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Atkinson Postdoctoral Fellow, Seaweed Product Impact

Environmental Defense Fund
Hybrid position with choice of location either at Cornell University or EDF’s San Francisco office
Closing date
Feb 19, 2023

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Ocean Science
Career Level
Student / Graduate
Education Level
Job Type
Relocation Cost
No Relocation
Sector Type
Non-Government Organization/Non-Profit

Job Details

Put your passion and skills to work for the planet. Climate change is the most urgent issue of our time, and we need people like you to help us build a vital Earth — for everyone.

We’re Environmental Defense Fund, a fast-paced nonprofit with a growing staff of more than 1,000 people in nearly 30 countries. We deliver game-changing solutions that cut climate pollution and strengthen people’s ability to thrive despite the effects climate change is already having. We work wherever we can have the most impact, from local communities to top companies to governments worldwide, and even in space.

Our culturevalues and commitment to diversity make EDF an exciting and meaningful place to work. Every job here makes a difference. Won’t you join us?

Program Overview

Healthy oceans are the lifeblood of our planet. But they’re in peril – from climate change, overfishing, habitat destruction and other threats. That’s why EDF’s Climate Resilient Fisheries and Oceans program is working to safeguard the oceans and protect nature, while feeding the planet, creating more secure livelihoods and bolstering more equitable societies for human well-being. One of the greatest threats to the oceans is climate change, which is why our dedicated team of scientists, economists and fishery management experts are collaborating with partners around the globe to make sustainable ocean-based foods the norm. Through our programs in the U.S., Latin America, and Asia Pacific, we draw on strong science and economic principles to advance sustainable blue food systems, forward-looking policies and innovative tools that support the health of our oceans and the people who depend on them for food and their livelihoods.

Overall Function

The Atkinson Postdoctoral Fellow will conduct life cycle analyses (LCAs) on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with farming seaweed and using the yield in various ways. The fellow will focus on evaluating the most promising seaweed products from a demonstration seaweed-mussel farm in Cabalian Bay, Philippines, with respect to sequestering carbon and avoiding GHG emissions, accounting for emissions associated with farming inputs, processing and manufacturing, logistics, product use, and replacement of conventional GHG-intensive products. The LCAs will focus on the cumulative energy demand, global warming potential, and Product Environmental Footprint. The Fellow will also leverage state-of-the-art life cycle inventory databases, such as ecoinvent, to collect required data, and perform systems-level integration, energy optimization, and process modeling that explores the energy, economic, and ecological efficiency limits of each pathway. This work will result in original publishable research, “in-house” analyses for use by other EDF staff and the You Research Group at Cornell, and other communications aimed at policy makers, journalists, communities near the demonstration farm, and the public at large.

The fellow will be employed by EDF, supervised by an EDF scientist, and will work closely with Cornell University mentor Dr. Fengqi You.

Key Responsibilities

Tasks will include but are not limited to:

  • Conduct comparative Life Cycle Analyses on seaweed farming operations, seaweed products, and the corresponding conventional products that they could replace.
  • Quantify the GHG footprint of three or more seaweed product pathways.
  • Identify additional potential pathways for using seaweed in GHG reduction, both broadly and in the context of the demonstration farm, that emerge over the course of this research.
  • Lead and participate in the preparation of manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals and, where appropriate, reports/fact sheets/blog posts for general audiences on the topic of focus.
  • Become familiar with and keep up-to-date on the relevant scientific literature and policy contexts surrounding seaweed products and regenerative aquaculture.
  • Represent EDF and Cornell in external meetings with a high degree of professionalism.
  • Participate in advancing EDF Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion goals in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected, included, and empowered to address the environmental and organizational challenges in alignment with EDF values.
  • This position may require work-related travel to the Philippines for approximately one month.


  • A recent Ph.D. in Earth System Science, Chemistry, Biogeochemistry, Materials Science, Ecology, Environmental Science, Bioengineering or a relevant specialty suitable for performing life cycle analyses.
  • Experience conducting life cycle analyses and familiarity with LCA software such as OpenLCA.
  • Experience conducting systems-level integration, energy optimization, process modeling, cumulative energy demand, global warming potential, or Product Environmental Footprint.
  • Strong quantitative skills in statistical analysis and modeling of greenhouse gases or environmental impacts.
  • Familiarity with life cycle inventory databases such as ecoinvent or statistical modeling language such as Python is a plus.
  • A track record of relevant research including peer-reviewed publications and presentations at scientific conferences, including at least one peer-reviewed publication involving LCA.
  • Demonstrate excellence in rigorous scientific analyses and in oral and written communication of scientific concepts to general audiences.
  • Intellectual agility and comfort working in an inter-disciplinary setting and learning new skills.
  • Ability to work independently, using independent judgment to plan, prioritize, and organize workload in a fast-paced environment.
  • An interest and commitment to solving environmental problems through collaborative projects based on rigorous science and solutions-focused approaches.
  • Demonstrate self-awareness, cultural competency and inclusivity, and ability to work with colleagues and stakeholders across diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  • Demonstrate initiative and problem solving skills.


This is a hybrid position with choice of location either at Cornell University or in EDF’s San Francisco office. The fellow will be given access to Cornell library and EDF’s remote technology and internal resource networks.


This is a 2-year Fellowship with an anticipated start date between July 1 and September 1, 2023.

Application Materials

Interested applicants should apply on our website ( attach their CV and cover letter with their EDF application. The cover letter (< 1000 words) should include a description of the candidate’s experience in life cycle analyses or evaluating the climate and environmental impacts of regenerative products. The applicant should also provide a paper that they have authored describing LCAs.

Hiring Range

We offer a strong total rewards package encompassing competitive salary, robust benefits, and professional development opportunities consistent with a modern global organization.

The pay range for this role is 68,250 - 68,250 USD which takes into account factors such as candidate experience, skills, training, internal team equity and local norms.

Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant's qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.


With world attention focused on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. This leading green group, with programs from Boston to Beijing, has tripled in size over the past decade by focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches. You can be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and a focus on results are a way of life.

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