Mar 07, 2018

Kravis Post-Doctoral Science Fellow in Social and Behavioral Science

  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • USA
Full time Applied Psychology Behavioral Communication Studies Communication/Persuasion Conformity Culture Decision Ethnic Identity Social Social Cognition

Job Description

An integral part of EDF's work is to understand how people's environmental concerns and priorities vary across demographic groups (e.g. political affiliation, ethnicity, income), and how these concerns can be activated in order to create civic engagement and support for policies at the local and national level.

Inspired by findings from previous work conducted in partnership with scholars at Cornell University and Pomona College, EDF's Office of Chief Scientist and Political Affairs team have been developing a pilot intervention to increase civic engagement on environmental issues among Latinos. As a group, US Latinos are among the most concerned about the environment, but they are also among the least likely to engage in political action around these issues. The pilot project will design targeted, empirically supported interventions to reduce or eliminate the gap and thus promote environmental action. The process of developing this pilot project is intended to be translatable to other populations showing a similar attitude-action gap. 

EDF seeks a post-doctoral fellow for 18 months to work on this project.  The post-doc fellow will hold meetings with community leaders, collect, code and transcribe qualitative data from focus groups and structured interviews, assist in the development of surveys and experiments, and co-author research reports for EDF and its academic partners and for peer-review publications.

In addition, the broader effort to understand environmental concerns and their link to collective engagement entails preparing a similar line of work on other demographic groups. Thus, the post-doc fellow will carry out literature reviews, surveys and experiments to understand the environmental concerns of other groups, such as lower income, rural, and politically conservative Americans.

This is a unique project for EDF in that it combines efforts to promote civic engagement, grassroots activism and rigorous social science. 


Tasks will include but are not limited to:

  • Participation in the design and development of experiments and studies that will test hypotheses on the mechanisms and processes relevant to the intervention.
  • Programming surveys and experiments in platforms such as Qualtrics and SurveyMonkey, or by programming them directly.
  • Conducting interviews, leading focus groups, and then synthesizing and coding the qualitative data obtained during these engagements.
  • Monitoring the collection of data from surveys and experiments.
  • Managing and analyzing data using SPSS, R, SAS, or Python.
  • Communicating findings to relevant EDF teams and partners through written reports and presentations.
  • Contributing to the authorship of peer-reviewed papers.
  • Researching relevant literature from psychology and communication, including but not limited to: framing effects, social desirability effects, intergroup-prejudice reduction, and stereotyping of environmentalists.
  • Synthesizing empirical and theoretical findings from research literatures in psychology and communication studies.


  • A recent PhD in psychology, sociology, communication studies, or a related discipline with a strong emphasis on data collection and experimentation. Experience with the design of behavioral interventions is a plus, but not a requirement.
  • Broad background in psychology and other behavioral sciences.
  • Experience in research in behavioral sciences (e.g. in sociology, communication studies, political science, psychology, anthropology, marketing).
  • Strong communication skills, including experience in presenting at scientific conferences, writing scientific publications, and communicating complex ideas to a general audience.
  • Strong computational and statistical skills. Familiarity with multivariate regression methods and mixed-models to test longitudinal and experimental effect.
  • Fluency in Spanish would be a plus, but not a requirement.
  • Must be well organized, motivated, and detail-oriented.
  • Ability to both work collaboratively in a team setting and to work independently, manage time efficiently, and collaborate effectively with diverse colleagues in a fast-paced environment.
  • Demonstrated initiative and problem solving skills.
  • Intellectual agility and comfort with working across disciplines and learning new skills.
  • 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.
  • Willingness to travel.


Environmental Defense Fund


Office of the Chief Scientist

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