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Postdoctoral Research Associate in Environment and Society: Policy & Scholarship on the Dynamics of Climate Change Politics

Posted: 1/9/2018 (Employment)

Position Description

The Climate and Development Lab at Brown University is seeking a postdoctoral research associate to conduct research and lead team-based research on the political dynamics of climate change, either locally in Rhode Island, nationally in the United States, or internationally, especially through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Paris Agreement. The research associate will split their time between their own work and collaborative projects with other members of the lab.

The postdoctoral project could be engaged research in a number of areas—what follow are examples from the local to the global, but do not exclude candidate-proposed areas of work. Examination of specific regional, state, or local political activities related to climate change or energy issues, and study of the forces aligned to advance or slow and stop climate action, and strategies and tactics deployed on different sides. Empirical analysis of organized political action related to climate change, including public relations activities, lobbying, and political contributions in RI or the USA broadly. Investigation of funding flows involving the major actors in climate change politics at the national level of the U.S. or specific regional, state, or local political arenas. Studies of international negotiations, and the relations of power between nations. Studies of the gap between promises made at the international level about national emissions reductions and the ability of governments to deliver on them at home. Studies of decarbonization of national economies and “pathways of national development,” both low- and high-carbon, especially on their ability to deliver well-being to citizens. Analysis of financial flows and the politics of promise-making and –keeping in the UNFCCC. Postdoctoral associates will be supported in completing their own work in these areas and to lead small teams of students in advancing research for the lab.

Postdoctoral appointments will have an expected term of two years starting in July 2018 or soon thereafter. Research associates receive a salary of $50,000, plus benefits and research funds that may be directed to the project by the CDL Director. Postdoctoral research associates are expected to devote their appointment to research activities, but in special cases postdoctoral research associates may have the opportunity to teach undergraduate courses.


The successful candidate will have a recent Ph.D. and relevant experience in sociology, political science, geography, public policy, communications or a related environmental social science interdisciplinary field. Prior engaged research and communications experience is a plus. Responsibilities include: helping develop and coordinate research activities; interactions with partner organizations for engaged policy research (local, national, or international); data management and analysis; publication of manuscripts and dissemination of results, including through standard print and electronic press, and through social media. Candidates should demonstrate strong communication skills and an ability to work both independently and collaboratively with groups from diverse backgrounds.

Application Instructions

Applicants should submit: (1) a cover letter describing research interests, qualifications, and motivations, and how the candidate complements the work of the lab, (2) a two-page tentative and indicative research plan for two years of work, (3) a current CV, and (4) three letters of reference from advisors or colleagues who know the applicant’s work well. Referees should submit letters directly through Interfolio, which will supply a direct link when contact information is entered. Applications will be reviewed starting January 25, 2018, and accepted until the position is filled. The ideal start date is July 2018, but is somewhat flexible. The initial appointment will be for one year with an opportunity for extension of one more year based on satisfactory performance. Please contact Timmons Roberts directly with any questions (timmons at  Apply online:

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Location: Brown University