Senior Air Quality Scientist

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 630 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.

Senior Air Quality Scientist

Austin, TX (flexible for other EDF offices)


Term: This is a 2-year position.  Upon conclusion of the term, the term may be renewed based on funding and programmatic need.


Overall Function


The Senior Air Quality Scientist will be a core member of an interdisciplinary team working to demonstrate and scale hyperlocal air quality assessments patterned on the work of EDF and partners using Google Street View cars (See Apte et al. 2017, ES&T). The Senior Air Quality Scientist will provide scientific leadership and contribute to the team’s goal of accelerating the adoption and impact of air pollution mitigation strategies in diverse geographies by refining hyperlocal data collection, analysis and presentation approaches. A priority is the integration of measurements with air quality models or other methods to enable attribution of fine-scale air pollution enhancements to specific sources. This work is expected to result in scientific publications, as well as “in-house” analyses for use by other staff and written materials aimed at policy makers, journalists, and the public at large.


The Senior Air Quality Scientist will report to the Associate Chief Scientist and be based in Austin, Texas, although the location is negotiable.


Key Responsibilities

  • Provide expert scientific guidance to EDF’s air quality research portfolio and program/executive-level strategic decisions
  • Analyze and interpret hyperlocal air pollution data to characterize emission sources that give rise to fine-scale air pollution hotspots (source attribution)
  • Develop quantitative metrics that enable characterization of fine-scale air pollution data across communities
  • Recommend optimal combinations of mobile and stationary monitoring to support hyperlocal air quality insights
  • Coordinate research projects conducted by other organizations in collaboration with EDF (e.g. universities and outside contractors)
  • Lead efforts to convene worldwide experts to facilitate discussions of science advancements and emerging issues related to air quality science
  • Synthesize scientific results and insights from recent literature and communicate that information to a multi-disciplinary team, including EDF scientists, policy experts, and corporate and community partnership specialists, as well as external partners
  • Publish papers for publication in peer-reviewed journals, and write reports/fact sheets/blog posts for general audiences on the topic of focus
  • Represent EDF externally, including scientific conferences and workshops, meetings with community groups and advocacy organizations, policy makers, and the media
  • Support EDF’s development team, including communicating with donors and foundations and writing proposals to secure funding
  • Manage additional staff



  • Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science or a relevant specialty in the natural sciences, engineering, or environmental studies
  • Five to ten years or more work experience in policy-relevant air quality research
  • Interest in relating scientific research to real-world policy and in bridging the worlds of advocacy and academia
  • A passion for environmental protection, a commitment to rigorous analysis, creativity (and a dose of pragmatism) in the real-world application of scientific theory to practice, and knowledge of relevant environmental policy issues
  • Conduct independent research and publish regularly in peer-review literature
  • Extensive contacts within scientific community
  • Ability to work at the cutting-edge of air quality science and remain up-to-date with scientific literature
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to convey scientific concepts to non-scientists
  • Ability to collaborate effectively with diverse colleagues in a fast-paced environment
  • Intellectual agility and comfort with working across disciplines and learning new skills (on-the-job training will be provided to familiarize the successful candidate with media and policy skills and issues)
  • Self-direction, independence of mind, and efficient time management
  • Strong quantitative skills (statistical analysis, modeling, spatial analysis)
  • Exceptional personal organization and attention to detail
  • Willingness to travel.




This position will be located in the Austin, TX office or another agreed upon EDF office.

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.