Resources for the Future (RFF) has an immediate opening for a Research Assistant (RA) position in the Energy and Climate Program. We anticipate that the successful candidate will have an undergraduate or graduate degree in engineering, computer science, economics, or a related field.
RFF is an independent, non-profit research institution in Washington, DC whose mission is to improve environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement (see www.rff.org).
Research assistants at RFF provide strong preparation for doctoral programs and for research and analytical jobs, such as in academia and consulting. The work of RAs and their colleagues at RFF is often published in academic journals, and many former RAs have successfully obtained graduate degrees in the most selective Ph.D. programs in their fields. In this job, the RA will be able to develop skills and expertise highly valued in consulting, industry, and computer programming jobs, as well as in academia. We initially offer a one-year appointment renewable for a second year.
The RA will help extend, develop and apply simulation models, with guidance from senior staff. Primary activity will involve the ongoing development and support of simulation modeling in the electricity sector, general equilibrium modeling, or the development of one or more new models to support research. RFF maintains two electricity sector models using different software and conceptual approaches. The Haiku model is a perfect foresight capacity expansion and policy simulation model. The Engineering, Economic, and Environmental Electricity Simulation Tool (E4ST) is a recursive model with relatively greater detail on the transmission system. A third model, E3) is a general equilibrium model of the U.S. with state and regional-based applications now in development. All are used to project the economic and environmental effects of energy and environmental policies and other government activities or major changes in economic conditions. Which model or models the applicant works with will depend in part on the applicant’s skills and background and on research and policy priorities and funding. We expect that the RA will be engaged in all or most of the following activities:
Understand, use, update, and improve the HAIKU, E4ST or E3 software, the extensive associated input datasets, and their documentation.
Interpret, check, and use model outputs.
Participate in analysis and writing for support of journal papers, memos, and presentations that use one or more of the models. This will evolve toward an increasing role as an author.
The RA may also be asked to participate in other RFF research work.
We are looking for applicants with the following skills:
Undergraduate or graduate degree in engineering, computer science, economics, or a related field.
Software development. The RA will have to understand, use, maintain, modify, and add features to the extensive code that makes up one or more of the models at RFF. The Haiku and E3 models are written in GAMS; E4ST is written in MATLAB.
Basic understanding of constrained linear optimization, mixed complementarity programming, computable general equilibrium modeling, or a combination. Drawing on principles of optimization, the RA will have to be able to interpret the results and check for results that might indicate a problem.
Knowledge of STATA is also valuable.
Ability to work with and without supervision in a careful and conscientious manner.
Ability to communicate clearly in writing.
Training in electrical engineering is a plus.
Training in economics is a plus.
Salary and Benefits
Salary is competitive (high $40Ks, depending on qualifications). Benefits include a collegial environment, 10 days annual leave, 13 days sick leave, 3 days family medical leave, 10 holidays, medical insurance, educational assistance, and commuter benefits.
Please note that (i) this position is not a Ph.D. level research position and (ii) we look for candidates already authorized to work and live in the U.S. For other Research Assistant openings, follow our career opportunities website.
All applications must be submitted electronically. To apply, please go to http://www.rff.org/about/careers and follow the link “2019 Energy and Climate Research Assistant.” You are requested to upload:
Cover letter indicating your interest in the RA position, your availability, and any important information about your qualifications that is not contained in your resume
Resume summarizing your qualifications for the position
Copy of your post-secondary academic transcript(s) (unofficial transcripts are acceptable at this stage)
Complete contact information for three references in that section of the application
Please include your first and last name in each file name. You are also required to respond to all of the proficiency questions. Saying No to any of these skills will not automatically lead to rejection of your application, however, we will not review any applications that leave any of these questions blank.
Due to the anticipated volume of responses, we will be unable to accept telephone calls or emails.
RFF is an equal opportunity employer. Women and minority candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.