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We've got a new name! Read the announcement. (A new website is under development.)

Director, Energy & Climate Policy

Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability* is searching for a recognized leader in energy and climate policy.  The program’s work is global in scope, but the ideal candidate’s own area of expertise will be in domestic U.S. federal and state energy and climate policy to complement the expertise in the rest of the institute and university. The director will lead the Energy & Climate Policy program and strategically implement research that engages relevant decision makers and partners in the public and private sectors and non-governmental organizations.  The work will produce research, analysis, and expert convenings on energy policy and environmental/climate policy affecting the energy sector, with particular emphasis on policy related to energy and decarbonization transitions. The director will also play a leadership role across campus, collaborating closely with Duke faculty, staff, and students in the area of climate change and energy decarbonization.

*The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions has merged with the Duke University Energy Initiative to create a new organization: the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability. Working closely with Duke University schools and other units, the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability advances the university’s mission to build a more sustainable world by developing transformative educational experiences; galvanizing and conducting impactful research; and engaging with key decision makers at the global, national, state, and local levels. A new website is under development, but for now please see and for more information on the legacy organizations.


  • Provide programmatic leadership in energy and climate policy, which sits within broader energy and climate efforts at the Institute.
  • Actively participate with other Institute leaders in the development and execution of Institute strategy.
  • Advance current Institute and University priorities in climate change and energy transformation policy, as well as seek opportunities to engage with and respond to related emerging policy issues.
  • Lead interdisciplinary applied research efforts in energy and climate policy, especially at the interface of science, economics, law and policy.
  • Leverage, where possible, collaborations with faculty at Duke to expand the impact of ongoing research efforts, bringing greater attention to the policy implications of ongoing Duke research in energy and climate.  
  • Organize and lead dialogue with experts across sectors and disciplines to find solutions to critical energy and climate problems.
  • Develop project ideas, work with development team to secure funding for them, effectively manage funder relations, personnel and budget to produce rigorous results with strong positive impact.
  • Teach one class per year at the graduate or undergraduate level on a topic related to energy and climate policy, and advise a limited number of student research projects on related topics.


  • Nationally recognized leader in energy and climate policy.
  • PhD or Juris Doctor degree strongly preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience in energy and climate policy, including familiarity with policymakers and organizations in the field.
  • Ability to interact effectively with elected officials, government agencies, business leaders, academics, non-governmental organizations and stakeholders’ groups.
  • Ability to collaborate and engage with Duke University faculty, students, and other relevant experts across campus.
  • Strong leadership and management skills.
  • Excellent communications skills and a record of publications in a range of venues.

Other Relevant Information

The position is based at the Institute headquarters on the Duke University campus in Durham, North Carolina. Frequent travel to Washington, D.C., and other locations in the United States and internationally is expected. The individual chosen should be able to collaborate with and manage staff at multiple remote locations.

This position is part of a cluster hire in climate policy spanning different disciplines, schools, and institutes at Duke. For this position, a secondary appointment as a non-tenure track faculty member in one of Duke’s schools is not required, but will be considered subject to the review and approval procedures applicable to the particular school’s secondary appointment process.

How to Apply

To apply for this position, please send a cover letter and curriculum vitae to the application link referenced in this announcement. The search will remain open until filled.

Internal link for current Duke University employees:

External link:

The intent of this job description is to provide a representative and level of the types of duties and responsibilities that will be required of positions given this title and shall not be construed as a declaration of the total of the specific duties and responsibilities of any particular position. Employees may be directed to perform job-related tasks other than those specifically presented in this description.

Duke University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual's age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas-an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.