High Meadows Postdoc Fellow, Atmospheric Science

With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 700 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and results are a way of life.


EDF envisions a world in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected to the environmental challenges we face and are engaged in creating durable, equitable solutions. We seek talented candidates who share the Core Values that allow us to experiment courageously in our work while staying true to who we’ve been as an organization for 50 years. Are you a results oriented individual who is passionate about creating environmental solutions that make a lasting difference in the world? Do you respect diverse perspectives, talents and contributions? Do you value innovation and enjoy designing and using a wide range of problem-solving tools? Do you embrace environmental goals with a sense of optimism while taking into account real-world dynamics? If you have integrity and a strong desire to uphold a commitment to science, rigorous analysis, intellectual honesty and ethical action, then EDF is the place for you.

EDF seeks a 2-year post-doctoral fellow to join an interdisciplinary team working to develop and disseminate tools for conducting “hyperlocal” air quality assessments patterned on the work of EDF and partners using Google Street View cars or dense stationary monitoring networks. In the last four years, EDF has convened partnerships to collect and analyze datasets in the San Francisco Bay Area, Houston, London and Salt Lake City. We just initiated work on a project to derive hyperlocal insights from similar measurements in Chinese cities. We are turning our attention to integrating the learning from these projects and to developing easily implementable analysis and visualization tools to catalyze similar efforts in other cities around the world. We also seek to enable widespread access to and use of similar datasets through an open data platform, the Air Quality Data Commons

Program Overview

The Office of Chief Scientist is the nexus of science at EDF, ensuring that the science that is the backbone for EDF policy positions is based on the best available information. To be most effective in this role the Office of Chief Scientist provides programmatic support for all scientists at EDF and fosters relationships with scientists outside the organization.

The 2-year fellowship can begin immediately. The selected candidate will belong to a cohort of EDF post-docs that receive professional development training through mentoring and workshops, with an emphasis on sustainability leadership.

Overall Function

Reporting to the Associate Chief Scientist, the post-doctoral fellow will work at the interface of science and policy with EDF’s existing team of scientists, health and policy experts, and external research collaborators to investigate hyperlocal air pollution datasets and help translate this new data into future actions to reduce air pollution to improve health.

Key Responsibilities

Responsibilities of this Fellow will include but are not limited to:

  • Analyze and interpret hyperlocal air pollution data to identify and characterize emission sources that give rise to fine-scale air pollution hotspots.
  • Develop quantitative metrics that enable comparison of fine-scale air pollution data across communities.
  • Recommend sampling strategies to optimally characterize community air quality while identifying hot spots.
  • Create automated algorithms to visually present spatially explicit measurements and quantify the influence of hot spots on ambient exposures. 
  • Evaluate attributes of traffic activity datasets and conduct integrative analyses with air quality datasets.
  • Become familiar with and keep up-to-date on the relevant scientific and policy literature and synthesize and disseminate that information for EDF scientists and specialists in environmental policy and law.  
  • Draft papers for publication in peer-reviewed journals, and reports/fact sheets/blog posts for general audiences on the topic of focus where appropriate.
  • The fellow is encouraged to pursue projects and collaborations in her/his own areas of interest.
  • This position may require some work-related travel.


  • A recent Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science, or a relevant specialty in the natural sciences, engineering, or environmental studies.
  • Experience conducting air quality research in China and fluency (reading, writing and speaking) in Mandarin Chinese is a plus but not required, as the Fellow will be working with Chinese researchers and EDF’s Beijing team.
  • A track record of relevant research including peer-reviewed publications and presentations at scientific conferences.
  • Demonstrated excellence in rigorous scientific analyses, and in oral and written communication of scientific concepts to general audiences.
  • Intellectual agility and comfort working in an inter-disciplinary setting and learning new skills (on-the-job training will be provided to familiarize the successful candidate with media and policy skills and issues).
  • Ability to work independently in a fast-paced environment, as well as to collaborate effectively with diverse colleagues.
  • A passion for environmental protection.
  • Interest in interpreting research findings for policy applications.
  • Strong quantitative skills (statistical analysis, modeling, spatial analysis) with proficiency in one or more of the following: statistical software (e.g. “R”), SQL databases (e.g. PostgreSQL, Google BigQuery) and SQL scripting, JavaScript programming, and manipulation of spatial data sets using Python scripting (e.g. arcpy or open source equivalent).
  • Willingness to travel internationally and work across different time zones.


The preferred location for this position is Austin, TX, but other EDF offices may be considered. 


This is a 2-year Fellowship.

Application Materials

To apply to this position, please attach a resume, and a cover letter.

Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant's qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.