Research Fellow-University of Chicago Energy and Environment Lab

University of Chicago Urban Labs
Washington, DC
Mar 05, 2017
Apr 01, 2017
Analyst, Research
Education, Nonprofit
Full Time

Title: Research Fellow

Start Date: ASAP

Location: Washington, DC

Who We Are

The University of Chicago Energy and Environment Lab focuses on identifying and testing ways to solve the world's most urgent energy and environmental challenges through cost effective and scalable programs or policies. Our goal is to assemble a portfolio of knowledge (using a variety of empirical methods ranging from "big data" and machine learning tools to randomized controlled trials) to generate new evidence about what works, for whom, and why, and to conduct benefit-cost analyses of different interventions to enable policymakers to prioritize resources for the combination of strategies that achieve the greatest social good per dollar spent.

In addition to carrying out the work above, the University of Chicago Energy and Environment Lab also, on occasion, conducts pro bono technical assistance to government agencies looking for rigorous data analysis and research support. The nature of our work as partners with government agencies requires adjusting to the pace of policymakers' work. This way of working is atypical for most research organizations, but gives us an unprecedented opportunity to partner with policymakers to help them maximize the positive impact of policies and programs that can improve lives and the environment. For more information on the Energy and Environment Lab go to:

The Role

The University of Chicago Energy and Environment Lab is seeking a Research Fellow with strong research, methodological, and programming skills to sit in Washington D.C. at the office of a U.S. government federal agency partner and support a number of social policy research projects that we are working on in partnership with them. The Research Fellow will have the opportunity to apply tools and approaches from methodologies in both traditional econometrics and modern data science to research projects that are expected to improve environmental outcomes. In addition to supporting field-based randomized controlled trials, the Research Fellow will contribute to a growing practice of advanced analytical solutions to provide data-driven technical assistance to the Federal agency.

The successful candidate will have experience in applying a variety of statistical modeling and data science approaches to large datasets in real-world settings. This position requires an individual who is able to work effectively as a part of both research and government agency teams running multiple projects concurrently. The position offers the opportunity to work directly with leading social policy researchers at the University of Chicago and government agency staff in Washington DC and across the country, as well as a team of administrative staff, project managers, and student research assistants.

The Fellowship will provide an outstanding opportunity to gain a rich understanding of energy and environmental policy while developing the analytic toolkit needed to conduct rigorous policy research. Importantly, high-performing Fellows will have the opportunity to apply for a full-time position with the Energy and Environment Lab following the completion of the summer fellowship.

The Fellowship will be a full-time position beginning ASAP, or at the Fellow's earliest convenience. The Fellow will spend the first two weeks based in Chicago at the Urban Labs office located at 33 N. LaSalle. And, the rest of the time will be based in Washington D.C. in the office of our Federal agency partner.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Works with Federal agency to identify analytical approaches to solve specific practical and research questions and develops scope of work
  • Builds traditional statistical models and machine learning algorithms for a variety of research projects
  • Works with Federal agency to support in-house efforts to build additional advanced data analytics capacity across the organization
  • Cleans, merges, and matches data, and runs sampling and randomization across multiple projects
  • Prepares results for memos, spreadsheets, and presentations targeting both policymakers and academic researchers
  • Assists with literature reviews and drafting papers
  • Assists in writing grant proposals, preparing IRB proposals, and obtaining other research permits
  • Other duties as assigned


Bachelor's degree economics, public policy, computer science, or a closely related field required; advanced degree preferred.


A minimum of one year of relevant research experience required. Experience gained in school counts towards requirement.

Experience working with one or more languages such as R, Python, Stata, SAS required.

Experience working with large and complex datasets strongly preferred.

Experience working on field experiments preferred.

Experience working with GIS and UNIX servers preferred.

Familiarity with randomized controlled trials preferred.


Strong interest in social policy required.

Strong background in applied statistics & modeling required.

Strong written and verbal communication skills required.

Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously and meet tight deadlines required.

Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail required.

Ability to work both independently and as a team member required.

Ability to work discretely with sensitive and confidential data required.

To Apply:

If interested submit a resume and cover letter to Faidat Brimah,

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