American Institutes for Research

Research Director Climate Change

Job Location US-Remote | US-VA-Arlington
Job ID
Job Location
United States


AIR is currently seeking a Research Director Climate Change to lead business development and research and evaluation projects focused on resilience, climate change mitigation, and climate change adaptation efforts. The research director will primarily focus on research and evaluations in low-and middle-income countries. The position will involve looking for strategic research and evaluation opportunities in AIR’s country offices in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Mexico. In addition, it will include building strong relationships with the four program areas of the international development division (IDD): 1) food security, agriculture, and nutrition, 2) gender and social protection, 3) education, and 4) labor and workforce development as well as AIR’s pipeline partnership program, which includes collaborations with the University of Nairobi and the University of Dar es Salaam.  The research director is also expected to coordinate closely with program area leads from the human services and health division to look for climate change mitigation and adaptation opportunities in the United States.


AIR’s IDD strives to improve the quality of life in low-and middle-income countries by using rigorous research, evaluations, and data science to enhance food security, nutrition, gender equality, labor market and education outcomes for example by focusing on climate change adaptation and mitigation. We work across a wide range of topics including agriculture/food security /nutrition, global health, workforce development, early childhood development, education, refugees and migration, social protection, water/sanitation/infrastructure, and women's empowerment in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, Central and Latin America as well as the Middle East. The IDD generates policy-relevant evidence through rigorous research, evaluations, and data science; helps improve program design through continuous learning and adaptation; and works with local organizations and governments to build sustainable solutions based on evidence.


Candidates hired for the position may work remotely within the United States (U.S.) or from one of our U.S. office locations.


About AIR:


Established in 1946, with headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, AIR is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit institution that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance to solve some of the most urgent challenges in the U.S. and around the world. We advance evidence in the areas of education, health, the workforce, human services, and international development to create a better, more equitable world.



AIR’s commitment to diversity goes beyond legal compliance to its full integration in our strategy, operations, and work environment. At AIR, we define diversity broadly, considering everyone’s unique life and community experiences. We believe that embracing diverse perspectives, abilities/disabilities, racial/ethnic and cultural backgrounds, styles, ages, genders, gender identities and expressions, education backgrounds, and life stories drives innovation and employee engagement. Learn more about AIR's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy and hear from our staff by clicking here.


The responsibilities for the position include:

  • Conducting business development to expand a research and evaluation portfolio on climate change both globally and in the United States.
  • Lead proposal development on climate change for the US government, UN organizations, and foundations in close collaboration with a team of climate change and social science researchers.
  • Lead research, evaluation, and data science projects related to climate change as part of the expanded research and evaluation portfolio.
  • Closely collaborate and seek partnerships with researchers conducting impact evaluations in international development, health, education, and workforce development.
  • Lead a team of researchers working on resilience and climate change adaptation and mitigation, while collaborating closely with program area leads in IDD, the human services division, and the health division.
  • Oversee the management and analysis of large-scale data files for research.
  • Provide oversight on quantitative data collection, collation and analysis.
  • Organize and document analytic results and research procedures.
  • Prepare technical reports and journal articles and present findings to clients, professional associations, and the public.
  • Mentor researchers and research analysts by sharing approaches to solving concrete problems and provide feedback on the work of others.
  • Serve as client contact for expertise on resilience and climate change.


Education, Knowledge, and Experience:

  • PhD or MSc in climate science, environmental science, or agricultural economics or other relevant degree.
  • A minimum of 7 years of experience for PhD or a minimum of 11 years of experience for MSc in leading proposals for contracts and grants for research on climate change, agriculture, and environmental topics, preferably for the US government, foundations, and UN organizations.
  • Experience leading research and evaluations related to climate change, agriculture, and the environment globally and preferably also in the United States.
  • Knowledge of the major policy recommendations discussed as part of the IPCC.
  • Experience leading and mentoring junior staff.
  • Knowledge and experience conducting impact evaluations and/or systematic reviews of climate-smart agriculture and other climate change related interventions, both globally and in the United States is preferred but not required.
  • Knowledge of using Python and R for climate change modeling is preferred but not required.
  • Experience leading projects for USAID is preferred but not required.



  • Demonstrated ability to build and maintain partnerships and productive working relationships with a wide variety of stakeholders, including clients, governments at various levels, partnering INGOs and NGOs; ability to facilitate for locally informed and driven programming. 
  • Good communication skills with the ability to work effectively with others in a virtual work environment.
  • Comfortable working independently and as a member of a team with individuals at all levels and from diverse backgrounds.
  • Excellent organizational and planning skills to meet quality standards under strict deadlines.





All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without discrimination on the basis of age, race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, national origin, protected veteran status, or disability.


AIR adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo reference and background checks.


AIR’s Total Rewards Program, is designed to reward our staff competitively and motivate them to achieve our critical mission. This position offers an anticipated annual salary of $160,000.00 to $180,000.00. Salary offers are made based on internal equity within the institution and external equity with competitive markets. Please note this is the annual salary range for candidates that are based in the United States.


AIR maintains a drug-free work environment.


#LI-MP1 #LI-Remote


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