Natural Climate Solutions Prototyping Scientist

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The Nature Conservancy

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Washington, DC, United States

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30+ days ago


Washington DC

This is a term position with an anticipated end date of June 2024. This position is based in the DC Metro area; other locations where TNC operates may be considered.




The mission of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is to conserve the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we develop innovative, on-the-ground solutions to the world’s toughest environmental challenges so that people and nature can thrive. Our work is guided by our values, which include a commitment to diversity and respect for people, communities, and cultures. From a rewarding mission to career development and flexible schedules, there are many reasons to love life #insideTNC. Want to know more? Check out our TNC Talent playlist on YouTube to hear stories from staff or visit Glassdoor.

One of TNC’s primary goals is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that employees around the globe have a sense of belonging and feel that their unique contributions are valued. We know we’ll only achieve our mission by hiring and engaging a diverse staff that reflects the communities in which we work. Recognizing that people bring talent and skills that have been developed outside the scope of a job, we take a holistic approach to recruitment that considers life experience in addition to the professional requirements listed in our postings. Please apply – we’d love to hear from you. To quote a popular saying at TNC, “you’ll join for the mission, and you’ll stay for the people.”


The Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) Prototyping Scientist will work as part of the Global NCS Science Team within the Tackle Climate Change business unit. They will report to the NCS Science Deputy Director, working closely with the rest of the NCS Science Team, field program staff across 15+ prototyping projects, and a range of other science and program staff. NCS are nature-based mitigation strategies that include safeguards for people and biodiversity, developed to help decision makers promote and achieve more ambitious climate targets. TNC is engaging in an ambitious effort to scale NCS across a range of geographies and aims to increase the evidence for how to implement NCS strategies across varied geographies that each face unique challenges. NCS prototyping encompasses experimenting, measuring, adjusting, and sharing lessons learned from TNC NCS pilot projects. The NCS Prototyping Scientist will provide technical and scientific support and leadership across the pilot projects, examining and distilling key factors needed to activate rapid and wide-scale adoption of NCS and conducting climate mitigation analyses, and may also engage in other science products as needed.


The NCS Prototyping Scientist will advance the strategic priorities of the Global Climate Team, particularly the prototyping workstream, with the ultimate goal of increasing the pace and scale of NCS implementation. This applied science role will serve as a key resource to nature-based mitigation projects from field programs across the Conservancy, working together with program counterparts who have a variety of skill sets and are from diverse backgrounds. They will compile, manage, synthesize, analyze, and generate, and share data related to the protection, restoration, and improved management of forests, croplands, grasslands, and wetlands, particularly those related to coastal wetlands, peatlands, and agroforestry. They will help interpret and communicate the findings from these analyses graphically and with accessible language for use in reports, dashboards, publications, presentations, and websites in order to widely disseminate findings and lessons learned. They will contribute to and may lead project reporting, scientific publications, and other products and tools. They will proactively support, train, and build capacity of field program colleagues, particularly around carbon accounting; a primary responsibility of this position will be enabling the successes of others. Success in this role requires being savvy in a range of statistical tools and analysis and their application in natural and social sciences; working effectively both independently and collaboratively in a fast-paced, highly matrixed organization; and being adaptable to shifting needs and priorities.


  • Work within scope of program’s strategic goals; act independently on assigned tasks and exercise judgment based on experience, referring difficult questions and unusual problems to supervisor.
  • Communicate on behalf of team with staff in various programs across the Conservancy and demonstrate sensitivity in handling confidential information.
  • Collaboratively co-develop innovative studies investigating climate outcomes and enabling conditions of NCS projects.
  • Manage spatial, tabular, and other data, develop new datasets and tools as necessary, and ensure access to collaborators. May include fieldwork to collect data.
  • Conduct statistical and geospatial analysis and provide rigorous interpretations of findings.
  • Collaboratively draft and edit reports and publications based on the data collected and analyzed.
  • Train colleagues in skills related to the tasks above and engage in project troubleshooting.
  • Act as a resource to others to solve problems and may act in supervisor’s stead when instructed.
  • May manage a grant, contract, or request for proposal.
  • May supervise interns or volunteer staff, including training.
  • Work flexible hours as needed, including regularly attending meetings outside of standard business hours.
  • May travel domestically and/or internationally.
  • May occasionally work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances.
  • Able to navigate ambiguity and shifting priorities


  • Master's Degree in science related field and 2 years of experience or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience with climate change mitigation-related topics.
  • Experience collecting, manipulating, analyzing, and interpreting data.
  • Experience with ArcGIS, QGIS, or other geospatial software.
  • Experience synthesizing and communicating scientific information, including translating scientific concepts to general audiences.
  • Experience preparing reports of findings and/or collaborating on scientific publications.
  • Experience leading and working across teams and communicating with a wide range of people.


  • PhD in field such as ecology, climate science, economics, sociology, or similar fields with strong applied quantitative foundations, and 1 year of experience or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Multi-language skills and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated.
  • Experience working with AFOLU (agriculture, forestry, and other land use) and land use change issues and/or carbon accounting related to climate change mitigation or adaptation.
  • Experience working on-the-ground field projects and working collaboratively with field teams.
  • Experience with training or capacity building for applied science concepts.
  • Experience designing and collecting field or survey data.
  • Strong statistical skills and ability to apply a variety of analytical tools and creative and novel data sources as determined by the research question.
  • Experience coding in R, Python, or equivalent computing language for large-scale geospatial analyses.
  • Experience operating in Google Earth Engine, ENVI ERDAS or similar.
  • Ability to identify, clean, and analyze secondary data from partners, government agencies, or other entities that may be helpful to advancing knowledge about widescale implementation.
  • Ability to advance multiple projects in parallel and prioritize diverse responsibilities to meet deadlines.
  • Ability to take initiative and drive results based on program goals in a decentralized work environment.
  • Team player with demonstrated ability to either lead or support depending on situational need.
  • Strong organization skills and attention to detail.


Since 1951, TNC has been doing work you can believe in. Through grassroots action, we have grown from a small non-profit into one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world. Thanks to more than 1 million members, over 400 scientists, and the dedicated efforts of our diverse staff and partners, we impact conservation around the world!

TNC offers competitive and comprehensive benefits packages tailored to the individual countries where we work. These may include health care benefits, retirement benefits, parental leave, paid time off, life insurance, and disability coverage as well as an employee assistance program and other life and well-being benefits. Learn more about our benefits on our Culture Tab on

We’re proud to offer a flexible work environment that supports the health and well-being of the people we employ.


To apply for job ID 52420, 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.

TNC is committed to offering accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application process. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please send a note to with Request for Accommodation in the subject line.

Where legally permissible, TNC requires all new employees to be fully vaccinated and willing to keep up to date with vaccines that protect against COVID-19. By accepting an offer of employment, you agree to comply with this requirement, unless you are entitled to a legally mandated exemption.