Research Associate (Climate Program)

World Resources Institute (WRI)

Washington, DC, United States 🇺🇸

About WRI

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. We are working to address six critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade in order to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water and sustainable cities.

We are passionate. We value our diversity of interests, skills and backgrounds. We have a flexible work environment. And we share a common goal to catalyze change that will improve the lives of people. Our shared ideals are at the core of our approach. They include: integrity, innovation, urgency, independence and respect.

The foundation of our work is delivering high-quality research, data, maps and analysis to solve the world’s greatest environment and international development challenges,and improve people’s lives. We work with leaders in government, business and civil society to drive ambitious action and create change on the ground. Equally important, we bring together partners to develop breakthrough ideas and scale-up solutions for far-reaching, enduring impact.

We have been growing rapidly: our staff has doubled in size over the past 5 years and our operating budget is now $100 million. Founded in 1982, WRI has a global staff of nearly 700 people with work spanning 50 countries. We have offices in Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States.  


Playing an integral role by supporting a new and exciting climate data and policy project, in this position you will advance climate action within the United States and throughout the world. The project is in partnership with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy to empower cities with the data necessary to inventory their GHG emissions and start climate action planning.

Your main responsibility will be to lead a small team of data researchers to conduct data research and the development of an online data portal. You will leverage your experience to plan and implement data research, analysis, management, and transformation to support data users and decision-makers. This will be done in close collaboration with the Project Manager, Outreach Lead, technical partners, and other WRI programs and international offices. You will have the opportunity to engage regularly with key national and international stakeholders, and with globally-renowned organizations, including the Global Covenant of Mayors, ICLEI, C40, CDP, Google, NASA, as well as local and national governments across the globe. This is an opportunity to engage in global NDC development and stock-taking processes to advance inventory best practices that support climate action in cities. 

To support and implement on this new and exciting project, you should have demonstrated abilities in:

  • Turning general ideas into well-focused data analysis and solutions
  • Developing GHG inventories based on accepted accounting standards
  • Delivering complex data and analysis products
  • Managing a project independently, including staff, scoping, design, implementation, testing and delivery
  • Developing guidance and trainings for stakeholders
  • Understanding climate change mitigation
  • Exhibiting interpersonal and consensus finding skills

To be a successful candidate, you will need strong interpersonal and written communication skills, resiliency, flexibility, and drive.

A typical working week in the position can include:

  • Documenting the functional and data requirements of data and research products to discuss with stakeholders and partners
  • Developing and reviewing data standards and guidance and discussing them with colleagues
  • Identifying, pursuing, collecting, and transforming available data sets from various data owners
  • Generating new data sets based on new, existing, or derived information
  • Brainstorming ideas and define steps to identify project priorities
  • Meeting with junior staff to guide them in their data research and analysis
  • Reporting on progress to funders and partners

This position will focus on collecting data and engaging in data partnerships including countries, organizational partners, and WRI to inform and build a data portal that will give cities access to the national data sets needed to inventory their GHG emissions and begin climate action planning.


Your main areas of responsibility will include the following:

Project Management & Online Portal Development (30% of time required) 

  • Support senior staff in the management and execution of research and data projects, including the work planning, staffing, daily tasking, timeline, and delivery
  • Monitor and support project progress according to planned milestones, and contribute to internal and donor reporting
  • Manage 1-2 junior level staff who conduct the relevant research
  • Engage and coordinate with WRI colleagues across programs, centers, and international offices
  • Support the project manager in the process of tool development, including the development of scope, use cases, designs, database management, front end development, user testing and delivery
  • Support related outreach, training, and communication efforts by providing subject matter support.
  • Coordinate daily with internal and external partners and vendors that will contribute to the development of data and policy products and analyses

Research & Knowledge: (70% of time required)

  • Lead the technical development of a GHG inventory data tool that provides cities with foundational data in support of their climate action
  • Lead the preparation and daily execution of research work plans by directing junior staff work and ensuring quality deliverables on time
  • Organize stakeholder interviews to assess demand and use cases of online tools
  • Guide and support junior staff to do high quality research on GHG emission accounting and online portal development
  • Attend or often lead technical working groups with internal and external partners that seek collaborative solutions
  • Coordinate with other organizations on research efforts and guide their involvement
  • Present new products at workshops and other internal and external events
  • Guide the development of new data sets and analyses
  • Authoring or co-authoring knowledge and outreach products (e.g., reports, briefs, data products, blogs)
  • Participate in internal and external peer review processes for publications and papers
  • Support the development of scopes of work, project proposals and concept notes
  • Assist the overall WRI U.S. program strategy and prioritizing of research and project activities

Additionally, in keeping with WRI’s commitment to gender equity across our programs, the Associate will also be required to identify relevant gender issues, as determined through a gender analysis, and ensure adequate and effective attention to these issues in project and partner development, budgeting and management.


Required Qualifications:

  • Masters in related field in Environmental Science, Policy, Sustainability, International Relations, and Economics or related
  • Minimum 3-5 years of full-time work experience with GHG accounting and inventory development, data analysis, and online data tools, with some project management experience
  • Understanding of the planning and development process of online tools similar to WRI’s CAIT Climate Data Explorer
  • Strong computer skills including high level of comfort with Microsoft Office 365 (proficiency with Sharepoint and Excel is required), web-based communications, and internet research
  • Knowledge of data analysis and processing of quantitative and qualitative data sets
  • Ability to work with partners and assess the needs of stakeholder groups
  • Ability to connect research results to measurable external change
  • Prior supervision and mentorship of one or more junior staff
  • Exceptionally good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Self-motivated with an ability to juggle multiple priorities, handle assignments independently, and work under tight deadlines
  • Commitment to WRI’s mission statement

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Understanding of the international climate policy space, for example UNFCCC processes, mitigation policies and climate action.
  • Knowledge of planning and development process for online tools
  • Experience with external communications and/or donor management.
  • International experience, either through related environmental NGOs, consulting, or government service
  • Ability to travel when needed

How to Apply

Qualified applicants must apply online at to be considered.

The World Resources Institute ( is an environmental and development research and policy organization that creates solutions to protect the Earth and improve people’s lives. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, it is WRI’s policy to recruit, hire, and provide opportunities for advancement in all job classifications without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, protected veteran status, or disability. WRI’s global agenda requires a staff that is diverse – with respect to race, gender, cultural, and international background. Diverse perspectives and experience enhance the way WRI selects and approaches issues, as well as the creativity and applicability of WRI’s policy research and analysis. WRI, therefore, encourages applications from U.S. minorities, persons from other countries (especially developing nations), and from women of all backgrounds.