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Research Associate, Just Environments Kenan Institute for Ethics

The Just Environments program is a partnership between the Kenan Institute for Ethics and the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability at Duke University. We are committed to learning, shared inquiry, and co-created research that meets shared goals of policy relevance and academic rigor. We establish partnerships with communities impacted by environmental and climate injustices and develop teams of community experts, Duke faculty, and students. Our project teams are empowered to create research and engagement opportunities that influence environmental justice policy, offer remedies and solutions to environmental injustices, and mobilize people to participate in and shape environmental decision making. Along the way, we also seek to contribute to knowledge-building through academic research and scholarship. To further those goals, we also organize and manage multidisciplinary policy research lab, the Duke Environmental Justice Lab where any needed computational and quantitative data collection and analysis are carried out. In anything we do we seek develop shared understandings between communities impacted by environmental injustices and the community of scholars and students at Duke. To that end, we seek someone with experience, expertise, and enthusiasm for working in such a highly collaborative environment with our diverse teams.

We are looking for a Research Associate to work closely with the Just Environments Area Director and our network of research teams to participate in the conception and creation of partnerships and research projects and to supervise and mentor students. The Research Associate will be engaged in all stages of research development, including supervising and/or participating in data collection and analysis and may also be co-designing that data collection and co-creating analysis with community partners. Therefore, we’re looking for someone who enjoys community-based participatory research processes; who works well with complex teams of faculty, staff, student, and external partners; and who is passionate about research that supports climate and environmental justice. We aspire to create a team that represents the diversity of our city, our region, and our world, and to create a space that encourages and embraces inclusiveness, equity, justice, and respect. We strongly encourage women and members of under-represented groups to apply. This is a two-year term-limited position.


  • Collaborate with researchers and community-based partners on the conception and construction of applied policy relevant research, including developing creative solutions to communicate complex research findings to the various audiences (including students, faculty, policy makers, national and local journalists, and the public).
  • Implement research justice principles in all projects and partnerships, including planning and organizing convenings and trainings to grow the community of researchers and scholars practicing research justice practices in their work.
  • Develop creative solutions to communicate complex research findings and create co-authored peer-reviewed journal articles, white papers, and short policy briefs with the Area Director, collaborators, and students.
  • Support grant writing by providing data, documentation, draft narratives, and budgets.
  • Mentor and manage the training and work of student research assistants and interns. Identify new opportunities to involve Duke students in the specific program area.
  • Respond to requests for collaboration and other opportunities that come up and assess them for their fit as future collaborations and research projects.


  • Demonstrate analytical skills to manage, analyze, and interpret large data sets of various origins. Analysis may be qualitative as well as spatial and quantitative. (Some experience with statistical analysis and programming is preferred or a willingness to learn them.)
  • Communicate well and employ outstanding interpersonal skills with collaborators from diverse backgrounds. Show comfort with students of all levels, community members, decision makers, policy makers, and the public.
  • Prioritize work effectively, be responsive to deadlines and feedback, and have time and task management skills. Possess strong organizational skills to keep our research projects and teams running as efficiently as possible while maintaining our commitment to research justice.
  • Demonstrate excellent written communication and presentation skills.
  • Ability and willingness to engage in (limited) travel to the communities where our community collaborators live.
  • Willingness to engage in all levels of responsibilities, when needed, including administrative and project assistance and support for research projects, convenings, and teams. Education & experience required: Work requires research, communications, analytical, and organization skills generally acquired through completion of a Ph.D.


A minimum of 3 years of experience in a related area or field. Management of multiple projects. Experience teaching and developing and implementing curricular and co-curricular programs.

To Apply

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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.