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Area Director, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Requisition Number::  86094
Date:  Apr 14, 2021

Durham, NC, US, 27710

Personnel Area:  UNIVERSITY

Duke University:


Duke University was created in 1924 through an indenture of trust by James Buchanan Duke. Today, Duke is regarded as one of America’s leading research universities. Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke is positioned in the heart of the Research Triangle, which is ranked annually as one of the best places in the country to work and live. Duke has more than 15,000 students who study and conduct research in its 10 undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. With about 40,000 employees, Duke is the third largest private employer in North Carolina, and it now has international programs in more than 150 countries.





Occupational Summary


This position will lead the Secretariat for the US branch of the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC), a global coalition of industry and policy-making leaders from across the energy landscape. The ETC has developed a five-step strategy to decarbonize the global economy:

(1) increase energy productivity; (2) decarbonize electric power generation; (3) electrify everything we can; (4) decarbonize what’s left; and (5) ensure this transition happens as quickly as possible.

The position will be based on the Duke University campus and leverage expertise at the university for this effort. The position will also serve on the Nicholas Institute’s senior leadership team.

The area director will strategically engage relevant decision makers of the private and public energy sectors for recruitment onto the US Commission, develop substantive decarbonization papers with Commission participants, following the model of ETC Global’s Mission Possible but rooted firmly in the American context, share that research with a broader policy audience, and design a fundraising plan to create a long-term sustainable funding stream for the project.

The ideal candidate will possess strong leadership skills and the ability to collaborate with executives from large companies with a global reach as well as with faculty on Duke’s campus. The area director will also work with a diverse array of stakeholders, partners and other academic researchers, corporate leaders and decision makers to find bold, creative, yet feasible solutions that help solve climate change, one of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges (https://nicholasinstitute.duke.edu/).

The position is limited to a one year term.


Work Performed


· Manage the general operations of the Secretariat for ETC-US.

· Work with global ETC members to recruit influential corporate leaders to the ETC-US.

· Raise funding from ETC members and philanthropic institutions to pursue an ambitious program of work for ETC-US.

· Recruit, manage, and directly supervise research and support staff, including management of various personnel functions including, but not limited to, hiring, performance appraisals, promotions, transfers and vacation schedules.

· Conduct research and disseminate results through appropriate channels, including policy relevant pieces and where it will support the policy analysis, peer-reviewed academic journals.

· Coordinate engagement with corporate and policy representatives on ETC-US.

· Organize discussions of ETC-US participants around salient decarbonization issues, and lead the drafting of resulting policy papers.

· Represent the ETC-US Secretariat in ETC-Global meetings, alongside the Nicholas Institute Director and the Area Director for Climate and Energy.

· Serve as a point of contact for foundation program officers and, as applicable, other external stakeholders, such as representatives from non-profits, corporations and corporate philanthropies.

· Determine fiscal requirements for assigned area program and prepare budgetary recommendations

· Manage grant funds and projects, including spending, reporting to Duke units charged with sponsored project monitoring, and reporting to funders on project performance, completion, and impacts.

· Work collaboratively with other institute programs on strategic program initiatives, in particular finding ways to integrate work across the program areas. In particular, forge a partnership with the Climate and Energy program.

· Identify opportunities for publicizing the Nicholas Institute’s work, including informing external stakeholders about research projects and output.

· Respond to requests for information from government officials and key decision makers in the private sector.

· Supervise and manage student research assistants, internships, and externships related to the project.

· Identify new opportunities to involve Duke students and faculty in the project.

· Represent the Institute through travel to meetings, conferences, and donor solicitations.

· Attend Institute staff and senior staff meetings, and serve as a liaison for research staff in the project to the Institute Director, other program directors, and key stakeholders.


Preferred requirements

With master’s degree, 7 years of progressive experience in policy and analysis on energy and climate change issues. Ideal experience would be at a private corporation or nonprofit focused on the risks and opportunities arising from an energy transition to address the climate change challenge.


Required Qualifications at this Level



Master's degree or equivalent in science, engineering, law or policy, or a field directly related to the position. PhD or JD preferred.



With master's degree, 7 years of progressive experience in policy and analysis at the international, federal, regional, and/or state level. A degree higher than a master's degree may substitute for two years of experience.



Management, organizational and interpersonal skills

Excellent oral and written communication skills

Ability and willingness to travel


The intent of this job description is to provide a representative level of the types of duties and responsibilities that will be required of positions given this title and shall not be construed as a declaration of the total of the specific duties and responsibilities of any particular position. Employees may be directed to perform job-related tasks other than those specifically presented in this description.


Duke is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual's age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.


Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas—an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.


Essential Physical Job Functions: Certain jobs at Duke University and Duke University Health System may include essentialjob functions that require specific physical and/or mental abilities. Additional information and provision for requests for reasonable accommodation will be provided by each hiring department.


Nearest Major Market: Durham
Nearest Secondary Market: Raleigh