Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs

Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs

Job, Internship, and Fellowship Openings for Students and Alumni of the Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
Albany, NY or New York, NY
Social Science Research Fellowship

New York is leading the nation in the fight on global climate change and the transition to a clean energy-powered economy. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. has created the most aggressive climate change goals in the nation and requires an ambitious agenda that blends proven catalysts with innovative approaches while operating across a broader energy arena that is rapidly evolving. New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) is a driving force in realizing this agenda. NYSERDA works with stakeholders that span residents, business owners, developers, community leaders, local government officials, universities, utilities, investors, entrepreneurs, and more, to develop, invest, and foster conditions that:

  • Attract the private sector capital investment needed to expand New York’s clean energy economy
  • Overcome barriers to using clean energy at a large-scale in New York
  • Enable New York’s communities and residents to benefit equitably from energy efficiency and renewable energy


This 2-year Fellowship within NYSERDA’s Energy and Environmental Analysis (EEA) team will support the development of a new research area for NYSERDA: An Engaged Social Sciences Research Program (E-SSRP) to study the social dimensions of an equitable and inclusive transition in a manner that centers the lived experiences of underserved and overburdened communities and prioritizes beneficial outcomes for disadvantaged communities.

A critical component of New York’s RGGI-funded program on Equity and Climate Transformation Research, this effort builds on the broad recognition of the need for greater contribution from the social sciences, including in recent reports from the National Academies and the IPCC, as well as New York’s Climate Act Disadvantaged Communities Barriers and Opportunities Report, which calls on State agencies to ensure that they have the capacity to support policy co-design processes with communities by producing knowledge through multi-disciplinary research partnerships that draw on diverse forms of expertise.

It is anticipated that the E-SSRP will:

  • Enhance NYSERDA’s capacity to develop rigorous and objective research drawing on multiple standpoints and perspectives
  • Support the articulation and realization of community-determined beneficial outcomes
  • Prioritize innovative social sciences and humanities (SSH) approaches
  • Foster collaborative research partnerships between academia, civil society, communities, and government
  • Involve close collaboration between NYSERDA’s Energy and Environmental Analysis (EEA) and Energy and Climate Equity (ECE) teams

Primary Responsibilities

  • Support initial planning, program design, and execution activities across all aspects of the E-SSRP
  • Review and catalog relevant literature, institutional precedents, and research activities
  • Plan and facilitate research workshops, symposia, brown bags, and other programming
  • Provide peer review of analytic work product
  • Support development, scoping, contracting, and oversight of various research projects
  • Foster multi-stakeholder collaboration among NYSERDA teams, government agencies, external researchers, and community organizations
  • Perform other responsibilities as assigned

Minimum Qualifications

  • 2 years of energy, climate, environmental, or social justice experience
  • Strong analytical, research and communication skills
  • Ability to initiate independent projects and work across disciplines
  • Demonstrated problem-solving ability, resourcefulness, adaptability, and an instinct for surfacing valuable and pragmatic solutions
  • Team player with strong interpersonal skills
  • Meticulous attention to detail; strong planning and critical thinking skills with the ability to anticipate needs of key stakeholders
  • Enthusiasm for public service
  • Resolute integrity
  • Master’s or Ph.D. graduates with superior academic performance


  • Experience and/or familiarity with a range of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, ranging from ethnography and action research to socio-demographics and modeling.
  • Substantial familiarity with the state of the science in key areas such as energy justice, socio-technical transition, community-based research, deep decarbonization,
  • An advanced degree in an interdisciplinary field, with a focus on climate change, energy transition, and social sciences or related areas
  • Experience working with governance institutions, non-governmental groups, community-based organizations, and research institutions in the context of climate, environmental, or social justice issues.


The salary range is $64,718 - $84,204. Candidates will be considered based on qualifications and experience. An excellent benefits package is offered.

To Apply

Please submit one file that includes both your cover letter and resume here.

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