Principal Research Fellow (Climate and Sustainability Programme)

Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

London, , GB

About ODI

ODI is an independent, global think tank, working for a sustainable and peaceful world in which every person thrives. We harness the power of evidence and ideas through research and partnership to confront challenges, develop solutions and create change. (

About the Climate and Sustainability Programme

The world is not managing its finite resources sustainably or equitably. Consumption of food, energy, land and water is rising, even while many people do not have their basic needs met. Local environments are degraded by pollution while the planet faces critical ecological crises from climate change to biodiversity loss. Those who are socially, economically, culturally or politically marginalised are affected first – and worst.

The Climate and Sustainability team is working to build a more equitable world, underpinned by climate-compatible development and sustainable stewardship of natural resources. We use robust data to influence governance, policy and investment in ways that reduce poverty, inequality and environmental degradation. We support governments, communities and industries to secure just and sustainable transitions, drawing on our renowned expertise in agriculture, land, water, energy and cities, and the connections between them.

Our projects range from providing advisory services to governments and multilateral agencies, to supporting awareness and advocacy efforts by civil society, to long-term empirical research programmes. A sample of our work includes:

  • PRIndex, which collects robust data on perceptions of land and property rights around the world.
  • Fossil fuel subsidy scorecards, which track public fiscal support for coal, oil and gas in the major economies.
  • Informing climate finance, which help shape the design and operation of climate funds to ensure that resources help drive transformation.

About the role

Principal Research Fellows are leading experts with extensive experience in an academic and/or policy environment. As a world-class authority in a research and policy field, a Principal Research Fellow will have a track record of developing and delivering innovative research and policy programmes. They will also have a substantial track record of thought leadership, team building, and influential policy engagement. Their work will have made a significant and distinctive contribution to development and have an international profile and reputation.

Within ODI, Principal Research Fellows lead and manage specific intellectual agendas. Within their area of expertise, they are expected to build and maintain strategic relationships with a diverse range of partners; develop, fundraise for and oversee new projects; and produce robust and original outputs that influence policy and practice. Our Principal Research Fellows are strong believers in values-driven leadership, with a proven commitment to supporting the professional development of colleagues and advancing inclusive, equitables development.

This specific role has been conceived to provide strategic direction and leadership to ODI’s work on governance for sustainable natural resource use. This will build on the team’s current work on land and property rights and responsible investment as an entry point, with scope to extend this work to the role of natural resource management in climate change mitigation, resilience, ecosystem restoration and sustainable consumption. However, there may be scope to appoint two Principal Research Fellows so we also welcome applications from candidates with relevant expertise and interest in building portfolios of work on other aspects of sustainability, such as clean energy, pollution, biodiversity or environmental justice.

About you

You’ll be an internationally recognised expert in sustainable natural resource management or another topic at the intersection of economic, social and environmental challenges. You’ll be confident providing intellectual leadership of a research and policy agenda, as well as the day-to-day management of projects and staff within this portfolio. You will support and grow a diverse team that is able to make an original and substantive contribution to environmental research, policy and practice. You’ll have a track record of influential publications or technical assistance, and be able to support ODI’s efforts to drive real-world change towards a more sustainable world.

You will also have:

  • A degree and post-graduate qualification in a relevant discipline, such as environmental science, economics or policy.
  • Extensive and deep knowledge of key issues and organisations in a relevant field, evidenced by the production of robust, original research and policy advice.
  • Experience of leadership and management at a senior level, including enabling the professional development of colleagues and ensuring project delivery within agreed budgets and timeframes.
  • A track record of influencing decision-making and discourse, whether through influential publications, strategic engagement or other channels.
  • A proven ability to translate research and policy ideas into compelling and fundable projects.

Closing date: Friday, 14 August 2020

Interview date: Monday, 24 August 2020

For more information, download an application pack from our website here. If you are experiencing difficulties downloading, phone +44 (0)20 7922 8234 / 0351 or email [email protected].





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development