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Senior Research Associate

Program:Food, Forests, and Water Program

Location:Addis Ababa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Position Type:Regular full-time

About WRI

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. We are working to address six critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade in order to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water and sustainable cities.

We are passionate. We value our diversity of interests, skills and backgrounds. We have a flexible work environment. And we share a common goal to catalyze change that will improve the lives of people. Our shared ideals are at the core of our approach. They include: integrity, innovation, urgency, independence and respect.

The foundation of our work is delivering high-quality research, data, maps and analysis to solve the world’s greatest environment and international development challenges,and improve people’s lives. We work with leaders in government, business and civil society to drive ambitious action and create change on the ground. Equally important, we bring together partners to develop breakthrough ideas and scale-up solutions for far-reaching, enduring impact.

We have been growing rapidly: our staff has doubled in size over the past 5 years and our operating budget is now $100 million. Founded in 1982, WRI has a global staff of nearly 700 people with work spanning 50 countries. We have offices in Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States


In this role, you will lead the day-to-day engagement of the New Food and Land Use Economy Initiative (FOLU) “deep dive” in Ethiopia and be responsible for developing a national roadmap, catalyzing innovative financing and launching an action coalition that puts the country on a long-term path toward a more sustainable food and land use system.

FOLU, a global effort co-led by WRI and a suite of partners, is seeking to transform the global food and land use system to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change at global and local scales. At the global level, FOLU is identifying global pathways and science-based targets and developing a portfolio of business and financing solutions. At the local level, FOLU is launching locally-led “deep dives” to explore how to bring about such a transformation within a country. Colombia, Ethiopia and Indonesia are pioneering “deep-dive” countries, and discussions to expand to other countries are under way.

In Ethiopia, FOLU seeks to develop a New Food and Land-use Economy Action Roadmap that outlines a better growth path for the land use and food system sectors and establishes a coalition of government agencies, domestic and international private sector actors, local communities and municipalities, and domestic technical institutions supporting implementation of the roadmap. The roadmap and action coalition will be supported by:

  • A compelling analysis how Ethiopia can transform its economy, reach its economic growth and emission reduction targets put forward in national plans and programs, and achieve the associated land use, food system and sustainable and healthy diets/nutrition targets in selected geographies.
  • An investment portfolio for the selected geographies to accelerate a sustainable food and land use system transformation in Ethiopia.
  • A group of Ethiopian “ambassadors” to communicate roadmap recommendations and scale up proposed actions.

The position is full-time and based in WRI’s Addis Ababa office. You will manage the work of a research analyst in Addis Ababa office and will be a member of a virtual FOLU team with staff in London, Jakarta, Bogota, and Washington, DC.


Your main areas of responsibility will include the following:

Program/Project Management (55% of time required)

  • Leading the day-to-day engagement of the FOLU “deep-dive” in Ethiopia and managing the work of a research analyst in Addis Ababa office
  • Identifying a group of Ethiopian FOLU ambassadors that can contribute to roadmap development, communicate roadmap recommendations, and support scale up of proposed actions by action coalition
  • Serving as focal point for Ethiopian FOLU ambassadors and planning their engagement with target audiences
  • Setting up an action coalition consisting of members from public, business, and civil society organizations to implement roadmap
  • Serving as focal point and managing the meetings of an action coalition
  • Communicating progress on Ethiopian FOLU efforts to a general audience and setting up workshops and outreach events
  • Managing partnership (subgrant and contract) agreements that provide research and analytical support for the roadmap, financing plan, and other outputs
  • Monitoring and managing project budget performance, scoping progress according to planned milestones, expenses and revenue, and internal and donor reporting

Research & Knowledge: (40% of time required)

  • Identifying targets and spatial priorities for selected land use, food system and sustainable and healthy diet/nutrition options, based on an assessment of government plans and programs
  • Overseeing analytical work that makes an economic case for prioritized land use options and identifies new financing options
  • Editing and proofreading written material by others
  • Authoring or co-authoring sections for a national roadmap document that seeks to transform Ethiopia’s food and land use system
  • Preparing presentations and presenting FOLU findings to policymakers and other decision makers

Program Development (5% of time required)

  • Contributing to research proposals
  • Contributing to presentations and donor proposals
  • Serves as lead fundraiser on at least two successful proposals
  • Leverage new and maintains existing relationships with foundations, governments and individual donors
  • Develops and leads outreach/funding presentations to potential donors
  • Support the assigned program’s team members across countries and programs (strategy development, work planning, study tours, workshops, internal consultation processes)
  • Monitor and help evaluate program performance
  • Develop communications materials, concept notes, and timely content related to building efficiency trends and solutions
  • Develop, and manage others to develop, presentations for internal and external audiences 
  • Contributes to proposals and development efforts consistently in the six figure fundraising goal

Additionally, in keeping with WRI’s commitment to gender equity across our programs, the Associate will also be required to identify relevant gender issues, as determined through a gender analysis, and ensure adequate and effective attention to these issues in project and partner development, budgeting and management.


Required Qualifications:

  • Advanced degree (Masters or PhD) in economics, business administration, agriculture, environmental science, land use/land management, sustainable development or related fields
  • Minimum of 7 years of full-time work experience in relevant field, with leadership and program implementation experience and exposure to multicultural environments
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and manage partnerships or establish new coalitions
  • Extensive experience working with technical and policy staff within Ethiopian government and successful partnerships with national and international public and private institutions
  • Ability to think creatively when encountering obstacles or exploring uncharted territory
  • Highly responsible, self-motivated, and ability to work calmly and enthusiastically under tight timelines
  • Demonstrated ability to work both independently as well as part of an interdisciplinary team
  • Strong project management skills and commitment to deliver on deadlines
  • Demonstrated ability to synthesize and present complex information in a clear and concise manner
  • Exceptionally good communication and interpersonal skills including fluency in English (oral and written) and Amharic (oral) 

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with climate resilient green economy issues in Ethiopia
  • Experience with land use and food systems thinking
  • Experience with external communications

How to Apply

Qualified applicants must apply online at to be considered.

The World Resources Institute ( is an environmental and development research and policy organization that creates solutions to protect the Earth and improve people’s lives. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, it is WRI’s policy to recruit, hire, and provide opportunities for advancement in all job classifications without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, protected veteran status, or disability. WRI’s global agenda requires a staff that is diverse – with respect to race, gender, cultural, and international background. Diverse perspectives and experience enhance the way WRI selects and approaches issues, as well as the creativity and applicability of WRI's policy research and analysis. WRI, therefore, encourages applications from U.S. minorities, persons from other countries (especially developing nations), and from women of all backgrounds.


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