Associate, Systems Change Lab

Job Summary:

In this position, you will develop technical inputs on energy, industry, transport, and the built environment for the Systems Change Lab’s monitoring platform. Your work will entail validating the list of required shifts for each sector, establishing evidence-based targets for each shift, identifying the underlying conditions of positive change, developing a list of best available indicators to track progress, and working with leading data providers to identify high-quality, publicly available datasets for each indicator. You will also support regular assessments of progress, contribute to annual reports, and conduct research on case studies of systems change within these sectors. In doing so, you will work closely with technical experts and partners across government, civil society, and the private sector, as well as researchers within WRI’s Energy, Cities, and Climate programs. More broadly, you will also support the Lab’s communications and outreach efforts, maintain and cultivate key partnerships, and contribute to fundraising materials.  

This position is remote due to Covid-19, but you will be based in Washington, DC once restrictions have lifted.

Job Responsibilities:

Research and analysis (60%)

  • Help identify and validate appropriate indicators for tracking progress in energy, buildings, industry and transport sectors
  • Coordinate with the data team to find data sources for tracking progress in each sector
  • Support regular analysis of tracking progress towards energy, buildings, industry and transport benchmarks for 2030 and 2050
  • This will include writing on the state of progress towards key indicators in each sector for reports, our website, articles and other outreach materials

Project management (30%)

  • Liaise with internal teams across WRI, the High-Level Climate Champions and other partners on a regular basis to validate findings

Communications (10%)

  • Represent WRI and the Systems Change Lab at conferences, workshops and other events
  • Produce outreach materials for the Systems Change Lab.

Job Qualifications:

  • Master’s Degree  in environmental or energy policy, public policy or related field
  • Minimum of 5 years of full-time work experience in energy, environmental, climate or related fields;knowledge of climate change issues
  • In depth knowledge of energy systems, including electricity supply and end-use sectors
  • Strong analytical and research skills and proven ability to deliver high-quality work
  • Excellent writing, editing, presentation, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Great attention to details and ability to manage multiple priorities, and work under tight deadlines
  • Strong analytical competency and quantitative skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Excellent research and writing skills
  • Project planning and management skills
  • Demonstrated passion for WRI’s mission, including a working knowledge of key issues within WRI’s research in energy, climate and economics
  • Excellent communication skills, both oral and written
  • Self-starter with ability to juggle multiple assignments at one time
  • Friendly, positive demeanor and determined attitude
  • Ability to collaborate with teams
  • Capable of working with minimal direction and supervision
  • Ability to make independent decisions in some complex situations
  • US work authorization is required for this position

Potential Salary:

$59,600 – $77,500 if based in United States. Salary is commensurate with experience and other compensable factors.

How to Apply:

Please submit a resume with cover letter. Applicants mustapply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered. 

Program Overview:

Reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and shifting to nature-positive development, while also building a fairer economy, will require transformational change across all major economic systems—finance, energy, transport, the built environment, agriculture, manufacturing, and consumption. Broader transitions must also occur, such as how we measure progress, deliver basic services, and equitably distribute the costs and benefits of change. As a virtual and dynamic situation room, the Systems Change Lab (SCL) will monitor systems change globally, taking stock of where shifts are accelerating (or stalling), and analyzing what’s working, what isn’t, and why. It will partner with visionary leaders and diverse coalitions, arming them with the evidence needed to mobilize more effective action and cross positive tipping points. The Systems Change Lab is being housed jointly within World Resources Institute, the Bezos Earth Fund, and the High-Level Climate Champions team, and is working with a wide consortium of partners, including the Global Commons Alliance, University of Tokyo’s Center for Global Commons and the WEF. SCL is designing a three-pronged strategy to advance transformational change across all economic systems:

  • Monitor. Although efforts to track some transformations exist, data gaps remain. Data required to understand critical roadblocks, actions by governments, companies, and other actors, and effective policies are also not readily available—no “one stop shop” to get a snapshot of progress across them all. By partnering with leading data providers and target users, such as campaigners, philanthropies, and investors, SCL will co-develop an accessible, open-data platform where required shifts across all systems, as well their drivers, will be regularly tracked against benchmarks aligned with the best available science. An annual report taking stock of progress will also be published, with complementary outreach efforts.
  • Learn and share. Tremendous gains have been made in advancing our understanding of historical systems change and its drivers. Building on this, SCL will deepen analysis of why change is occurring. In partnership with leading technical experts, practitioners, and experts (see below for its preliminary list of partners, which are anticipated to grow), it will produce analysis that not only instills greater confidence that systems change is possible, but also equips change agents with compelling case studies, an evidence base across transformations, and a roadmap for accelerating change.
  • Mobilize action. Through strategic outreach and engagement, the Lab’s monitoring and learning work will support the many coalitions already advancing system change, such as those working with the High-Level Climate Champions (SCL currently is partnering with those from Chile and the United Kingdom to support their work at COP26). It will rally around major moments, such as COP15 on biodiversity, the World Food Summit, and the United Nations General Assembly, to inform public and private sector leaders. In doing so, it will pay special attention to transformations that have stalled and work with partners to understand the actors, relationships, vested interests, and barriers in these systems. Furthermore, through participatory dialogues, SCL will identify transformational solutions that are garnering support from more diverse stakeholders over time, ratchet up ambitions, and become more durable. It will also look for possible disruptors that can unlock systems change, and enlist diverse coalitions of champions to spark such shifts.

WRI Overview:

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 seven 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, sustainable cities, and the ocean.

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 $150 million. Founded in 1982, WRI has a global staff of 1,000+ people with work spanning 60 countries. We have offices in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the United States as well as a growing presence in other countries and regions.  

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices.




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