Open position – Research Lead, Sustainable Consumption and Production

We have an exciting open position to lead our research in our Sustainable Consumption and Production workstream

With 3 billion people set to enter the middle class in the next 30 years, how we consume and what we produce will define sustainability.

This future reality not only demands that we develop alternative approaches but also that we adapt our current systems of consumption and production in order to build a resilient society that responds to the natural systems upon which it depends. Innovations are needed in business models, public policies and expenditures, regulatory and fiscal mechanisms, construction and building standards, education systems and lifestyles choices.

The research and synthesis we produce informs policies and practices that will reduce humanity’s footprint, increase sustainability, and increasing resource-use efficiency. Current research in this area includes efforts to plot a course toward low-carbon and sustainable economies, work exploring the impact of commodity certification standards, and research examining the role of cities in reducing global footprint.

Position title:

Research Lead: Sustainable Production and Consumption @ Luc Hoffmann Institute

The Luc Hoffmann Institute is an independent research hub at WWF. The aim is to explore complex conservation research questions and work with the WWF global network and partners from leading academic institutions, think tanks and organisations from the public and private sector, to bring science to action. We conduct research through interdisciplinary collaborative research teams and post-doctoral Luc Hoffmann Fellows aimed at delivering solutions, tools, and knowledge to the conservation community, policy and decision-makers.

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Major Functions:

Research at the Luc Hoffmann Institute is divided into three primary programmes, called workstreams, each staffed by a research lead.

The research lead of each workstream is responsible for developing and managing a portfolio of collaborative research focused on the major topics within the workstream, linking synergies within workstream projects, allocating core funding among projects, maintaining workstream budgets, and working with other Luc Hoffmann Institute staff, WWF network offices, and external collaborators to secure external funding for collaborative projects.

The research leads work together, and with the Luc Hoffmann Institute director, to build the research portfolio of the institute, advance both academic and non-academic products coming from the research, connect with the global WWF network to assess the research needs of major WWF conservation programmes, and monitor and evaluate the impact of the work we produce.

In addition, the lead researcher for each workstream serves as a mentor for the Luc Hoffmann Institute post-doctoral fellows working on projects within their workstream.

Each research lead also works closely with the Global Science Communications Manager, and their expert connections within their workstream, to help build a robust, dynamic science communications promoting the research of the workstream and at the institute.

Lead researchers are thus central to the productivity and direction of the institute as they are the content experts working as thought leaders, scientists, science communicators, and programme managers.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Develop and manage a series of research partnerships integrating experts and programmes within WWF, focused in sustainable consumption and production, with leading academics and researchers outside of WWF. These collaborations will lead to co-created research products, tools, and processes that can advance science-based conservation within and beyond WWF;
  • Develop one or more research focal areas within the work-stream, preferably building off of existing research projects focused on the efficacy of commodity certification, sustainable cities, the development and use of trade-flow research (e.g. MRIO models) or the sustainable management of international growth corridors;
  • Develop and maintain an understanding of the current and planned Sustainable Consumption and Production work around the WWF network; act as a research liaison between LHI and key research trends, WWF experts, and thought leaders that could aide, review, critique, and improve the scientific basis for conservation in these fields;
  • Plan and manage workstream finances, and work collaboratively to build funding opportunities to support collaborative research within the workstream;
  • Work with other Luc Hoffmann Institute staff to implement an impact evaluation process for all projects, using both conservation and academic metrics of success;
  • Maintain an research-active status, through participation in project and portfolio related peer-reviewed research;
  • Assist with the development of science-advisory groups for key WWF programmes working within Sustainable Consumption and Production.

Required Qualifications:

  • PhD in a relevant field (e.g. biophysical sciences, social sciences, economics, urban planning, industrial ecology, life-cycle analyses);
  • Strong background in quantitative techniques, with experience in the management, analysis and synthesis of large heterogeneous data sets;
  • Minimum of 3 years experience (including but not limited to post-doctoral experience) working in relevant field of employment, preferably at the international level;
  • Experience in project management, developing partnerships, managing multidisciplinary teams and managing remote teams;
  • Experience in research, analysis and synthesis within one or more fields directly related to sustainable consumption and production systems;
  • Experience with diverse funding agencies and funding structures;
  • Available for international travel, up to 25% of the time.

Required Skills and Competencies:

  • Ability and enthusiasm for on-deadline, team-oriented short timeline tasks;
  • Fluency in English;
  • Discretion, reliability, flexibility, accuracy;
  • Ability to work in multicultural environment;
  • Capacity to work independently and in an intense team environment;
  • Exceptional people skills;
  • Excellent organisational skills;
  • A good sense of humour;
  • Adheres to WWF’s values, which are: Knowledgeable, Optimistic, Determined and Engaging.

Desirable Skills and Competencies:

  • Some preference will be given to for exceptional candidates with disciplinary knowledge within the biophysical sciences, to balance our current strengths in Environmental Economics and Social Sciences;
  • Facilitation skills;
  • Fluency in multiple languages.


    Gland, Switzerland.

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Luc Hoffmann InstituteOpen position – Research Lead, Sustainable Consumption and Production