work in close collaboration with RFF’s VP for Research and Policy Engagement and the research leadership team to formulate and implement RFF’s strategic priorities in these areas, working to design, fund, and execute, an impactful agenda of research and policy engagement that supports RFF’s mission. The Associate VP will also work with others to ensure that RFF has the capacity to execute its agenda and to strategically build additional capacity to support an expanded agenda.   

The Associate VP is expected to spend roughly 50% of their time on strategy, leadership, and management, and 50% of their time on research and policy engagement within their area of expertise.  

Position Responsibilities:  

Strategy, Leadership, and Management Responsibilities:  

  • Provide leadership and guidance to Initiative Directors in setting goals and strategies to successfully lead and grow their activities.  
  • Lead in the management of the well-being, promotion, and performance of research staff, including cross-departmental operational needs (communications, IT, internal procedures)  
  • Work with RFF’s Executive Team and Program Directors on agenda setting, the definition and establishment of research and engagement areas, and setting overall research department goals to meet the needs of decisionmakers and institutional objectives.   
  • Work with the VP for Research and Policy Engagement and the research leadership team  
  • to manage the execution of the research agenda and objectives, including the troubleshooting of projects that need additional support and guidance.  
  • to identify staff capacity needs, search out partners and collaborating institutions to leverage our capacity, and formulate strategies to build and add diversity to staff capacity.   
  • Work with VP for Research and Policy Engagement and RFF’s Development Department to develop strategies and proposals to fund the research program and allocate strategic program support funds.  

Research and Policy Engagement Responsibilities: 

  • Conduct a well-developed and innovative research and policy engagement agenda in one’s fields of interest, building a reputation as a recognized expert in the research and policy communities.  
  • Lead projects, communicate research results, and attract funding for oneself and others on the research staff, and have an abiding interest in seeing their research improve public policy and related decisions.   


  • A PhD degree in economics or policy analysis, or an advanced degree in other areas (social sciences, natural sciences, law, or engineering) with a demonstrated capacity to collaborate with economists.  

Experience and Qualifications:  

  • Minimum of 10 years of experience in the public, private, non-profit, or academic sectors.  
  • Minimum of 5 years in a management or supervisory role, leading, coaching, and mentoring staff, with experience demonstrating increasing responsibilities to the senior/executive management level.  
  • Respected expert with substantial knowledge and network related to environmental, energy, and resource issues.  
  • Fundraising experience with government, foundations, corporations, multilateral organizations, and/or individuals.  
  • Demonstrated interest in, and capability to work with the President and executive leadership, as well as across teams, to develop and execute strategy on an organizational level and to lead through change.    
  • Experience in building and maintaining partnerships with organizations, universities, and/or multilateral institutions.    
  • Demonstrated leadership and financial and personnel management abilities. Strong and inspiring leader; able to balance the role of strategist with ability to deliver timely results.    
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills; ability to develop and manage productive relationships at all levels, establish trust and respond to partners, donors and trustees as well as RFF scholars and other colleagues in a thoughtful and helpful manner.  
  • Strong collaboration skills.  

Technical Requirements:    

Proficiency in the following software programs is necessary for this role:  

  • Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook 
  • Internet Browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer) 
  • Internal communications platforms, such as Microsoft Teams 

Compensation and Benefits:

Excellent benefits package and employee perks:

  • Salary: $165,000.00 – $210,000.00 +
  • Medical, Dental, Vision through Cigna
  • 35 hour work week
  • Flexible summer hours (4 day work week June-Sept)
  • Flexible work arrangement policy (hybrid work)
  • 11 paid holidays
  • 4 weeks PTO to start, increases to 5 weeks after 5 years, in addition to 13 paid sick days per year
  • Gym on site
  • Deli on site
  • Parking on site
  • RFF contributes up to 15% of your salary to a 403(b) retirement account, depending on employee age in addition to a 401(a)
  • Commuter benefit plans (pre-tax metro and parking)

Physical Requirements

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. While performing the duties of this job, some standing, walking, sitting, bending, and carrying of light items such as books and papers is required.

Working Conditions

The work may involve everyday light risks and discomforts, which may require normal safety precautions typical of such places as offices, meetings, and training rooms, etc. The work area is adequately lighted, heated, and ventilated. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

This position description may not describe all duties, responsibilities and skills associated with this position. It is intended to portray the major aspects of the job and is not meant to be all inclusive. Other duties or skills may be required.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

RFF (Resources for the Future) is committed to the letter and spirit of diversity, equity, and inclusion. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or national and ethnic origin in hiring and employment, nor in the administration and other programs. RFF’s Vision for a Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Future.

RFF has made the safety of our staff and community a top priority. As a part of that commitment, all staff and visitors are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as defined by the CDC. RFF will require all staff and visitors to submit proof of complete vaccination against COVID-19 to work in our office. 

Visit our FAQ page to find out what it’s like to work at a world-class, policy-oriented research organization in the heart of Washington, DC.





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development