GIS Research Associate

Organization icon

World Resources Institute

Location icon

Washington, DC, United States

Apply now
Clock icon

16 days ago

This position is remote-eligible and only for consideration within the United States where WRI is state registered. Existing work authorization is required at the time of application submission. WRI is unable to sponsor any visa work sponsorship for this position.


About the Program:

Land & Carbon Lab (LCL) is WRI’s premier hub for geospatial data, analysis, and monitoring of the world’s land and its natural ecosystems. Our data and monitoring solutions, which include the Global Forest Watch platform, exist to help accelerate implementation and financing of nature-based solutions worldwide. LCL has three main offers: (1) innovation in open geospatial data for land and carbon monitoring, (2) spatial intelligence to support NBS policy and target tracking, and (3) tailored tools that help businesses, governments, civil society organizations, and local communities make data-driven decisions. LCL collaborates across WRI and WRI’s network of external partners to transform big geospatial data into action and impact. www.landcarbonlab.org www.globalforestwatch.org


Job Highlight:

In this role, you will assist the LCL team in developing geospatial statistics and new machine learning methods to better understand and monitor land use and associated carbon fluxes across the world. You will be supported by Land and Carbon Lab's large and collaborative research team made up of geospatial scientists including those from Global Forest Watch and Global Restoration teams. You will report to a senior researcher in Land and Carbon Lab.

What will you do:

Research and computational data analysis (60% time):

  • Apply knowledge of existing literature on geospatial statistics and machine learning methods for land use, forest and carbon monitoring to lead new tracks of work with the intent to make novel contributions to the research field
  • Apply significant knowledge of Python and/or R to write performant code and use cloud computing to deliver novel and reproducible data insights and applications
  • Apply significant knowledge of packages for spatial analysis including GDAL and rasterio, and GIS software including ArcGIS or QGIS, and Google Earth Engine
  • Apply basic knowledge of frontend frameworks for data visualization
  • Contribute to research designs and systems architecture decisions for data science analysis and applications
  • Bring a strong foundation of knowledge in general statistics and at least one area of specialization, e.g., spatial statistics, machine learning, remote sensing in the context of land use change, forestry, or carbon
  • Make novel statistical contributions to solving real world problems, selecting the right analysis approaches and algorithms
  • Serve as a reviewer with expertise in statistics for both internal and external publications
  • Mentor data analysts on computational tasks, providing code review and coaching them to learn new skills

Data management (20% time):

  • Organize and manage multiple data projects simultaneously using best practices for documentation
  • Apply knowledge of data across internal and external products to access a variety of structured data
  • Apply knowledge of common database types to build automated data pipelines to pull and clean data without oversight
  • Apply knowledge for management of specialized datasets such as remote sensing data, including optical, radar and lidar satellite data, and field data collected via environmental sensors and ground surveys
Data communication (10% time):
  • Contribute significantly to the design of new data applications and products
  • Effectively communicate data to internal and external audiences using data visualization, clear writing, and compelling presentation skills with limited oversight
  • Lead the drafting of blogs, technical notes, and papers with limited oversight
  • Apply knowledge of cartographic principles and map design tools and practices

Project management (10% time):

  • Manage small teams of analysts, coordinators, and specialists to deliver projects with oversight from manager
  • Communicate work to non-technical, senior audiences internally and externally to ensure clarity and alignment
What will you need:
  • Education: You have a completed Master's degree or a PhD in a relevant field; relevant work experience in lieu of degree is accepted.
  • Experience: You have a minimum of 6+ years of full-time work experience.
  • Strongly preferred experience includes designing and launching new data analysis projects, developing data processing pipelines for large and complex datasets, deploying advanced statistics and methods to solve real-world problems, writing efficient and reproducible code using Python and/or R and git, and using cloud technologies including Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services.
  • Languages: Verbal and written fluency in English required and additional fluency in a language spoken in WRI offices a plus (e.g., Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese)
  • Requirements: Existing work authorization is required where this position is based. WRI is unable to authorize via work authorization.
Potential Salary:


Salary is commensurate with experience and other compensable factors. WRI offers a competitive remuneration and benefits package.

How to Apply:

Please submit a resume and a cover letter by 10 February 2023. You must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered.

What we offer:

  • A competitive salary
  • Access to the WRI global network with the opportunity to exchange with and learn from passionate colleagues working at the cutting edge of their fields across Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the US.
  • The chance to have an impact and to develop your career within a mission driven organization with access to varied learning and training opportunities.
  • A workplace that strives to put diversity and inclusion at the heart of our work.
  • The opportunity to join and get involved in different working groups and affinity groups to shape the future of WRI.
  • Long-term commitment to hybrid working model with flexible working hours.
  • Generous leave days that increase with tenure.

About Us:

Founded in 1982, 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 to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean. WRI has a global staff of over 1,800 people with work spanning 60 countries. We have offices in Africa, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Colombia and the United States, as well as a growing presence in other countries and regions.

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.

Our mission and values:

WRI’s mission is to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth’s environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations.

Our values are shared ideals that bind us together: Integrity, Innovation, Urgency, Independence, Respect.

Our culture:

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. We are committed to providing equal opportunities in employment, we embrace all diversity and encourage women, the LGBTQ+ community, persons with disabilities, Afro-descendants, and Indigenous people to apply. Recognizing our strong commitment to gender equality, WRI has also been awarded EDGE certification.

Our Human Resources team carefully reviews all applications.