Kendall Fellowship: Protecting Carbon in Boreal Forests

Union of Concerned Scientists
Cambridge, Massachusetts
$72,000 - $82,000 dependent upon post-doctoral work experience plus a generous benefits package.
Mar 28, 2018
Apr 27, 2018
“Boreal Forest Kendall Fellowship"
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Kendall Fellowship: Protecting Carbon in Boreal Forests

Union of Concerned Scientists
Cambridge, MA Office

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the leading science-based organization at the center of today’s most exciting and important policy debates, seeks outstanding candidates for a new Kendall Science Fellowship. This two-year fellowship is open to candidates who will have completed their PhD degree before September 2018. The fellow will conduct a two-year research project that brings new science to bear on how Alaska wildfire mitigation can help to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the US by mid-century. Research findings will fill critical data and knowledge gaps, serve as the basis for engaging key stakeholders at the state and federal levels, and build demand for strategies that address and limit the climate disruption of Alaska’s vast forest carbon stocks. UCS is partnering with the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) in this project, and there will be extensive opportunities for engagement with WHRC researchers and their scientific partners.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is an independent national nonprofit whose scientists and engineers work to solve some of our planet’s most pressing environmental and safety problems. UCS combines technical analysis and effective organizing and advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for stemming the tide of global warming, sustainable food policy and agriculture, energy and transportation, fighting misinformation and reducing the threat of catastrophic nuclear war.


Through research that may include literature review and data collection, spatially-explicit modeling of the costs associated with boreal forest fire management, cost-benefit analysis of fire management for carbon mitigation compared to other mitigation efforts, and assessment of fire management potential in Alaska, the Kendall Fellow will undertake a two-year project to:

  • Quantify the extent of the threat posed by emissions release from forest fires in Alaska in the context of the US meeting its 2025 and 2050 greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals;
  • Evaluate whether, and to what degree, public investments in reducing the risk and severity of Alaska wildfires can be a cost-effective approach to minimizing the emissions from existing forest carbon stocks;
  • Integrate information on current and projected impact of fire regimes on Alaska’s carbon balance and the economics, strategies, and policy framework of fire management in the context of other potential climate mitigation options for the US.
  • Communicate research results with the media, policymakers, and the public.

Qualifications and experience

The successful applicant will possess significant knowledge of climate change, forest carbon cycles, and modeling. The fellow should be able to demonstrate research experience that can be applied to the stated goals of the fellowship, either specifically on boreal forests & wildfires, or in a related field of study. In addition, strong written and verbal communications skills are required. Knowledge of, or experience in, boreal forest systems and their management and/or fire mitigation economics and policy would be highly valued.

A PhD is required. At a minimum, a PhD in a relevant field must be completed before September 1, 2018. Expertise and advanced degrees in climate or atmospheric science, carbon cycle dynamics, forest economics or forest ecology are preferred.

The Fellow is likely to spend a significant portion (20-45%) of their time located at the offices of our project partner, WHRC, in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Travel for meetings & workshops with partners and research colleagues is expected (including, potentially, in Alaska), and some travel for education/outreach/advocacy efforts is probable.

UCS is an equal opportunity employer continually seeking to diversify its staff. In particular, we’re dedicated to broadening opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences and in environmental advocacy. We’re also committed to building an inclusive workplace culture where talented people of widely diverse backgrounds can thrive. We've adopted this commitment because we believe the inclusion of culturally diverse perspectives will improve our work and produce better societal and environmental outcomes for all, including historically disenfranchised communities. We are actively seeking people who bring diverse backgrounds and perspectives to join us in this work.

About the Kendall Science Fellows Program

The Kendall Science Fellows Program was established to honor Nobel Prize-winning physicist Henry Kendall who was with UCS from our beginnings and was the long-time chair of our board. Kendall was known for his unique ability to shake up the status quo and catalyze new thinking, and UCS looks to Kendall Fellows to do the same. Kendall Fellows work on innovative and forward-looking policy-relevant research. Fellows benefit from the opportunity to learn from the UCS approach to science and policy, and UCS benefits from the new approaches and expertise of the Kendall Fellows. More information on the Kendall Science Fellows Program is available at

Compensation, Hours and Location: This is a full-time, two-year position based in UCS’s Cambridge, Massachusetts office. The Fellow is expected to spend 20-45% of their time working from the offices of our project partner, The Woods Hole Research Center, in Falmouth, Massachusetts. The fellowship will begin October 2018. UCS offers excellent benefits and a rewarding work environment. Information about UCS is available at

To Apply: Please email a short application, including a cover letter (no more than 2 pages) that describes your interest & qualifications for this project, curriculum vitae, and two references to including “Boreal Forest Kendall Fellowship” in the subject line. Send materials in Word or PDF format only. No phone calls please.  Review of applications will begin on April 18, 2018 and will continue to be accepted until the position is filled.