Senior Researcher

Center for International Environmental Law

POSITION TITLE: Senior Researcher

: Climate & Energy

: Climate & Energy Program Leadership

: Preference for Washington, DC, USA; remote possible with timezone alignment

$61,000 – $80,000 (Depending on qualifications) (may vary by country)


The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) uses the power of law to protect the environment, promote human rights, and ensure a just and sustainable society. The Senior Researcher will be a part of the Climate and Energy (C&E) team, which uses innovative legal strategies to: protect human rights and the planet from both the drivers of, and the responses to, climate change and toxic pollution; accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels by highlighting the risks of fossil fuel investments and holding State and corporate actors accountable for their role in the climate crisis; curb the use of and trade in toxic chemicals; and address the plastic crisis at its source: the fossil fuel industry. They will also work closely with the Environmental Health team, which aims to strengthen regulation of toxic substances and protect communities and families worldwide from toxic risks.

CIEL seeks a Senior Researcher to investigate and analyze trends in a range of areas relevant to the organization’s work on the oil and gas industry and the fossil economy, their financing, their environmental, health, and human rights impacts, and false solutions. Duties include rigorous long- and short-term investigative work, writing for advocacy and substantiating all claims, drafting of reports and other public-facing materials, research conducted both independently and collaboratively, editing and incorporating internal and external feedback, and management of multiple concurrent projects. In addition to answering program requests for research and analysis, the Senior Researcher will proactively identify gaps and opportunities for further research to accelerate campaign objectives.

The ideal candidate will be a research generalist, able to use an array of desk-based research strategies to develop a sophisticated understanding of new and diverse issue areas quickly and confidently, and leverage that understanding to ask and answer policy- and campaign-relevant research questions. Outstanding writing, the ability to work independently and as part of an interdisciplinary team, and the capacity to embrace and to engage in extensive, iterative review processes, are essential. In addition to sharp analytical skills, including the ability to understand, distill, and draw conclusions from technical materials, such as financial and scientific data, and legal resources, the successful candidate will demonstrate an understanding of the role of information and analysis in catalyzing social change, a drive for uncovering the truth and aptitude for sleuthing out information, and a passion for environmental justice.


Programmatic Responsibilities:

  • In conjunction with the C&E Program Director, Deputy Program Director and other relevant staff, conduct high impact research that educates partners and decision makers, informs advocacy strategies, and achieves measurable progress towards CIEL’s strategic priorities and programmatic objectives, ensuring the highest quality work product:
    • Participate in strategic conversations and joint planning to ensure research advances Program priorities and campaign objectives.
    • Conduct original, in-depth research and analysis, drawing on high quality, credible sources, and analyzing primary source data (where possible) to draw clear, original, meaningful and well-defended conclusions.
    • Draft, edit, and revise findings into succinct, substantiated, and compelling narratives for print/dissemination, ensuring completeness and accuracy of footnotes and citations.
    • Work with communications team and program staff to publish policy- and campaign-relevant research findings for greatest impact, through the development of fact sheets, press releases, blogs, articles, and briefings, incorporating visual presentation of findings as necessary.
    • Present findings at meetings, conferences, hearings, and other public events, catering messages to policymakers, movement partners, analysts, journalists, and frontline communities.
    • Identify and scope areas where new or supplementary research is needed;
  • Maintain effective working relationships with CIEL staff, relevant partner organizations, agencies, intergovernmental organizations, and other stakeholders.
  • Represent CIEL in coalitions, public meetings, hearings, workshops, and other processes.
  • Provide editorial assistance for CIEL publications, from scoping to proofreading.
  • Assist in information flow within and across CIEL programs.
  • Perform other job-related duties as requested or assigned by the Program Director.

Administrative Responsibilities:

  • Assist program team and other staff responsible for grant-writing and reporting by sharing information on program activities, deliverables, and expenditures, as needed;
  • Maintain timesheets contemporaneously and submit them on time; and
  • Participate in weekly staff and team meetings, as well as other organizational activities, including an annual staff performance evaluation.
  • Occasional travel to Washington, DC if located out of the area

Minimum Qualifications:

  • A bachelor’s degree (or equivalent work experience) plus 5-7 years of relevant experience.
  • Exceptional research skills, including attention to detail, scrupulous adherence to documented fact, and resourcefulness in using online search tools.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully manage multiple priorities concurrently, including having strong planning and organizational skills, and ability to work well in a fast-changing and sometimes unpredictable environment.
  • Ability to explain complex technical subjects to non-specialist audiences clearly and compellingly, in writing.
  • Ability to incorporate feedback and undertake substantive revisions based on an iterative review process.
  • Basic climate science and policy literacy and general knowledge of fossil fuel industry actors, impacts, and trends.
  • Experience working with a diversity of people, groups, local communities and organizations with a wide array of goals, perspectives, and backgrounds.
  • Commitment to incorporating principles of justice, equity, and inclusion into all aspects of the work.
  • Ability to work both independently and in close coordination with a team.

Desired Qualifications:

  • An advanced (graduate) degree in environmental or climate science, journalism, economics, social sciences, public health, data sciences, law, international relations, or other relevant field (strongly preferred).
  • Experience in/knowledge of international environmental and/or human rights law
  • Ability to verbally explain, or be a spokesperson for, complex technical subjects to non-specialist audiences clearly and compellingly.
  • Experience creating visual presentations of findings and data, using figures, graphics, and online tools.
  • Proficiency working in languages other than English.

Location note: This position may be eligible to work from the following locations:

  • In our Washington, DC, USA office, provided you have obtained your own legal work authorization (CIEL cannot sponsor work visas) – PREFERRED
  • CIEL has the capacity through OysterHR to hire employees in certain jurisdictions outside of where we are headquartered. Thus, candidates may be eligible to work remotely from the US or another country, depending on the US state or other country and provided your work schedule can align with South/North American and/or African/European time zones. You must have obtained legal authorization to work and live in the country from which you wish to work.
  • In our Geneva, Switzerland office provided you have the ability to legally work in Switzerland (i.e., a citizen of EU/EFTA member states).

This is a full-time, overtime-exempt position. CIEL offers a strong benefits package including employer-subsidized health, dental, and vision; paid vacation, sick, and parental leave; a 5% contribution of gross annual salary into a 403(b) retirement account; a relocation stipend if relocating to work from one of our offices; and paid sabbatical leave after 7 years. CIEL is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, and full-time employees qualify for the US Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

Application instructions
: Applications will be considered on a rolling basis; the first application review will take place on January 25. Desired start date: As soon as able. Please submit a resume and cover letter. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted. No telephone calls, please.

Anonymous Demographic Survey:
Please complete this anonymous demographic survey as part of your application to CIEL. The survey will only be used to help us evaluate our efforts to recruit a diverse pool of candidates. Your answers will not in any way be linked to your application, and the answers to the survey will not be handled by anyone on the hiring committee for the role.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement
: In accordance with CIEL’s duty to provide and maintain a workplace that is free of known hazards and our commitment to safeguard the health of our employees, clients, and communities, CIEL requires US candidates to furnish proof of full COVID vaccination status in order to be hired for this position. If you are not eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or vaccination is contraindicated by a licensed medical professional, you must provide documentation verifying this ineligibility or contraindication.

About CIEL:
For 30 years, CIEL has used the power of law to protect the environment, promote human rights, and ensure a just and sustainable society. CIEL’s dynamic team of international attorneys and experts work together in a collaborative and supportive work environment to tackle some of the most interesting and challenging issues facing people and the planet.

We are an equal opportunity employer, actively committed to the principles of multiculturalism and building an organization that is as diverse as the communities we serve around the world. We know that diversity and inclusion make us stronger, and we actively encourage qualified applicants with various backgrounds, identities, perspectives, and (dis)abilities to apply. If you need an accommodation or assistance with this application, please contact Human Resources at jobs[at]

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