Associate Research Scientist (Earth Institute)
The Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management at Columbia University’s Earth Institute invites applications for a full-time Associate Research Scholar (ARS) in the areas of sustainability education, metrics, management, and environmental policy. He/she will lead research focused on analyzing the challenges of incorporating sustainability concepts and environmental education into current educational structures, developing sustainability education modules for upper secondary schools and adults, examining methods of evaluating sustainability practices, and studying the impact of policies that stimulate sustainability innovations and trends. The ARS will focus on research that contributes to the Research Program’s overall goal of assisting organizations and governments to enhance their current efforts and unlock the economic and human capital potential of sustainable strategies.
The ARS will report to the Director and work closely with other senior scientists and scholars to execute an ongoing project with the Tencent Foundation to understand the optimal pedagogical experiences and/or training methods that can induce people to understand, adopt, and apply sustainability principles and change their behaviors in China. The project intends to develop a set of sustainability education modules for secondary school students and adult users of an online charity platform in China. The scope of work includes initial research on the development of sustainability education, curriculum design, implementation, and evaluation of effectiveness. The incumbent will be required to collaborate with other researchers at the Earth Institute and the Research Program to design sustainability curriculum content, including educational materials, lesson plans for teachers, case studies and field trips, to be implemented in a pilot school in Shenzhen, China, as well as creating short videos for adult online learners. This will require communicating with faculty at the pilot school regarding the integration of the education modules to the existing school curriculum for each grade, the planning of student field trips, providing trainings and support for teachers before and throughout the implementation of each module, and obtaining feedback from the teaching staff to facilitate further adjustment of the modules. The incumbent will lead the evaluation studies of the sustainability modules for both the pilot school and online charity platform. This would involve developing evaluation tools, surveys, conducting interviews with teachers and learners to collect data for the evaluation of the curriculum modules using a mixed-method approach..
Additionally, the Associate Research Scholar will work on an ongoing project with the China Center on International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE) that provides comprehensive and systematic data analysis and verification on the sustainable development of China, its provinces and 100 large-and medium-sized cities annually. The project utilizes a proprietary sustainability assessment framework and rating system adapted specifically to China’s unique economic development situation. The ARS will collaborate with other scholars in updating and improving this framework, while conducting the data analysis and publishing the annual report. S/he will also work with local governments and state-owned-enterprises to design and assess provincial, city or corporate-level sustainability accounting systems. Furthermore, working with scholars from Henan University, the incumbent will conduct evaluation studies on the pro-environmental behaviors among college students, and the impact of the Henan Province ecological compensation scheme, using existing student- and city-level data.
S/he will manage relationships with existing Chinese research partners, including the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, the National Development and Reform Commission, Tsinghua University, Nanjing University, Henan University, AliResearch, the Sustainability Consortium, Eco Forum Global, Tianjin Binhai New District, State Grid Corporation of China and the Tencent Foundation.
The ARS will produce research content (which may include written reports, journalistic experiments, events, workshops, panels or other forms), and work to disseminate this content globally, but particularly in the U.S. and China. The ARS will also actively seek new funding opportunities, generate ideas for new research projects and collaborations, and expand the Research Program’s global network of partners. Working with the Director, he/she will also be responsible for overseeing graduate research assistants, ensuring their work is high quality and on an appropriate timetable.
Minimum Degree Required
PhD in Sustainable Development, Environmental Policy, Economics, Education, Public Policy, or a related field
• PhD in Sustainable Development, Environmental Policy, Economics, Education, Public Policy, or a related field, and two years of related postdoctoral research experience.
• Demonstrated experience with qualitative and quantitative research methods, as well as research experience on education, economics, and international issues of sustainability or sustainable development.
• Strong network in the sustainability research community and demonstrated ability to produce research that is rigorous, authoritative, contains original ideas and analysis, and relevant to the sustainability field.
• Excellent English communication, technical writing, and presentation skills, and proficient Chinese communication and writing skills.