Research Associate | Philanthropic Services Practice Area

Job Location

San Francisco, CA


Published By

Publisher Name

Type of Job



Commensurate with Experience

Published Date

Dec 8, 2020

About the job

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CEA Consulting is an environmental consultancy based in San Francisco, CA. For more than 35 years, CEA has worked at the intersection of markets, business practices, public policies, and philanthropic, non-profit, corporate, and impact investment strategies to achieve positive outcomes for the environment. Our work is guided by a deep knowledge of the scientific, financial/economic, cultural, and sociopolitical underpinnings of our most pressing environmental problems.

CEA’s Philanthropic Practice Area is a growing, collaborative team of sixteen consultants who support environmental foundations and nonprofits, as well as sustainability-oriented businesses and impact investors. We pride ourselves on being client oriented, insightful, humble, and responsive. The majority of CEA’s work is for return clients, whom we’ve had the pleasure of working with for many years. Our work covers a variety of environmental topics including marine conservation, climate change, climate resilience, energy policy, sustainable agriculture, land use and conservation, freshwater management, transportation, wildlife protection, pollution, environmental justice, and urban sustainability. Many of our projects are international in scope. With respect to our services, our main functions include:

· Program Design and Strategy Development

· Programmatic Research, Analysis, and Modeling

· Evaluation and Learning

· Facilitation, Collaboration, and Grantee Convening

· Project Incubation, Nonprofit Business Planning, Organizational Development, and Staffing Support

As a small firm of 30 employees, we operate as a tight-knit team. We strive to create a work environment that is collaborative, low-ego, and inclusive and where all consultants are supported in doing the work they are most passionate about, doing their best work, and bringing their whole selves to work. We believe that a wide array of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences promote innovation and make our team more creative, flexible and productive. For a more in-depth description of our services and examples of past work, please see our website:

About the Role

CEA is looking for a Research Associate to support the firm’s Philanthropic Services Practice Area. The successful applicant will be support day-to-day management of complex consulting engagements for clients, including large environmentally-focused foundations, NGOs, impact investors, and bilateral and multilateral agencies.

Our work environment is collaborative, intensive, and likely to require travel (when deemed safe). The position requires intellectual rigor, excellent interpersonal skills, independence, attention to detail, and a passion for environmental issues. This exciting opportunity will provide opportunities for interaction with leaders in the environmental field and a wide range of important environmental issues.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

· Support the execution of projects in collaboration with team members.

· Support project design and work planning.

· Formulate and test hypotheses via research, modeling, expert interviews, and data analyses.

· Conduct research and analysis independently.

· Participate in group problem solving and brainstorming with project teams.

· Liaise and communicate with clients.

· Develop and communicate recommendations via clear and effective deliverables (e.g., reports, presentations, briefs).

· Ensure quality control of outgoing work products and correspondence.

· Work effectively and efficiently with minimal supervision and proactively engage with project managers.

· Participate in a growing phase for CEA as it transitions to an organization that is more diverse, inclusive, and equitable.

About You

You are a self-starter and find joy and fulfillment from a job well done. You can deliver your work on time, support your team mates, and help to create a collegial, inclusive, and healthy work environment. You are intellectually curious. You can work effectively in teams as well as independently. You are coachable and are excited to continue to grow your knowledge base and skillset.

While each consultant at CEA brings a different set of skills and experiences to their work, desired skills and experiences include the following.

· A Bachelor’s degree and up to three years of work experience.

· Degrees and/or work experiences that include training in research methods (quantitative and/or qualitative) and/or environmental studies/natural sciences are preferred.

· We are open to candidates with a range of past professional experiences. Many of our current consultants have past experience in environmental non-profits, academia, finance/impact investing, engineering, government agencies, foundations, and think tanks.

· Proficiency in Excel and/or other analytical software (e.g., R, STATA, GIS, Tableau)

· Proficiency in qualitative research methods (e.g., interviews, expert consultation, case studies) and analytical tools (e.g., QDAS)

· Ability to work, multitask, and prioritize in order to meet deadlines and respond and adapt to changing client needs.

· Excellent written and verbal communication skills.

· Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to effectively communicate across internal teams and with external stakeholders.

· Ability to handle sensitive matters with discretion and interact with a wide range of stakeholders (e.g., scientists, policy makers, advocates, and industry representatives) with diplomacy and enthusiasm.

· A curious, pragmatic, and strategic mind.

· Content knowledge and professional interest in fisheries and their communities or ocean conservation preferred. Other content knowledge that will support CEA’s work include: climate change, climate resilience, land preservation, sustainable agriculture, freshwater management, forestry, environmental justice, and/or air quality.

· Professional proficiency in a foreign language and demonstrated cultural competency.

Work Location

At this time, due to state and local restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, CEA’s San Francisco office is closed, and staff are working remotely. This position will be based in CEA’s San Francisco office once it reopens.

Compensation and Benefits

CEA offers a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience and an excellent benefits package.

To Apply

To be considered for this position, interested candidates should go to our job board - - click the Research Associate Position and click "Apply to this Job" to submit a resume, cover letter, and salary requirements through CEA’s job portal. Please direct all applications and inquiries to CEA Recruiting. This position will remain open until filled.

CEA is an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to our legal and ethical obligations to protect job applicants and employees from employment discrimination, harassment, and unfair treatment due to race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation), age, disability, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, military status, or veteran status. For more information on your protections under Federal and State of California law, click hereand here.