Climate Change Adaptation Science Fellow

Arlington, VA, US


The Climate Change Adaptation Science Fellow will conduct innovative and catalytic analyses that contribute to the adaptation goal of Conservation International’s climate change strategy. The objective of the fellowship is to conduct a scientific research to address the limits of adaptation.  The fellowship has, therefore, a predefined topic.

The fellow will explore the role of ecosystems in transformative change with a view to supporting climate resilient development pathways. More specifically, the fellow will conduct research to answer the following questions:

1) Where and how may changes, in ecological systems driven by climate change, impact livelihoods and productive systems in such a way that transformative adaptation responses are needed?

2) What are the tipping points in ecological systems that may lead to the need for transformative response? What are the socio-economic implications of those tipping points?

3) Under what circumstances (social conditions or management regimes) do ecosystems play an indispensable role in transformative responses?

4) What decision-making progresses (policy, funding, etc) can help address 1-3 above? 

While the topic of the research is predefined, the fellow can use a variety of methods for conducting the research (including literature review, analysis and synthesis of existing spatial data sets). The Climate Change Adaptation Science Fellow should bring expertise on the impacts of climate change with a view to assessing the limits of adaptation and solutions that can be suggested in situations where climate change impacts on ecological systems can lead to transformative socio-economic impacts. Knowledge of ecology, social science and ecosystem-based adaptation is key, as well as the ability to think creatively and adapt methodologies, write peer reviewed publications targeting high impact journals, and translate the results of the research to a variety of stakeholders.

This is a full-time position that will last 18 months, and the fellow will be based at Conservation International’s headquarters in Arlington, VA, USA.  We offer a salary commensurate with experience and skills, and a great benefits package. There is a possibility that the Fellow could be retained as a full-time employee as part of an evolving climate program if all parts are satisfied with the work and if the fellow can help fundraise.

Required skills set includes

Scientific Background and Professional Accomplishments

  • Preferably PhD with a related thesis OR 2-3 years of experience working on climate change adaptation

  • Knowledge of ecology and social science 

  • Knowledge of Ecosystem-based Adaptation

  • Demonstrated ability to publish high quality scientific papers

Analytical & Problem Solving Skills

  • Ability to think creatively and adapt methodologies.

  • GIS experience, especially using global, large data sets

  • Spatial analysis, especially using global, large data sets

  • Experience in adaptation policy and planning

  • Ability to present and discuss the results of the research with a variety of stakeholders, and not only scientists

Communication, Interpersonal & Outreach Skills

  • Ability to work with a diverse set of scientists and non-scientists at Conservation International 

  • Strong presentation skills, and media experience

  • Knowledge of ongoing adaptation policy discussions

Desired Skills Set Includes

  • Fluency in Spanish, Portuguese or French an asset but not required

Specific Duties Associated with the Position

  • Develop and implement research project (addressing the research questions outlined above), including identify methodology, conduct analysis, write and present results

  • Work both independently and as part of a team

  • Interact and collaborate with colleagues from the Moore Center for Science division, the Climate Strategy Team, as well as colleagues from throughout Conservation International

  • Contribute to funding proposals as needed

  • Generate research report documents including peer-reviewed papers

  • Participate in the Climate Core team

  • Present research progress and findings to both internal and external audiences

  • Participate in all Fellowship cohort activities

Travel Associated with the Position

  • The Fellow will be expected to travel to institutional meetings with the Fellowship cohort.  Expected travel is 2-4 trips per year and includes a trip to CI’s Learning Week and a Board meeting.

  • Fellows will have a travel budget for professional development activities.

At the Successful Completion of the Fellowship, the Fellow Will Have

  • Prepared at least 2 peer-reviewed research papers (co-authored with colleagues from Conservation International) presenting the results of the study

  • Prepared Policy briefs presenting the results of the study

  • Communicated and built capacity broadly within Conservation International to enhance understanding of the limits of adaptation