Research Data Tech, Sr. (Policy Assistant) at the Nicholas Institute/Energy Initiative

The Nicholas Institute/Energy Initiative improves environmental policymaking worldwide through objective, fact-based research to confront the climate crisis, clarify the economics of limiting carbon pollution, harness emerging environmental markets, put the value of nature's benefits on the balance sheet, develop adaptive water management approaches, and identify other strategies to attain community resilience.

The Nicholas Institute/Energy Initiative is part of Duke University and its broader community of world-class scholars. This unique setting allows the Nicholas Institute's team of economists, scientists, lawyers and policy experts to deliver timely, credible analyses to a wide variety of decision makers, but also to connect scholarship and practice in an effective action-oriented way.

Occupational Summary

The position will report to the Climate & Energy Area Director of the Nicholas Institute/Energy Initiative. The work will focus on policy and analytical analysis to support our state-based environmental policy work in the Southeastern states, including but not limited to energy efficiency, energy insecurity/equity, and transportation electrification. In particular, the position will support the Institute’s energy insecurity work in Q4 2021 and Q1 2022. The work may also interface with federal policymakers, particularly around clean air rules issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and new federal funding streams related to clean energy and climate change. The employee  will conduct research or analysis, synthesize third-party research, co-draft policy reports, or create content for and present in webinars or meetings at the direction of the Area Director or the Area Senior Policy Associates. This is a full-time term-limited position.

Work Performed

  • Support a robust stakeholder process defining energy insecurity in the Southeast and identifying policy solutions to this deeply-entrenched challenge. Assist the Area Director and other Policy Associates to synthesize ideas that are raised, for future programming and research projects.
  • Assist with the compilation of policy reports regarding energy insecurity.
  • Conduct research and engage stakeholders on energy efficiency, equity, and transportation electrification policies, to inform the Area team and improve team products and outreach outcomes.
  • Provide content for webinars and meetings with state and federal energy and climate decision-makers.
  • Write short policy briefs or collaborate with Area Director and Senior Policy Associates to provide written analysis of policy options.
  • Draft online content for project webpages and social media.
  • Support grant-writing as needed.
  • Meet supervisors and collaborators weekly to discuss progress and goals.


  • Demonstrated experience in energy and climate policy issues
  • Demonstrated experience with research involving large and decentralized datasets
  • Familiarity and comfort with public speaking and stakeholder engagement processes
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Strong organizational skills


Candidates with a master’s degree in an environmentally related field with additional years of relevant work experience are preferred.
Minimum qualification is a bachelor’s degree with two years of work experience in a relevant field.

To Apply

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The intent of this job description is to provide a representation of the types and level of duties and responsibilities that will be required of positions given this title. It shall not be construed as a declaration of all specific duties and responsibilities of the particular position, as 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 also makes good faith efforts to recruit, hire, and promote qualified women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans.