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Research Associate

San Francisco, CA

CEA is looking for a Research Associate. The successful applicant will support the day-to-day management of complex consulting engagements for clients, including large environment-focused foundations, family foundations, NGOs, impact investors, and bilateral and multilateral agencies.

Our work environment is collaborative, intensive, requires intellectual rigor, excellent interpersonal and communication 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 critical environmental issues.  

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 teammates, 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.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

  • Support the execution of projects in collaboration with team members.
  • 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 compelling 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 a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization.
  • Support recruiting searches through research, applicant material development, client and candidate communication support, and application review.

Desired Qualifications

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


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


  • A Bachelor’s degree and relevant work experience that includes full and part-time employment, contracted work, academic area of focus, internships, volunteer experience, fellowships, etc.
  • Degrees or work experiences that include training in research methods (quantitative or qualitative) and/or focus on environmental studies/natural sciences.
  • Content knowledge and professional interest in climate change science and policy, energy policy, ocean science and conservation, marine fisheries, coastal communities and livelihoods and/or climate justice, and climate resilience.
  • Ability to present information in an insightful and structured manner, both written and oral.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to effectively communicate across internal teams and with external stakeholders.
  • Ability to work, multitask, and prioritize to meet deadlines and respond and adapt to changing client needs.
  • Ability to handle sensitive matters with discretion and interact with a wide range of stakeholders (e.g., scientists, policymakers, advocates, and industry representatives) with diplomacy and enthusiasm.
  • A curious, pragmatic, and strategic mind.
  • An ability and desire to problem solve independently and contribute your insight to team projects.


Preferred Experience

  • Proficiency in qualitative research methods (e.g., interviews, expert consultation, case studies).
  • Proficiency in Excel and/or other analytical software (e.g., R, GIS, Tableau).
  • Other content knowledge that will support CEA’s work includes land preservation, sustainable agriculture, freshwater management, forestry, environmental justice, and/or air quality.
  • Professional proficiency in a foreign language and demonstrated cultural competency.
  • A passion for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace
  • Strong writing and analysis skills, including experience with preparing reports, slide decks, briefs and meeting reports.

Work Location

CEA’s office is located in San Francisco, and roughly half of the team lives in the Bay Area, while others work remotely on a permanent basis. Those working from our San Francisco office come in at least twice a week. CEA Research Associates are asked to work in our San Francisco office for at least three years. This position is will require some travel, likely one or two trips per year, largely domestic.

Compensation and Benefits

We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a supportive working environment. Salary will be commensurate with skills and experience. The salary range for this position is $60,000 - $75,000.

Hiring and Interview Process Details

CEA is committed to a transparent and equitable hiring process, including providing details into what our overall interview process will be. We do our best to review your application materials as quickly as possible and to provide updates throughout our application process. Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out directly to our lead search manager, Micah Day –


As a part of our effort to provide a transparent and equitable hiring process, we will be conducting a live Q&A session for all applicants and potential candidates. This will be an opportunity for candidates to learn more about our organization’s culture, mission and values, our work, and the roles and responsibilities of a Research Associate at our firm. The session will be attended by a variety of staff members from CEA.


Whether you have applied or would just like to learn more, you are welcome to join us for this session. We will be holding this on Thursday, February 8th 2024, at 11:00 AM PST/2:00 PM EST. The meeting link is here. If you are interested in attending, please sign up in advance through the link and feel free to submit questions ahead of time here.

To Apply

To be considered for this position, interested candidates must follow the link below to submit a resume and cover letter.


Apply Here:


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. 

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