Avoiding dangerous climate change requires transformative actions across all sectors of our society and economy, including rapid energy transition, technological innovation, and unprecedented investment in natural climate solutions, all pursued urgently, globally, and in parallel. In this role, you will determine what the most vital issues are and have the ability to pursue the most effective solutions, unconstrained by outside agendas. At Conservation International (CI), this is our highest priority and we will look to you for big ideas and even bigger solutions. Together, we will make an impact.
As our Senior Director – Climate Mitigation Science, you will play a key and highly visible role leading the design and delivery of high-impact outputs and outcomes relating to the science of natural climate solutions (NCS), developing innovative research projects and funding proposals that will help deliver on CI’s climate goals. You will be given a high degree of independence to lead the strategic development of NCS science across the institution, working closely with a network of scientists and practitioners across CI divisions and in collaboration with core external partners, including some of the world’s leading climate-focused institutions and global thought leaders. This is an exceptional opportunity for a creative, determined individual to lead a research agenda that will directly contribute to CI’s and partner organizations’ on-the-ground actions to mitigate climate change through leveraging nature.
NCS include conservation, restoration, and improved land management actions that increase carbon storage or avoid emissions across natural and semi-natural land-uses (with actions ranging from reforestation to wetland conservation and climate-smart agriculture). Such solutions offer >10 Gt CO2e/year in cost-effective mitigation potential globally that can be achieved without harmful impacts on food security, fiber security, or biodiversity. However, realizing the massive potential of NCS will require breakthroughs to align many sectors of society toward meeting this collective challenge and opportunity, requiring co-design of solutions pathways and the science needed to inform them. You and your team will design, implement, and coordinate a transformative research agenda to inform key NCS targets and their pathways for implementation.
Internally, you will play a vital role contributing to the institutional Climate Strategy and working closely with the Climate Team, driving collaboration across divisions and advising and mentoring key staff. Externally, you will build and leverage strategic alliances with NGOs, multilateral organizations, and businesses. Your success will flow from your understanding of the core issues relating to climate change in general and climate mitigation in particular, your technical knowledge, your understanding of the global and national policy contexts into which NCS must integrate and evolve, and your ability to manage a team.
Your core areas of focus will include research to define critical NCS targets – for example, characterizing high-carbon irreplaceable ecosystems and pathways for their conservation; identifying transformative means for reducing deforestation and degradation, including and in addition to REDD+; spatially defining restoration and reforestation opportunities, barriers, and trade-offs; evaluating the cost-benefit of various NCS pathways; and identifying the safeguards necessary to secure biodiversity, food, and fiber, while enabling NCS to meet its potential at national and global scales.
For more than 30 years, Conservation International has been protecting nature for the benefit of all?. We don’t focus on one sector or one issue and we’re not interested in short-term fixes. Instead, building upon a foundation of science, partnership, and field work, we find global solutions to global problems.
Humanity is dependent on nature, and by saving nature, we’re saving ourselves. To that end, Conservation International is working to build a healthier, more prosperous, and more productive planet.
We do this through science, policy, and partnerships with countries, communities, and companies. We employ nearly 1,000 people and work with more than 2,000 partners in 30 countries. Over the years, we have helped support 1,200 protected areas and interventions across 77 countries, protecting more than 601 million hectares of land, marine, and coastal areas.
Responsibilities of the Senior Director – Climate Mitigation Science
Provide strategic vision for, and intellectual leadership of, CI’s science on NCS.
Design, lead, and support innovative, highly visible research on key targets for NCS and pathways for their implementation, taking full advantage of recent innovations in, and availability of, big data and associated technologies.
Day-to-day management of a team of scientists (5+) based in CI’s Moore Center for Science (MCS).
Champion engagement and coordination on NCS across a broad network of scientists and practitioners across CI divisions, particularly capitalizing on expertise in the Field Divisions.
Build a network of external organizations and individuals (academics, NGOs, private sector actors), including identifying novel partnerships, to help assemble a broad coalition for driving transformational change in the global uptake of NCS.
Advance and influence stakeholder understanding and engagement through leading the development of high-impact peer-review publications and thought pieces.
Represent CI at key scientific congresses, policy fora, and scientific expert groups related to NCS.
Proactively identify fundraising opportunities and work with CI development staff to leverage existing, and explore new, sources of financial support.
Provide support to the senior leadership of MCS and the institution at large, in strategic planning, partner engagement, and program priorities around NCS.
Qualifications of the Senior Director – Climate Mitigation Science
Ph.D. in a relevant environmental, climate, or earth system science.
Demonstrated (8+ years) experience conducting research and/or practice in the field of climate science with a focus on interactions between the earth system and human activity at global scales (e.g., agriculture, industry), with a strong preference for experience across nature-based climate mitigation actions (e.g., REDD+, blue carbon, restoration/reforestation).
Excellent quantitative analytical skills working with and analyzing geospatial datasets. Experience working with remote-sensing data an advantage.
Robust understanding of the national and international policy landscapes relating to NCS (e.g., Paris Agreement, Nationally Determined Contributions, Bonn Challenge, etc.).
Team management experience, leading and mentoring a cross-disciplinary team of experts to achieve innovative and far-reaching goals.
Demonstrated experience securing funds from public and private sources for research and implementation of NCS/climate change mitigation programs and projects.
Demonstrated ability to think at the system-level, recognizing that climate mitigation is a multi-sectoral challenge, and using lateral thinking to solve complex problems.
Highly resourceful and able to work both independently and as part of a broader team of multidisciplinary experts, as necessary.
A willingness and aptitude to engage across cultures and to adapt rapidly to changing circumstances.
Excellent communication skills and ability to engage audiences across disparate fields of research and policy.
Highly organized with strong attention to detail.
Up to 25 percent travel nationally and internationally may be required.
Attributes of the Senior Director – Climate Mitigation Science
Champion for the mission. You understand the big picture, know what is important to stakeholders, and what best serves the mission.
Effective communicator. You are a superb writer, thinker, and listener. You can deliver complex information to a variety of audiences in a credible and presentable way.
Organizationally agile. You seek out and respect other viewpoints and you share your insights as well. You effectively work across divisions and organizations to build long-standing relationships.
Supreme relationship builder. You have a proven track record of getting results by building strong relationships and partnerships. You are self-confident and assertive, approachable and responsive. You listen to and respect the views of others.
Skilled project manager. Whether it’s something that requires a quick turnaround or a long-term commitment, you take full responsibility from start to finish. When you say you’ll get back to someone, you do. You bring order to competing priorities and keep things running smoothly.
Entrepreneurial. You understand the big picture and seize opportunities as they arise. You are intellectually curious and keep up-to-date with current sector news and research.
What’s Attractive to the Right Senior Director – Climate Mitigation Science Candidate?
Natural climate solutions can account for 30 percent of global climate mitigation. The time to act is now, the window is short, and CI is ready to support you. You will have freedom from the constraints found in many other organizations, so you can put your full time and attention on producing meaningful work, supported by talented colleagues with a broad range of skills. In our work, the funding follows the mission, not the other way around. You will be supported by a talented development team, freeing your time to focus on applied research.
We encourage your thought leadership, you are welcome to publish in peer-reviewed journals, give TED Talks, blog, or any combination of activies that drive impact and forward our mission.
You will enjoy working with leading scientific experts and our global partners.
We are a mission-driven, collaborative, entrepreneurial organization that offers workplace flexibility and professional development. You will find your colleagues to be friendly and pleasant, and the work to be intellectually stimulating.
We offer competitive compensation, based on qualifications and experience, with opportunities for career development. Benefits include health, dental, vision, disability, and life insurance coverage; and a retirement plan.
We expect that all employees will embrace the values of our organization.
Passion: We are inspired by nature and cherish the diversity of life in all of its forms.
Respect: We respect and trust each other, and we embrace our diversity of cultures, talents, and experiences.
Integrity: We act with integrity and are accountable for our actions.
Optimism: We are optimistic about the future of life on Earth and are confident that, with our partners, we will achieve unprecedented conservation results.
Courage: We tirelessly pursue our vision, taking bold action and persevering through challenges.
Teamwork: We work together, recognizing that openness, collaboration, and cooperation are fundamental to achieving a healthy and prosperous world for all.
To Apply for the Senior Director – Climate Mitigation Science position:
Simply email your resume to Ellen Greenwood at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Conservation Intl – Sr Dir Climate Mitigation Science #2019-2460 ASAE” as the subject of the email. Please include your resume as a Word or PDF attachment to the email and paste your cover letter in the body of your email.
Staffing Advisors has been engaged to find the right candidate and is committed to helping create a diverse work environment for our client. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. This position may require pre-employment screening potentially including a criminal background check, verification of academic credentials, licenses, certifications, and/or verification of work history.