Post-Doctoral Science Fellow, Permian Basin

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’s Office of the Chief Scientist seeks a recent Ph.D. recipient with proven research, analysis, and writing skills to work collaboratively with EDF and external scientists on a twelve-month science and advocacy campaign in the Permian Basin to quantify methane emissions from oil and gas (O&G) infrastructure and communicate results through both rapid, public release of data and submission of peer-reviewed publications.  


Project Background

EDF’s goals include reducing the negative climate impacts of oil and gas development by supporting science and policies to quantify and mitigate emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas and primary constituent of natural gas.  Our series of sixteen studies on U.S. O&G supply chain methane emissions have advanced knowledge in the field and resulted in the publication of 38 peer-reviewed papers, but lack data from the Permian Basin in west Texas and southeast New Mexico, one of world’s most productive and fastest developing O&G basins. EDF is partnering with several groups to quantify methane emissions in the basin at different spatial scales with multiple approaches including aerial mass balance flights, EPA Other Test Method 33A, and atmospheric transport modeling of tower-based data.  Preliminary data including the location of high emitting sources will be quality assured and published on a public website as quickly as possible to facilitate mitigation. Data also will be incorporated into research manuscripts for submission to peer-reviewed journals.

Overall Function

The Post-Doctoral Science Fellow, Permian Basin will work on quantifying methane emissions from the Permian Basin and derive deliverables from the data. The deliverables will be in the form of public release of data as well as peer-reviewed publications. The Fellow will work with EDF’s Office of the Chief Scientist on projects the Oil & Gas field with a special focus on the Permian Basin Campaign.

Key Responsibilities

  • Play a lead role in the preparation of scientific papers and reports/fact sheets/blog posts for general audiences, including publication of least one peer-reviewed paper as lead author;
  • Contribute to the development of Permian Campaign measurement protocols and sampling plans for collaborating scientists to collect data;
  • Manage the quality assurance and transfer of data from field teams to our website developer
  • Maintain and update geospatial data layers such as O&G infrastructure;
  • Perform geospatial and statistical analyses to address science and policy questions;
  • Answer questions about the project and data from various stakeholders including the public and O&G operators;
  • Present scientific and policy-relevant results from this work at major conferences;
  • Provide scientific support to other EDF O&G emissions project efforts on an as-needed basis.


  • A recent Ph.D. in atmospheric science, statistics, or a related field;
  • Knowledge about oil and gas industry infrastructure, operations and methane emissions;
  • Strong quantitative analysis skills and knowledge in statistics; preference for proficiency in Python or a similar language allowing analysis of large data sets.
  • Proficiency in geospatial analyses with ArcGIS or other software;
  • Experience in performing rigorous analysis with short deadlines in support of highly visible work;
  • The ability to communicate complex ideas in writing and orally to multiple stakeholders with different levels of expertise, including the public and O&G operators.
  • An interest and commitment to solving environmental problems through collaborative projects based on rigorous science and solutions-focused advocacy.
  • Ability to travel at least 10% of the time, especially for candidates not near an EDF office.


This is an 18-month Fellowship starting late Spring of 2020. 


This is a remote Fellowship, but preference is for the Fellow to be based out of Austin, TX, or San Francisco, CA.

Application Materials

To apply to this Fellowship, please attach a resume, cover letter, a sample peer-reviewed paper or other writing samples to your application.

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.