Apr 11, 2018

Kravis Post-Doctoral Science Fellow in Social and Behavioral Science

  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • New York, NY, USA
Postdoc Applied Psychology Communication Studies Consumer Research Postdoctoral Prejudice Public Policy Research Social Social Justice Sociology

Job Description

With world attention focused on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. This leading green group, with programs from Boston to Beijing, has tripled in size over the past decade by focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches. You can be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and a focus on results are a way of life.

The Office of Chief Scientist (OCS) is the nexus of science at EDF, ensuring that the natural and social science that is the backbone for all EDF policy positions is based on the best available information. To be most effective in this role, OCS provides programmatic support for all scientists at EDF and fosters relationships with scientists outside the organization. The OCS team works on projects across all of EDF's programs, translating basic and applied research into actionable ideas for colleagues who are designing programs and projects.




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.



Look for the job posting at https://www.edf.org/jobs/kravis-post-doc-fellow-social-sciences

Interested applicants should submit:

  • A cover letter that addresses how the applicant meets the requirements listed above.
  • A writing sample (a publication or manuscript).
  • A list of relevant coursework.
  • The contact information for three references.


Applications will be considered as they arrive.  Applying by April 30th, 2018 is recommended.

Due to the volume of employment applications and queries received, EDF is unable to respond to each application individually. Applicants will be contacted directly if selected as a candidate.

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.


Environmental Defense Fund


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