Director, Research Department



Global Footprint Network is a growing, international non-profit organization that promotes a sustainable economy by advancing the Ecological Footprint, a tool that makes human demand on nature measurable. The Ecological Footprint has become one of the most widely used policy metrics in the world, the only tool that comprehensively measures human demand on the planet against what the planet can supply. It is increasingly being applied by governments and investors to guide decision making in an ecologically constrained world.

Position Summary

We are currently seeking to hire a director to spearhead the development of our core technical programs, encompassing two groups: resource accounting and socio-economic implications. The focus of this position includes managing the scientific development of the Ecological Footprint method and related accounting methods and metrics, fostering the consistent and rigorous use throughout the world, and driving the growing relevance, robustness and utility of these tools. The ideal candidate will be a seasoned manager, skilled facilitator who can build consensus and enthusiasm among diverse scientific and analytical communities, and will have a proven track record of leadership during a period of growth.

The department is currently comprised of 10 researchers in the Oakland and Geneva offices, plus consultants and interns.


As a director, this position works closely with Global Footprint Network’s President, CEO and the other department directors to drive the success of the organization. S/he is also responsible for the effective performance and contribution of the Research Department. S/he directly reports to the President.

S/he develops department strategies and priorities in collaboration with the other department directors, guides technical programs, is responsible for leading projects with governments, scientific organizations, companies, and consultancies, provides strategic oversight of quality assurance, including projects, research, and standards development, and fosters consensus building among staff, partners, and the scientific community on methodological and research issues.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Leads the annual planning process for our technical programs and ensures the successful accomplishment of program goals.
  • Supervises the science team in the development and implementation of the National Footprint Accounts, additional metric and the socio-economic research agenda, and drives quality assurance.
  • Drives the standards development process and fosters consensus building among staff, partners and the scientific community on methodological and research issues.
  • Develops and supervises research collaborations and other strategic projects with governments, academic institutions and partners and provides strategic and implementation oversight.
  • Ensures the successful delivery of technical projects by supporting project managers in meeting goals, and by engaging directly with partners in high visibility or politically sensitive projects. This includes guiding and overseeing quality assurance.
  • Works with External Affairs (the project development and fundraising team) to secure funding for our technical programs.
  • In collaboration with executive staff, develops and implements new scientific and technical tools that address the needs of our key constituencies.


  • Minimum of seven years management experience in consulting, government and/or business.
  • Advanced degree (Ph.D or Masters) in related field, such as environmental science, environmental or natural resource management, engineering, econometrics, macro-economics or ecological economics.
  • Proven success at leading teams and mentoring and developing staff.
  • Track record of successfully managing large projects.
  • Quantitative skills and experience with quality assurance.
  • Passion for sustainable development and expertise in global resource issues.
  • Interest in teaching and curriculum design.
  • Effective academic relationships and a track record of scientific publications.
  • Experience with Input-Output Analysis, large scale database management, statistics, scenario modeling, and applied policy analysis.
  • Fluency in European languages a plus.
  • Experience working with governments is a plus.
  • Willingness to travel.


This job entails a modest amount of international travel.

Salary and Benefits

Salary is commensurate with experience. Health insurance, 403(b) and other benefits are provided. Our collegial, open-plan office is located two blocks from Jack London Square with good transit access. Our communal lunches are light-hearted and often delicious.


To apply, send a resume and a cover letter that outlines your career goals and why you would be suitable for this position to; subject line MUST include the term “Director, Research Department”.

Global Footprint Network is committed to diversity in the workplace. For more information about Global Footprint Network and the Ecological Footprint visit:


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