Social Values Mapping Specialist, Postdoctoral Research Associate

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The Nature Conservancy

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Arlington, VA, United States

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10 days ago


Arlington, Virginia, USA



Since 1951, The Nature Conservancy has been doing work you can believe in protecting the lands and waters that all life depends on. Through grassroots action, TNC has grown to become one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world working in more than 75 countries and territories. As a science-based organization, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that we can create a world in which people and nature thrive.

We’re rooted in our Mission and guided by our Values, which includes a Commitment to Diversity and Respect for People, Communities, and Cultures. Whether it’s career development, flexible schedules, or a rewarding mission, there’s lots of reasons to love life #insideTNC. Want a better insight to TNC? Check out our TNC Talent playlist on YouTube on Glassdoor.

Our goal is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that all our colleagues around the globe feel a sense of belonging, and that their unique contributions to our mission are valued. We’ll only achieve our Mission by hiring and engaging a diverse workforce that reflects the communities in which we work. In addition to the requirements in our postings, we recognize that people come with talent and experiences outside of a job. Diversity of experience and skills combined with passion is a key to innovation and a culture of inclusion! Please apply – we’d love to hear from you.


The Nature Conservancy’s Global Protect Oceans, Lands & Water Science Program is recruiting a Social Values Mapping Specialist as a Postdoctoral Research Associate to work with an interdisciplinary team to study how to accelerate the transition to clean energy and a low-carbon economy, transforming how energy is generated, transmitted, and used. The project seeks to develop tools that identify areas where renewable energy and transmission systems present the fewest conflicts with wildlife and natural habitats. Alongside this, best-practices to ensure development creates shared value with communities, respects human rights, and avoids exacerbating existing conflict is a priority. The position will focus on improving our ability to map the potential for social conflicts so these can be incorporated into attempts to identify low conflict zones that can be prioritized for renewable energy development. Click here for more information.

This is a full-time, temporary position (approximately 2 years).


The Postdoctoral Research Associate will develop new approaches to incorporate social and cultural values into TNC’s existing work focused on mapping environmental values. The new hire will help ensure TNC’s renewable energy siting is in line with the organization’s broader sustainability and human rights policies. The candidate will also help ensure TNC’s renewable energy siting work incorporates a do-no-harm ethic, using conflict-sensitive approaches. Ultimately TNC seeks to ensure that renewable energy can be implemented so that it advances affordable energy access, equity, prosperity, environmental sustainability, and peaceful communities. Within this scope, opportunities exist to develop and explore novel research questions of interest.

The Postdoctoral Research Associate will be a full-time employee of The Nature Conservancy for two years, with the potential to extend based on funding. They will be supervised by Joseph Kiesecker, Lead Scientist, and will interact closely with staff from TNC’s India Program, TNC’s North America Region, and TNC’s Europe Region, as well as staff from TNC’s Tackle Climate Change and Protect Ocean, Lands and Water Programs.

The location for this position is flexible within countries where The Nature Conservancy is a registered NGO and has an already established office. This position is not eligible for relocation or immigration assistance.


  • Develop landscape-scale models to understand how different renewable energy development scenarios affect social/cultural values and other ecosystem services.
  • Spatially map responses of social/cultural values and other ecosystem services under alternative policy scenarios.
  • Integrate detailed spatially-explicit models of social/cultural values with biodiversity, and other ecosystem services that will allow the assessment of efficient combinations of renewable energy development and natural habitat.
  • Disseminate research by publishing in peer-reviewed science journals, producing funder reports, presenting at national and/or international conferences, and communicating findings within conservation and academic communities.


  • Bachelor’s Degree in a science-related field and 1-year experience or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience with Geographic Information Systems software, remote sensing and spatial data and analytical skills


  • Multi-language skills and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated.
  • A Ph.D. in Social Science, Environmental Science, Geography, or related fields and 1-year work experience.
  • Demonstration of robust analytic and spatial skills. Strong background in statistical analysis software (R, Matlab, SAS). Programming background is strongly desired.
  • Familiarity with Geographic Information Systems software and Remote Sensing and (ENVI, ERDAS, ArcGIS, QGIS) and related programming/scripting environments (Python, IDL, EML).
  • A strong background and interest in issues related to energy and society, sustainable energy planning and development, renewable energy policy and advocacy, climate and environmental justice, and/or resilience is necessary.
  • Familiarity with land use and land cover modelling and projecting future land use and land cover change also strongly desired.
  • Background in cultural ecosystem services, participatory mapping/social value mapping, and land-use planning.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills with a proven publication record, in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and the ability to write technical reports.
  • Willingness to work with diverse stakeholders and to travel internationally if necessary.
  • Familiarity with spatial techniques, and landscape pattern analysis.
  • Familiarity with related literature and methods focused on the social dimensions of development planning and mitigation.
  • Ability to work effectively with an interdisciplinary team to meet deadlines.
  • Highly motivated and capable of working independently to complete projects.
  • Strong organizational and communication skills (both oral and written).


The Nature Conservancy offers a competitive, comprehensive benefits package including health care benefits, flexible spending accounts, 401(k) plan to include employer match, parental leave, accrued paid time off, life insurance, disability coverage, employee assistance program, other life and work well-being benefits. Learn more about our benefits in the Culture Tab on

We’re proud to offer a work environment that is supportive of the health, well-being, and flexibility needs of the people we employ!


To apply for job ID 51523, submit your materials online by using the Apply Now button at Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact

The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

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