Research Associate, Restoration Finance

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World Resources Institute

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30+ days ago

Job Summary:

In the U.S. office, this position is remote due to Covid-19 and can remain remote once restrictions are lifted. This position can also be based in one of our offices in Mexico, Brazil, or Colombia where you are legally able to work.

As the Research Associate, you will directly contribute to developing knowledge products for the Global Restoration Initiative’s (GRI) Invest programs of TerraFund for AFR100, TerraMatch, and the Land Accelerator. In this position, you will help lead research projects and stakeholder outreach on capacity building for restoration entrepreneurs and evaluate the impact of locally-led land restoration projects.

Your tasks will include coordinating research across Africa, Latin America, and South Asia, as well providing data analysis, modeling, and outreach support to the Invest team. You will provide project management support, be responsible for coordinating junior staff as needed, and assist with fundraising efforts. You will help lead two areas of work: 1) research and analyze monitoring, evaluation, and information exchange for the Land Accelerator programs in India, Africa, and Latin America 2) develop monitoring, learning tools, and knowledge products on programmatic elements of the GRI Invest team which include TerraFund for AFR100, TerraMatch, and the Land Accelerator.

In this role, you will work closely with other WRI program teams, WRI international offices, partner organizations, and other relevant staff to communicate, document, and analyze the critical ‘learning by doing’ programs that the GRI Invest team is implementing in the restoration finance sector.

Job Responsibilities:

Research & Knowledge (70%)

  • Intellectual leadership - identifying and exploring knowledge gaps where WRI research can improve the quality and quantity of restoration finance available in key countries, consistent with our mission and in collaboration with research staff from other programs/centers/international offices
  • Overseeing and coordinating monitoring, evaluation, and research related to the Land Accelerator, TerraMatch, and TerraFund for AFR100 that document and evaluate progress at the community-level, eventually driving systemic change
  • Ensuring project-specific KPIs are monitored
  • Authoring written and graphic content for publications, reports, papers, and presentations
  • Serving as lead author on the Land Accelerator 2022 Learning Report publication Conducting qualitative and quantitative analyses
  • Reviewing knowledge products written by external authors Leading and contributing to the production of blogs, reports, and other informational content

Administration and Fundraising (30%)

  • Liaise with external partners and WRI colleagues across programs and countries
  • Creating content for proposals and concept notes, including deliverables, timelines, and budgets
  • Ensuring impact report data quality and presentation meets or exceeds funder deliverable expectations
  • Contributing to fundraising efforts Integrating program learnings, KPIs and results into proposals to make stronger cases for donor investment

Job Qualifications:

  • Master's degree in Business, Environmental Studies/Policy, Forestry, or a related field
  • Minimum of 5 years of relevant full-time work experience
  • Excellent research, writing, editing, and oral communication skills
  • Experience in at least one of the following three regions, with preference for experience in multiple regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America
  • Ability to manage various moving parts with superb attention to detail, while keeping sight of the big picture
  • Ability to motivate and coordinate different stakeholders around a shared vision and agenda
  • Academic or professional experience leading quantitative analyses
  • Demonstrated ability to work well in multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams
  • Detail-oriented, organized, and independent thinker
  • Must have existing work authorization to work in any of WRI country offices in the Western Hemisphere which includes the US, Colombia, Brazil, and/or Mexico Fluency in English required

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience managing junior staff and contractors, with prior management training
  • Experience leading and writing research papers for academic journals, major conferences, or international organizations
  • Experience structuring, capitalizing, and implementing financial instruments
  • Fluency in an additional language preferred (especially French, Portuguese or Spanish)

How to Apply:

Please submit a resume with a cover letter. Resume and cover letter must be submitted in English to be considered. Applicants must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered.

Program Overview:

The Global Restoration Initiative (Restoration) is part of the Forest Program at WRI, and works to inform, enable and invest in action to restore vitality to degraded and deforested landscapes around the globe. Following commitments by governments to restore more than 210 million hectares of degraded land worldwide, the initiative is now focused on supporting the people restoring landscapes. The GRI Invest pillar has three major workstreams: The Land Accelerator (for more details, visit The Land Accelerator delivers targeted capacity building to small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) who restore land with the aim of empowering them to grow their impact. This capacity building includes training, mentoring and connecting to potential sources of capital. The TerraMatch matchmaking platform (for more details, visit TerraMatch is a matchmaker between organizations growing trees and donors seeking to finance tree-based restoration. It reduces search costs and other transaction costs and gives visibility to grassroots companies and communities who are restoring their land, allowing them access to international finance as never before. TerraFund for AFR100 (for more details, visit ( This $20 million facility provides grant and loan finance to community-based restoration implementers in Africa. It will also explore ways to incentivize local financial institutions to lend to SMEs who restore land as part of a systems change and scaling strategy for restoration finance.

WRI Overview:

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity, and human well-being. We are working to address seven critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade in order to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean.

We are passionate. We value our diversity of interests, skills, and backgrounds. We have a flexible work environment. And we share a common goal to catalyze change that will improve the lives of people. Our shared ideals are at the core of our approach. They include: integrity, innovation, urgency, independence, and respect.

The foundation of our work is delivering high-quality research, data, maps, and analysis to solve the world’s greatest environment and international development challenges and improve people’s lives. We work with leaders in government, business, and civil society to drive ambitious action and create change on the ground. Equally important, we bring together partners to develop breakthrough ideas and scale-up solutions for far-reaching, enduring impact.

We have been growing rapidly: our staff has doubled in size over the past 5 years, and our operating budget is now $150 million. Founded in 1982, WRI has a global staff of 1,000+ people with work spanning 60 countries. We have offices in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the United States, as well as a growing presence in other countries and regions.

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices.