Resources for the Future (RFF) Openings for Fellows in Postdoctoral Program in Natural Resources and the Environment

Resources for the Future (RFF) currently has openings for several postdoctoral researchers. RFF’s Postdoctoral Program in Natural Resources and the Environment promotes research and policy analysis in natural resources, energy and the environment. The program is designed to provide unique opportunities for postdoctoral fellows to contribute to projects underway, pursue new lines of inquiry, and participate with RFF fellows and senior fellows in engaging fully with policymakers in Washington, DC.

ABOUT RFF: RFF is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution focused on independent economic and quantitative policy analysis in the fields of environment, energy and climate, and natural resources ( RFF is committed to scholarly excellence and policy application and offers an outstanding environment for academic publication and high-level communication of research to policy audiences.

JOB DESCRIPTION: Five positions are available:
– Resilience in coastal communities to repeated hurricanes. The project is funded by the National Science Foundation ( and in addition to working with RFF researchers, the postdoc may have opportunities to collaborate with other researchers on the grant at Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown University, the University of Michigan, George Mason University, and the University of Maryland’s National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC). Depending on expertise and interests, the postdoc may work on (i) agent-based modeling of land and housing markets; (ii) integration of the agent-based model with other team members’ models of storm surge, wind damages and hurricane mitigation choices; (iii) model-based policy analyses of options to alter land use to promote resilience and/or (iv) an empirical investigation of homeowner and business investments in hurricane mitigation options. The position requires strong skills in mathematical programming, including experience with MatLab; expertise in working with spatial data, GIS software, Stata and R; and a demonstrated interest in coastal issues, including topics related to land use and development in coastal areas, extreme weather events, and climate adaptation. In addition, some knowledge and experience with agent-based models is desirable. Candidates should have recently completed a Ph.D. in economics, decision sciences, geography, urban planning, environmental engineering or a related discipline.

– Forest carbon tracking. Funded by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the University of Maryland’s National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), this project focuses on using satellite and other remote sensing data to target and evaluate forest conservation/REDD+ policies in Latin America. The postdoc’s main responsibility will be helping to conduct quasi-experimental evaluations of forest conservation policy using remote sensing data. The postdoc will also help refine and disseminate computational web-based decision tools for forest conservation. Candidates should have strong econometrics skills; excellent written communication skills; a demonstrated interest in forest conservation policy, preferably evaluation and/or targeting of such policies; and at least some familiarity with remote sensing, spatial data, and geographic information systems. In addition, Spanish language skills and computer programming (e.g., Matlab, C++, Python) are desirable.

– Ecosystem service valuation and conservation. This position centers on empirical and econometrically focused work on several ecosystem service valuation projects, including global meta-analysis of forest valuation; stated preference research to value ecosystems in the United States; and new research collaboration between RFF and the Environment for Development Centers (EfD) in Chile, Costa Rica, China, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa. The postdoc will participate in all aspects of research, including data collection and analysis, development and estimation of econometric models, and design and organization of workshops. The position requires solid training and skills in applied econometrics as well as experience in Stata and Matlab (or R or GAUSS). Experience with spatial data and GIS is a plus. Candidates should have recently completed a Ph.D. in economics, agricultural and resource economics, or a related field.

– Energy and water modeling of Arizona and the Southwest. This project will design and build an energy flow model of Arizona and surrounding western states. The post doc will lead this project, working at RFF under the leadership of scholars at RFF and Arizona State University (ASU). Funds for occasional travel to ASU will be provided. Principal duties and responsibilities include design and implementation of an energy system model (adaptation of existing models is a possible approach), an algorithm for integration of the energy flow model with a general equilibrium model (integration with an existing computable general equilibrium (CGE) model at RFF or other institutions is a possible approach), a plan for the acquisition and maintenance of raw data inputs, and execution of model simulations as part of a policy or research driven collaboration with scholars at RFF and ASU. The project also requires full documentation of the model and a template for reporting model results. Collaboration in preparation of working papers, journal articles and other written materials is also expected. Candidates must have a strong background in economics and economic modeling. Useful specialized skills could include familiarity with general equilibrium theory, mixed complementary programing, operations research and/or optimization, and energy sector and regulatory knowledge. Programming experience in MATLAB or GAMS is highly relevant and experience with Python, R, Stata, SAS or Analytica is useful.

– Uncertainty quantification for the carbon cycle and policy implications. This project centers on improving the quantification of climate uncertainty to support uncertainty propagation in integrated assessment models. The postdoc will work with RFF fellows to identify the major uncertainties in the carbon cycle, including dynamics of carbon transfers; design an elicitation protocol to enable domain experts to quantify the relevant uncertainties; conduct elicitations; project the uncertainties onto parameters of a carbon cycle model; and draw policy implications. The postdoc will also promote deeper awareness of climate science at RFF by designing a seminar series inviting climate science experts to RFF. The candidate must have a strong background in carbon cycle modeling, high dimensional dependence modeling and policy aspects of climate change.

JOB QUALIFICATIONS: All candidates for the above positions should have (i) a PhD completed prior to beginning the postdoc, (ii) excellent written communication skills, (iii) enthusiasm for interdisciplinary research, as well as interest and ability to work with researchers from multiple disciplines, and (iv) ability and desire to collaborate with a team of RFF Research Fellows and Research Assistants.

FURTHER INFORMATION: All positions are for a one-year appointment beginning in fall 2015 and may be renewable for a second year upon satisfactory performance and funding availability. The position provides some support for independent research, including publishing papers from a completed dissertation. RFF offers a competitive salary and employee benefits.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: Review of applications will begin August 31, 2015 and continue until the positions are closed. Application materials must be in PDF format and include a cover letter (indicating the position/s you are applying for), CV, transcript, and three letters of reference. All applicants should use the online application process at to submit the cover letter, CV and transcript. For letters of reference, please include candidate name in subject line and email them to . Should you experience any difficulty in applying online, please email  or call Mara Parrish at (202) 328-55053.

RFF is an equal opportunity employers. Women, minorities and veterans are encouraged to apply.