Summer 2014 Cornell Iscol Intern: Research and Development, Oceans
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 goal of the Oceans Program is to catalyze irreversible momentum toward global fisheries reform. To that end, we have engaged in the transformation of fisheries in the US and have expanded our work into Mexico, Belize, Cuba, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Currently, we are developing a strategic plan to replicate successful models developed in these and other key countries and regions throughout the world.
Research and Development Team
The Research and Development Team is charged with supporting fisheries management projects and catch share implementation by EDF Oceans Program staff in the US and internationally with the best available science. The Team is also charged with identifying emerging issues in marine conservation and developing breakthrough solutions. To achieve these goals, the Team conducts research, analyzes data, writes scientific papers and white papers, and provides briefings and workshops.
The intern would be responsible for a primary project, as well as for working on short-turnaround group projects as part of the Research and Development Team. The primary project will be developed by the intern in collaboration with the Director of Research and Development based on a match between the intern’s skills, interests, and goals with EDF research priorities. Currently, these priorities are:
1. Ocean Tipping Points project – a team of scientists from EDF, UC Santa Barbara, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Stanford University, and NOAA are identifying non-linear thresholds between marine ecosystem states and policy tools to help prevent transitions from desirable states that produce high levels of ecosystem services to less desirable states. The intern could assist with literature review and meta-analysis of factors that influence the uptake and replication of new scientific management regimes.
2. Choices for Change – this project focuses on identifying the psychological, neurological, and social drivers of human decision making and behavior related to the conservation of natural resources and ecosystems in order to better inform conservation strategy and policy making. The intern could assist with the initial data extraction and input into a new research database, and with an analysis of the robustness of the findings (i.e., replicability, generalizability).
3. Data Limited Stock Analysis and Management – this project supports field staff engaged in fisheries reform in data-limited and governance –poor contexts (e.g., in certain developing countries) by developing new analytical tools that can provide scientific guidance for management in these contexts and by training staff and partners in the use of these tools. Without such tools, many of these fisheries would remain unassessed, unmanaged, and at high risk of overfishing and collapse. The intern could assist with the preparation of stock vulnerability assessments, implementation of our new Comprehensive Assessment of Risks to Ecosystems (CARE), length-based stock analyses, and preparation of training materials.
4. Global Fisheries Strategy – this project supports the development of EDF’s global fisheries strategy with background research to characterize fisheries, ecosystems, governance systems, etc in other countries so that high priority targets wherein success is likely to have a large regional impact can be chosen for the deployment of limited resources. The intern would conduct literature reviews, prepare summary tables, and write up the results. Some data analysis may also be required.
5. Staff Queries – the Research and Development Team fields many queries from field staff concerning the scientific aspects of fisheries reform and ocean conservation. Responses from Team members range from a quick email to one page concept papers to full literature reviews and summaries relevant to the issue.
Responsibilities – participate in intake interview to identify match between skills, interests, aspirations to EDF priority projects and to choose primary research project for intern; develop workplan; complete milestones in workplan; respond to 2-3 staff queries at the request of the Director of Research and Development; time management; complete deliverables committed to in the project workplan.
Tasks – literature review, synthesis of information from literature, data extraction from literature and databases, database population (for certain projects), data analysis (for certain projects), writing, oral presentations (for certain projects), exit interview.
Other duties – participate in bi-weekly team meetings; participate in Ocean Program videoconferences; participate in EDFSF staff meetings; assist with workshops, meetings, and trainings.
Outcomes - report on the primary project (often, these result in manuscripts for submission to peer-reviewed journals); short memos and papers in response to staff queries.
Contribution to EDF mission and work – the intern adds significantly to the Ocean Programs scientific capacity, especially in the realm of literature review and data analysis, because Ocean Program scientists must spend the vast majority of their time implementing fishery projects rather than on research. This research function is critically important to EDF’s work as a science-based conservation organization – science allows EDF to identify the highest priority issues to work on, as well as the best tools to work on them with.
Cross-cutting engagement - several of the potential intern projects have high potential for engagement with other programs and projects, especially the Choices for Change project. The aim of this project is to development principles and tactics that can be deployed across all EDF programs to make conservation strategies and policies more responsive to the most important drivers of decision making and behavior, and thus more effective.
- Eligible students must have completed two to three years towards an undergraduate Cornell degree, and have an academic or career related interest in sustainability
Academic training in marine biology, marine ecology, marine resource economics, marine policy, or related field
- Good quantitative skills (statistics, mathematics, databases)
- Independent research ability and experience
- Ability to gather, analyze and synthesize data from diverse array of sources
- Excellent communication skills
- Ability to work in a team setting
San Francisco, CA
10 weeks during the summer
Full-time (35 hours/week)
PaidDue 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 EmployerApply