Associate Director of Research (Energy & Environment Lab)

The University of Chicago

Chicago, IL, US

About the Unit

The University of Chicago Energy & Environment Lab (E&E Lab) is seeking a full-time Associate Director (AD) of Research to provide scientific and intellectual leadership to the E&E Lab, and develop and support environmental policy research projects. The AD will work closely with the Executive Director and faculty Director Michael Greenstone, and collaborate with other faculty members at the University of Chicago and elsewhere, to provide direction for a portfolio of applied research projects and ensure the rigor and quality of the Lab’s work. The University of Chicago Urban Labs partners with government and non-governmental organizations to identify and rigorously evaluate the policies and programs with the greatest potential to improve human lives at scale. Urban Labs’ evidence-based approach gives policymakers and practitioners the knowledge they need to effectively achieve the greatest social good per dollar spent. The University of Chicago E&E Lab partners with agencies at the federal, state and local level to identify, rigorously evaluate, and help scale programs and policies that reduce pollution and improve environmental outcomes, while ensuring access to reliable and affordable energy. The E&E Lab applies rigorous evaluation and modeling methods, including natural and field experiments, randomized controlled trials, behavioral economics, and machine learning, to help policymakers identify and generate evidence on innovative approaches and policy solutions to their most pressing environmental and energy challenges.

Job Family


Responsible for all aspects of research projects and research facilities. Plans and conducts clinical and non-clinical research; facilitates and monitors daily activities of clinical trials or research projects. Directs engineering and technical support activities to develop and maintain tools and computational methods needed to gather and analyze data.

Career Track and Job Level


Oversees all aspects of management, scientific technological development, and operations for major research projects or research facilities. Ensures compliance of research activities with institutional, state, and federal regulatory policies, procedures, directives and mandates. Writes articles, reports and manuscripts. Presents research findings at meetings and/or conferences.

M2: Manages professional employees and/or supervisors. Is accountable for the performance and results of a team within own discipline. Adapts departmental plans and priorities to address resource and operational challenges. Decisions are guided by policies, procedures and business plan; receives guidance from manager. Provides technical guidance to employees, colleagues and/or customers.

Role Impact

People Manager


The job manages a team of professional staff responsible for scientific research projects and research facilities. Ensures compliance of research activities with institutional, state, and federal regulatory policies, procedures, directives, and mandates. Manages the production of articles, reports, and manuscripts, and presents research findings at meetings and/ or conferences.

1) Manages research professionals and support staff involved with planning, monitoring, and compliance aspects of research projects. Advises other researchers on long-range plans for research projects., 2) Develops goals and operating procedures, practices, and guidelines for research activity based on department strategy., 3) Manages the laboratory facilities, including the purchase of new equipment and the maintenance and repair of laboratory equipment., 4) Reviews research of others, and may conduct own research, in area of expertise. Edits and approves articles, reports and manuscripts. Presents research findings at meetings and/or conference. Manages the research of processes in clinical or non-clinical settings. Program and use computers to store, process, and analyze data., 5) Performs other related work as needed.

Unit-Specific Responsibilities

1) Work collaboratively with faculty members, practitioners and policy makers to develop and implement applied research projects

2) Serve as technical lead on a portfolio of applied research projects focused on energy and environmental issues, including projects incorporating tools from predictive analytics and machine learning

3) Manage and mentor research and project staff, providing technical direction and ensuring the rigor and quality of all work

4) Contribute to strategic decisions about new projects and initiatives

5) Assist with draft research proposals, publications, and presentations

6) Disseminate research findings to research and practitioner/policymaker audiences

7) Serve as a member of the Energy & Environment Lab’s senior leadership team

Unit-Preferred Competencies

1) Expertise in applied microeconomics methods and all aspects of research design

2) Topical expertise in energy and environmental economics, including familiarity with the field literature

3) Substantial experience in machine learning/predictive analytics

4) Interest in finding and testing innovative solutions to environmental problems

Education, Experience, and Certifications

Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 7+ years of work experience in a related job discipline.

Preferred Qualifications


1) Bachelor’s degree in economics or another relevant field

2) Master’s degree in economics or another relevant field


1) At least six years of full-time research or consulting experience in positions with increasing responsibility

2) Manage research teams and assist in setting strategic direction for an organization

3) Work with interdisciplinary teams and engage with policymaker stakeholders

4) Establish and execute a research agenda and see projects through to publication





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