Senior Research Analyst, Ecosystems

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 Ecosystems program envisions resilient land and water systems that allow nature and a growing human population to prosper in a changing climate. This position will support scientists on the Ecosystems Working Lands team, which advances resilient and productive farm, ranch and forest landscapes, ensuring that the science (natural and social sciences) that is the backbone for all EDF policy positions is based on the best available information. 

Overall Function

The Senior Research Analyst will direct research and analysis on technical topics related to land use and land management and take a leadership role in projects. S/he will report to the Data and Science team within Ecosystems Working Lands. This is a one-year term position, based in Raleigh, North Carolina.  

Key Responsibilities

  • Establish scientific evidence base for EDF Working Lands advocacy and programs, with a focus on outcomes;
    • Conduct a review of the current state of the science connecting natural infrastructure in agricultural landscapes to flood mitigation and water quality;
    • Analyze datasets to establish the relationship between changes in land management and environmental outcomes;
    • Assist in convening experts and stakeholders to translate science into effective policy;
  • Communicate technical subject matter effectively, distilling complex ideas into key points;
  • Present professional material in formal and informal presentations;
  • Regularly develop and conduct group meetings and prepare technical and professional documentation;
  • Communicate orally and in writing daily with internal and external stakeholders, partners, and consultants;
  • Take charge of project results under broad, outcome-based direction from supervisor;
  • Display high level of independent analysis and problem-solving:
    • Translate program needs into actionable items (like research) to facilitate decision-making, information sharing, synergy identification, and collaboration;
    • Independently troubleshoot routine problems;
  • As appropriate, direct research teams of interns, analysts, or external partners to complete timely research, literature reviews, and analysis on complex, technical topics for EDF’s Ecosystems Program;
  • Write white papers, scientific journal articles, op-ed pieces, and blogs, when appropriate, to translate research for broader audiences and foster technical/topic expertise;
  • Serve as science representative to ensure EDF policy, legal positions, and communications are based on the best available science;
  • In conjunction with development staff, prepare funding proposals, grants, and interim reports on a variety of topics, when appropriate;
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Master’s degree in environmental or agricultural science or a related field with at least 2 years of related work experience, or Bachelor’s degree and at least 4 years of experience;
  • Demonstrated understanding of landscape, water, and nutrient cycling processes in agricultural regions;
  • Strong computer proficiency, including experience with Excel, Word, and PowerPoint; experience with standard statistical packages (SPSS/Stata/R); data visualization; and GIS preferred;
  • Demonstrated research and organizational skills;
    • Ability to collect, manipulate, analyze, and interpret scientific data;
    • Ability to apply knowledge to help solve complex problems requiring independent thinking;
  • Strong written and oral communication skills;
    • Ability to effectively communicate scientific/economic information in an advocacy setting;
    • Ability to present professional material to small groups orally and in formal presentations;
  • Demonstrated intellectual leadership and independent thought;
  • Demonstrated ability to recommend and determine innovative approaches to completing projects and managing processes where precedents are not always available
  • Ability to work with colleagues and partners of varied backgrounds and experience;
  • High degree of diplomacy to influence and manage key stakeholders and teams;
  • Ability to support a multi-disciplinary team, using independent judgment required to plan, prioritize, and organize diversified workload;
  • Affinity for a fast-paced work environment


  • Please include a cover letter, CV/resume, and a writing sample as part of 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.