Senior Policy Associate

Duke University

Duke University was created in 1924 through an indenture of trust by James Buchanan Duke. Today, Duke is regarded as one of America’s leading research universities. Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke is positioned in the heart of the Research Triangle, which is ranked annually as one of the best places in the country to work and live. Duke has more than 15,000 students who study and conduct research in its 10 undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. With about 40,000 employees, Duke is the third largest private employer in North Carolina, and it now has international programs in more than 150 countries.

About the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability

The Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability at Duke University accelerates solutions to critical energy and environmental challenges, advancing a more just, resilient, and sustainable world. The Nicholas Institute conducts and supports actionable research and undertakes sustained engagement with policymakers, businesses, and communities—in addition to delivering transformative educational experiences to empower future leaders. The Nicholas Institute’s work is aligned with the Duke Climate Commitment, which unites the university’s education, research, operations, and external engagement missions to address the climate crisis.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values of the institute. We believe that our creative environment is enhanced when diverse groups of people with diverse ideas collaborate with purpose. Applicants with a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion are particularly encouraged to apply.

Occupational Summary

Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability is searching for a Senior Policy Associate in the Energy and Climate Policy Program. The program seeks to contribute to low-carbon energy transitions in the United States, in global systems, and in select low- and middle-income countries. The Senior Policy Associate will contribute across program activities, and strategically implement research that engages relevant decision makers and partners in the public, private, and civil society sectors. The work will seed thought leadership and analysis, convenings and network development, and both directly and indirectly contribute to energy and climate policy in the United States and internationally.


  • Working closely with the Director of Energy and Climate Policy, contribute to a comprehensive set of project management activities, including research and writing, data visualization and presentations, seminar and roundtable convenings, network growth, fundraising, budget and grant management, student and staff supervision, and beyond;
  • Help originate new project ideas and opportunities in-line with program goals;
  • Track and report on projects and on the achievement of targeted goals;
  • Contribute to the Duke Climate Commitment by liaising internally with students and other members of the Duke community to advance energy and climate applied research and education;
  • Develop, grow, and gain visibility on targeted areas of expertise;
  • Create forward-facing outputs that advance the impact of NIEES energy and climate work;
  • Help measure, assess, and improve the policy impact of energy and climate program activities;
  • Provide support for content and curricula development by the Director of Energy and Climate Policy;
  • Collaborate regularly with staff members across NIEES and wider Duke on content development, program administration, and strategic communication efforts for the Energy and Climate Program.


  • Master's degree or equivalent in public policy, law, natural science, engineering, or another field directly related to the position;
  • With master's degree, 4 years of progressive experience in policy and analysis at the international, federal, regional, and/or state level. A degree higher than a master's degree may substitute for two years of experience.
  • 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 organizational and management skills;
  • Excellent writing and communications skills.

Other Relevant Information

The position is based at the Institute headquarters on the Duke University campus in Durham, North Carolina. Some 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 staff and external partners at multiple remote locations across multiple time-zones (including internationally).

To apply for this position, please send a cover letter and curriculum vitae to the application link referenced in this announcement. Submit your documents online at / apply to 236383

The committee will fully consider all applications sent by September 30, 2023, with the intention of filling the position as soon as possible.



Master's degree or equivalent in public policy, law, natural science, engineering, or another field directly related to the position. PhD or JD preferred.


With master's degree, 4 years of progressive experience in policy and analysis at the international, federal, regional, and/or state level. A degree higher than a master's degree may substitute for two years of experience.

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.


View all open positions at the Nicholas Institute