Senior Associate, Research - Carbon Dioxide Removal Initiative

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30 days ago

Are you a tenacious researcher and problem-solver? Do you have an exceptional ability to see things others have missed, and uncover novel solutions to hard problems? Are you able to communicate and collaborate well with technical and non-technical people? Are you passionate about contributing to open-access knowledge and to climate impact?

If yes, then join our growing team!

We highly encourage individuals from underrepresented groups to apply!

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) seeks a Senior Associate to support our Carbon Dioxide Removal initiative. This is a research-intensive role, focused on the rigorous assessment of CDR techniques, the identification of breakthrough opportunities to advance the CDR field through R&D, and the mobilization of action on those opportunities – all in partnership with other researchers and practitioners in the CDR field.

RMI creates market and technological solutions to address climate change. RMIers bring a variety of skillsets, and we welcome candidates with diverse educational and work backgrounds.

Program Overview:

The Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) Initiative at RMI is focused on supporting the responsible and effective testing, development, and deployment of CDR techniques, through thought and action.

Our thought includes:

  • Deep and rigorous reviews of scientific and technological advancements relevant to CDR.
  • Techno-economic analysis.
  • Multi-sector roadmaps for the responsible scale-up of the CDR field.
  • The design of new concepts and interventions needed to advance the CDR field.
  • We work with leading researchers in academia and elsewhere to deliver this work.

Our action includes programs for:

  • Mobilizing people and funding for breakthrough R&D opportunities in CDR.
  • The development of systems and standards for CDR measurement, accounting, and certification.
  • Supporting CDR project implementation on-the-ground.
  • We work with partners across sectors to deliver these programs.

Position Overview:

Senior Associates at RMI are creative problem solvers, who use their quantitative, technical, and analytical abilities to help shape RMI’s programs, advance the public debate, and influence decision-making across sectors.

We look for demonstrated aptitude at solving challenging problems, thinking in numbers, and working in teams. We expect self-motivation, curiosity, creativity, the ability to drive oneself and others toward meaningful results, respect and empathy for teammates and collaborators and their ideas, and a passion for making the world better.

RMI Senior Associates are, typically, independent contributors and work closely with colleagues on projects under the direction of more senior staff. They have begun to develop expertise in the content area of their program within RMI and can provide support internally to RMI on that topic.

Core Responsibilities:

  • Build expertise to deliver insights and thought leadership on CDR
  • Build expertise in one or more domains of CDR, in particular the latest science and techno-economics for relevant techniques.
  • Provide core research, quantitative analysis, and discovery support for CDR Initiative projects, including the identification of breakthrough R&D opportunities in CDR and the mobilization of funding for those opportunities.
  • Design and create innovative problem-solving approaches and quantitative models to effectively address key questions and challenges facing the CDR field.
  • Locate and manage high-quality data that sheds new light on problems and solutions.
  • Synthesize and communicate key findings and recommendations into clear and compelling presentations and written reports for technical and non-technical audiences.
  • Present quantitative information in a clear, visual format.
  • Contribute to strategies for scaling CDR demonstration and deployment responsibly and effectively, domestically and internationally.
  • Engage with, inform, and influence the CDR field, through effective collaboration and communications
  • Collaborate effectively with external research collaborators, and help to design and orchestrate effective research collaborations.
  • Engage with external experts via interviews, conferences, and responses to outreach requests.
  • Contribute publicly at conferences, share expertise in response to media requests, and discuss our work with clients and donors.
  • Represent RMI as an industry expert at key conferences and other public speaking events.

Required Qualifications:

  • PhD degree in an applicable field such as the physical or biological sciences, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, biological engineering, or other forms of engineering OR a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an applicable field, plus 2 years of relevant work experience.
  • Demonstrated track record of publishing insight-rich papers, analyses, reports or other media for both technical and non-technical audiences.
  • Demonstrated effectiveness and creativity in solving hard problems.
  • Strong skills in quantitative analysis, structured problem-solving, research, and writing.
  • Commitment to and passion for the development and realization of frontier climate solutions.

Preferred Qualifications

  • PhD degree in an applicable field such as the physical or biological sciences, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, biological engineering, data science, or other forms of engineering, plus 2 years of relevant work experience OR a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an applicable field, plus 5 years of relevant work experience.
  • Experience in designing, managing, or contributing to successful research projects.
  • Experience in helping to build thriving communities and collaborations for sharing knowledge and ideas.
  • Experience with research funding bodies and processes.
  • Knowledge of CDR techniques and recent advancements in them.


We are a remote-ready company with team members around the globe. Our beautiful and welcoming offices are available for meetings or focused work, whether you are traveling through or living nearby. Our U.S. offices are in New York City; Washington DC; Oakland, California; Boulder, Colorado, and Basalt, Colorado. This role can be located from anywhere in the continental United States.

We provide you with the essential IT equipment plus a one-time home technology payment and a monthly work from home/commuter allowance to ensure you have a comfortable home office set up and necessary supplies.

We love seeing each other in person! We occasionally gather for shared time together like retreats and learning experiences. Be ready to travel for occasional in-person meetings (and of course, we cover travel costs). Some roles may require more travel, which will be discussed during the hiring process.

Important Note: As a U.S. federal contractor, RMI must comply with requirements outlined Executive Order Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors. This Executive Order requires that all federal contractors and subcontractors mandate and verify that all U.S. based employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are based in the U.S., you will be required to provide proof of full vaccination status as a condition of employment. You may request accommodation for medical or religious reasons. If you are based outside of the U.S., this requirement does not apply.


RMI compensates based on the level and requirements of the role. Salary within our ranges may also be determined by your education, experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities, as required by the role, as well as internal equity and alignment with market data. Typically, new Senior Associates based in the U.S. join at the minimum to mid salary range of $81,000-98,000. You would also have an additional 10% bonus target.


We offer a comprehensive benefits package adjusted to regional norms, including (for U.S. employment):

  • Medical, dental, vision insurance
  • 403b retirement options (up to 5% match immediately)
  • Life, AD&D, short-term and long-term disability
  • Professional and personal development (including LinkedIn Learning access)
  • Generous paid time off
  • Parental leave
  • Work from home and commuter allowance


Increasing the diversity of thought, perspectives, ideas and opinions within RMI is a critical change element supporting our long-term sustainability and mission to build a clean, prosperous, and secure energy future.

We strive for a level of diversity that reflects the communities we serve. Achieving this—regardless of ability, race, ethnicity, ancestry, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, veteran status, socioeconomic class, educational attainment or other social identities—is critical to the success of each RMIer and collectively as an organization. This ensures that we:

Have the different array of thinking that comes from diverse backgrounds and cultures, enabling us to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.

Strive for a culture of inclusion and belonging by treating others with dignity, respect and appreciation enabling them to feel welcomed, supported and valued.

Effectively connect, communicate and build long-lasting relationships with decision makers, stakeholders and constituents within diverse communities.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.

About RMI

RMI is an independent nonprofit founded in 1982 that transforms global energy systems through market-driven solutions to align with a 1.5°C future and secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future for all. We work in the world’s most critical geographies and engage businesses, policymakers, communities, and NGOs to identify and scale energy system interventions that will cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 50 percent by 2030. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Oakland, California; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.

JOB CODE: 1000803