Senior Research Associate

National Congress of American Indians - Institute for Environmental Sovereignty
Job Type
Deadline for Applications
How to Apply
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Where to Apply

Job Summary:

The Senior Research Associate will design and manage research projects for the NCAI Institute for Environmental Sovereignty. The ideal candidate is a mid-career social scientist experienced in formulating research questions; designing, managing, and analyzing large-scale and focused surveys; developing evidence-based questionnaires; directing and participating in qualitative and quantitative data collection methodologies; carrying out statistical analysis; developing recommendations in response to current and emerging policy issues that are priorities for NCAI’s constituencies; writing reports, briefs, toolkits, and other materials intended for an audience of policymakers and environmental/natural resource program managers; and delivering presentations and trainings. Candidates will have a passion for serving Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities and is ready to lead projects evaluating the impacts of existing and proposed tribal, federal, state, and local environment/natural resource policies and programs on Tribal Nations and their citizens.

The Institute for Environmental Sovereignty’s mission is to advance Tribal Nations’ leadership in natural resource governance and environmental stewardship; the safeguarding of Indigenous peoples’ cultural heritage linked to the landscape and natural environment; and innovative Indigenous-led approaches to environmental protection. The Institute carries out this mission through its core objectives: (1) tracking environmental matters of greatest concern to Indian Country; (2) carrying out in-depth research and analysis of environmental and natural resource policy, law, programs, and action, at all levels and types of government, which impact Indian Country, treaty resources, cultural heritage, and tribal communities’ health and wellness; (3) advocating for greater tribal sovereignty over, and stewardship of critically important natural resources; and (4) convening Tribal Nation leaders, partners, and supporters around Indian Country’s greatest environmental problems, solutions, and promising opportunities to create communities of practice.


Under the direction of NCAI’s Director of the Institute for Environmental Sovereignty, the primary duties of the Senior Research Associate include but are not limited to:

Design and conduct qualitative and quantitative/statistical research analysis in various Institute research priority areas, focused on environmental protection and natural resource management
Collaborate with tribal, federal, state, and local government agencies and officials; organizations serving Indigenous governments and communities; and technical experts
Prepare and collaborate in developing reports, white papers, journal manuscripts, issue briefs, technical documents, toolkits, and presentation materials
Draw from Indigenous and Western evaluation frameworks to develop and implement culturally responsive evaluation approaches
Lead community engagement, action research, and/or other strategies to implement studies in partnership with Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities
Conduct needs assessments and collect primary data through surveys, interviews, and/or focus groups, and secondary data collection from external databases and public sources
Develop and deliver in-person and virtual presentations and trainings
Contribute to grant writing in support of the Institute, including drafting letters of intent, concept notes, and proposals
Travel in order to staff NCAI’s three major conferences that take place each calendar year, and occasional travel for site visits, meetings, and representing the Institute at conferences, including providing presentations on Institute projects when required
Required Skills/Abilities:

Competent in managing and undertaking quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method research
Expertise in quantitative and statistical analyses and interpretation of data, good command of utilizing statistical software packages (i.e., SPSS, Stata, SAS), qualitative data analysis software packages (i.e., nVivo, Atlas.ti, Dedoose, MAXQDA), as well as conducting literature reviews and environmental scans
Strong organizational, analytical, and time-management skills, and effective decision-making abilities
Excellent writing skills and experience developing clear and concise documents aimed at a variety of audiences (i.e., policymakers, legal experts, the general public) and producing high-quality work under time constraints
Ability to work both individually and collaboratively with a team, including training and supervising others (professional staff or graduate/undergraduate-level interns)
Experience managing projects, tasks, and teams
Adherence to the strictest ethical standards and procedures for carrying out research and protecting any confidential information at all times
Demonstrable proficiency with Microsoft Office tools and/or Google Workspace
Education and Experience:

Post-secondary degree in the social/environmental sciences or a related discipline. Minimum master’s degree with 10+ years of experience, or a Ph.D. with 5+ years of experience
Demonstrated experience in the Indigenous/federal Indian policy or socio-economic research field
Demonstrated experience leading the development and implementation of research designs, data collection plans, and analyses
Experience leading community-engaged research processes
Experience with data collection, administering surveys, interviews, or focus groups
Demonstrated history working collaboratively with Tribal Nations and/or Indigenous communities in an evaluation or research capacity is preferred
Experience engaging with tribal, federal, state, and/or local government agencies in data collection activities is preferred
In-depth knowledge of the diversity of Indigenous communities and tribal sovereignty is preferred
Familiarity with environmental, natural resource, or cultural resource matters significant to Tribal Nations or Indigenous communities is preferred
Physical Requirements:

Prolonged periods sitting at a desk and working on a computer.
Must be able to lift up to 15 pounds at times.
Supervisory Responsibilities: None

Compensation: Salary range is $90,000 – $120,000. commensurate with experience and educational qualifications

Work Hours and Environment:

This is a Forty (40) hours per calendar week position, fifty-two (52) weeks per calendar year; provided, however, during the time periods leading up to, during, and immediately following NCAI conferences and similar events, involvement up to Sixty (60) hours per week may be required.
Remote Eligible