2014 Lorry I. Lokey/Stanford University 1 Year Fellowship

With world attention focused on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. This leading green group, with programs from Boston to Beijing, has tripled in size over the past decade by focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches. You can be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and a focus on results are a way of life.

The Lorry I. Lokey/Stanford University Fellowship at EDF will support the work of one current graduate student or recent graduate of Stanford University’s graduate programs in the natural or social sciences, the School of Engineering, or the Graduate School of Business. Each year one fellowship position is available with EDF programs in Oceans; Land, Water & Wildlife; Climate & Air; or Health Sciences. The fellowship offers a unique opportunity to work directly with experts in science, law, economics, and other disciplines to help solve pressing environmental problems. Compensation and full benefits support the fellow. The fellow will be responsible for any relocation costs. The fellowship begins during the summer and lasts one year. The position is made possible through an endowed fund established by Stanford alumnus Lorry I. Lokey ‘49. While EDF is presenting 3 projects for consideration, only one Lokey Fellow will be selected. Please see below for a description of each project and its location. Applications will be considered for all 3 projects unless indicated in your application materials.

The 2014 Lorry I. Lokey/EDF Fellow will start during September/October 2014.

Project #1 – Managing Complex Ecosystems in a Data Poor World (Oceans Program)
Location: San Francisco, CA

The mission of the Research and Development Team is to ensure that EDF’s Oceans Program is using the best possible science and conservation tools to transform fisheries and conserve marine ecosystems.  We offer science advice to EDF regional and international staff as well as to influential institutions and governments, conduct research to solve implementation problems, and develop new policy approaches, analytical tools, and implementation strategies.  The Research and Development Team is an excellent incubator of creative solutions to challenging problems -- solutions that move from research to the real world where they result in better outcomes for both people and ecosystems.  This Lokey Fellowship will support work that is part of a larger effort called, The Ocean Tipping Points project.  A multidisciplinary team of scientists from EDF, Stanford University, UC Santa Barbara, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is working to find tipping points in a variety of ocean ecosystems, identify attributes that affect the resilience of these ecosystems, identify the most important drivers of ecosystem state change, and find “early warning indicators.  

The Lokey Fellowship would allow us to do the work that will connect this research to the generation of better conservation outcomes on the water.  Once a manager and resource users know that the ecosystem they are managing or dependent on has a tipping point, what do they do?  How can this science be used to ensure that coral reefs become healthier and provide more ecosystem services in support of human welfare?  To figure this out, they need targets (a combination of science and values), control rules for drivers of ecosystem state change, analyses of the tradeoffs between revenue generation/livelihoods and fish recovery under different policy options, and rigorous testing of these policy options using simulation modeling.  This work will be crucial for the integration of the research we have already conducted showing strong tipping points in coral reef ecosystems in response to fishing pressure into EDF fishery improvement projects in coral reef ecosystems (Cuba, Belize, Indonesia, Philippines), which could become some of the first real implementations of fishery based ecosystem management. Yet neither the Ocean Tipping Points project nor EDF have the capacity to carry out this work.

The Lokey Fellows benefit greatly from working with academic, government, and NGO scientists dedicated to finding workable solutions to challenging environmental problems.  They learn to frame research questions that are likely to lead to useful results, and learn how to carry out research even when data are quite limited (but the demand for information is great and the stakes are high).  And often they publish the results of their research with us, establishing credentials and networks in the field of applied conservation science.  Lokey Fellows who work with the Research and Development Team develop their own primary research projects with the director of Research and Development, allowing Fellows to develop independent research skills while being mentored. Fellows are also expected to work with other team members on joint research efforts, and to handle queries and problems arising from regional implementation projects -- helping them to develop time management skills and exposing them to a large variety of science-to-action problems.  The Fellowship may involve travel to collect data or participate in field training workshops in countries where EDF is engaged (the US, EU, Mexico, Belize, Cuba, Indonesia, and the Philippines), broadening their experience with other cultures. The successful applicant will be in a graduate program or have a MS or PhD in marine ecology, marine resource management, or a related discipline; have strong analytical skills (quantitative statistical analysis and modelling skills); and be able to work with a research team in a work environment that sometimes demands quick turnaround of high quality work.

Project #2 – Enhancing the Climate Performance of Biofuels ( International Climate/Biofuels Program)
Location: New York, NY; or Washington, DC

EDF seeks to get the world on a path to climate safety — “turning the corner” on global greenhouse gases (GHGs) and putting emissions onto a downward trajectory by the end of this decade.  Reducing fossil fuel combustion and curtailing tropical deforestation are both crucial in doing so.  The two intersect around a key issue:  biofuels.  Done right, biofuels can help decrease overall GHG emissions from the transportation sector – but done wrong, they can fail to reduce or even increase them,by prompting conversion of forests into agricultural lands.   Correctly evaluating and accounting for the overall climate impacts of biofuels is thus essential. The aviation sector is focusing considerable attention on biofuels as a major strategy for addressing its GHG emissions, given the paucity of other alternatives to petroleum fuels.  A chief forum is the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO, the inter-governmental body charged with setting global standards for aviation), which is now developing an aviation biofuels standard. The carbon-accounting provisions in that standard can set a crucial precedent that applies well beyond ICAO, including to other transportation sectors.  The issue is time-critical because ICAO is simultaneously moving ahead to develop, for adoption by 2016, a program to would limit future growth in international aviation emissions – thus stimulating the market for aviation biofuels.  The goal of this Lokey project is enabling EDF to help secure an effective and workable aviation biofuels standard that reflects a strong scientific understanding of the net climate impacts of biofuels, and to engage on similar bioenergy issues in other contexts.   Working closely with EDF colleagues and outside experts, the Fellow will gather and review the relevant scientific literature, develop compelling analyses, and engage with ICAO workgroup members and other decision makers to secure agreement on science-based biofuels standards. The successful applicant will have a Master’s degree, Ph.D., or significant graduate work in environmental science, economics or a related field, and be committed to helping the world avoid catastrophic climate change.

Project #3 – When Used as Directed – Is it Really Safe? (Corporate Partnerships/Health Programs)
Location: Bentonville, AR; or Washington, DC

The EDF Corporate Partnerships Program (CPP) began partnering with Walmart on sustainability in 2005 and opened an office near the retailer’s Northwest Arkansas headquarters in 2007. Our vision is to create with our partners a consumer model that sustains earth’s systems critical to life. Oftentimes, we can demonstrate proof-of-concept for legislation on EDF’s policy agenda, showing Congress and the corporate community that desired legislative changes can have positive business and community outcomes. The team’s primary approach has been to leverage Walmart’s scale and clout with suppliers to change the way everyday products are designed, produced, sold, used, and disposed of, reducing a product’s impact throughout its lifecycle. A longstanding target has been hazardous chemicals in home and personal care products, a problem exacerbated by the inadequacies of the federal Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA). EDF’s Health Program, long an advocate for TSCA reform, joined with CPP several years ago to persuade Walmart that eliminating hazardous ingredients from consumer products was in the best interest of the company and its customers. In September 2013, Walmart made a public commitment to begin doing just that, calling for reduction, restriction, and elimination of some 10 chemicals of concern in health and personal care products sold at Walmart. The push back from the chemical industry and product suppliers regarding reformulation has been fierce. Companies claim that all their products are safe when used as directed, that risk assessments have shown inherent ingredient toxicity is irrelevant at the level used in products on the shelf. The goal of this Lokey project is two-fold: (1) answer the questions: “Is this true? Do current product and ingredient testing protocols accurately reflect both the way people use a product and manage the inherent risk—or lack thereof—to the user?” and (2) in light of the answer, assess strategies in which EDF has engaged to drive improvements in product chemistries and offer recommendations as to how to do this more effectively. It is not apparent that existing product testing methods actually reflect real consumer use patterns, which means consumer exposure to ingredients can be misrepresented. Nor is it clear that tried and true risk assessment protocols reflect emerging science regarding such issues as epigenetics or endocrine disruption, which challenge the traditional concept of “the dose makes the poison.” The prospective fellow will work with members of the EDF CPP and Health teams to determine what is currently happening in consumer product testing, how trustworthy test results are, and how EDF’s tactics and strategies should reflect those realities. The fellow will have access to subject matter experts within and external to EDF, including scientists, consultants, academics, and product manufacturers and other private sector representatives. The successful fellow will have a Master’s degree, Ph.D., or significant graduate work in product design, toxicology, political science, or other relevant field.

Application Process
: Applicants must submit: Cover letter indicating interest in a specific project, if so desired, resume and writing sample (no more than 5 pages).   

Students who do not have their degree conferred by the start date of the Lokey Fellowship must obtain permission from their departments for any required leave of absence and must have written documentation of such permission.


Due to the volume of employment applications and queries received, EDF is unable to respond to each application individually. Applicants will be contacted directly if selected as a candidate.

Environmental Defense Fund is an Equal
Opportunity Employer

February 26, 2014
Various, United States