Director, Research, Data & Innovation (RDI) China
In this role, you will foster a culture of research excellence and ensure high quality research for WRI’s Beijing Representative Office in China. Working closely with our Global Science and Research (RDI) team, you will lead the peer review process for our knowledge products in China, as well as mentor staff, develop and provide training, and ensure that our strategies are evidence-based and contribute to achieving our goals.
All WRI-branded knowledge products are required to go through a rigorous, centralized peer review process, involving both internal and external experts, to help ensure quality, accuracy, institutional coherence, and a lack of bias in our research. WRI measures the success of publications and data products in terms of the quality of research and its ability to drive change in the world in ways that support our mission.
The successful candidate will derive satisfaction from helping others to succeed. You will have strong analytical skills, cross-disciplinary experience, management skills, and a passion for environment and development issues. You will use expert judgment to approve publications and will stand up for quality. The successful candidate must ensure sound research practices.
This is a full-time position and has following primary functions:
- Create a strong culture of research excellence across the organization, working closely with the WRI China Chief Representative, Deputy Country Director and the Global Research, Data & Innovation team
- Ensure that all WRI China-branded knowledge products meet WRI’s quality standards and are designed to deliver actionable results
- Strengthen WRI China’s capacity to conduct high-quality, actionable research by providing guidance on research design, data interpretation, analytical issues, and effective writing
- Build partnerships within academia and external subject matter experts to bring in all-round perspectives within WRI China publications and research outputs
Create a strong culture of research excellence
- Ensure that the links between research and outcomes are understood by all program staff and pursued as an integral part of strategies to drive sustainable outcomes.
- Foster a learning culture where constructive criticism and candor are highly valued and staff feel empowered to speak up and discuss failures.
- Ensure organizational incentives are aligned with promoting high-quality research.
Ensure that all WRI China-branded knowledge products meet WRI’s quality standards and are designed to deliver actionable results
- Work with the WRI China Chief Representative, Deputy Country Director and the Global Research, Data & Innovation team to oversee the peer review process for WRI China-branded publications
- Provide feedback to authors on research design and the provision of robust evidence that is fit for key audiences—including policymakers, businesses, multilateral development organizations—and coherent with other research and publications at WRI
- Review WRI China publications and data products to determine whether they meet WRI’s research standards and approve them for publication
- Assist research staff in identifying external experts who can provide objective, relevant reviews of drafts
- Liaise with Communications and the Data Lab at WRI Global to ensure that WRI’s data platforms and data products comply with WRI’s developing data ethics standards, in addition to supporting WRI’s commitment to Open Data.
Strengthen WRI China’s capacity to conduct high-quality actionable research
- Manage the China RDI team/working groups and provide support to program staff on how to produce high-quality work, including research design, data interpretation, analytical issues, and effective writing
- Identify skills gaps and contribute to the development of RDI research training modules to address those gaps
- Create a regular series of early research seminars to provide early feedback to researchers, connect the dots across programs, and foster a culture of openness to feedback
- Participate in training of research-focused staff by providing support to staff on research design, data interpretation, analytical issues, and effective writing
- Provide feedback on research components of fundraising proposals
- Master's degree (Ph.D. preferred) in a discipline related to environment or development, with strong methodological skills in social sciences, natural sciences, urban planning or related fields. Minimum of ten years of experience in conducting policy research related to environment and/or development and at least five-years overseeing junior researchers
- Proven track record of conducting and overseeing research that translates into policy and practice.
- Track record of producing and overseeing high-quality research
- Strong strategic thinking, planning, and management skills
- Demonstrated knowledge of specific research methods, quantitative or qualitative, and ability to communicate those methods clearly to diverse colleagues
- Sound judgment and the ability to uphold high quality standards. Strong sense of skepticism and the ability to diagnose and articulate weaknesses in research
- Demonstrated ability to mentor staff, give constructive feedback and clearly explain the reasoning behind decisions
- Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work in a fast-paced environment in a collegial fashion as part of a small, collaborative team
- International experience strongly preferred
- Natural curiosity and interest in keeping current with the latest science and policies relevant to WRI China’s work
- Native speaker of Mandarin, good knowledge of English. Excellent writing skills in both languages
How to Apply
Submission of a cover letter and CV/resume is required. Final candidates will be invited to provide a rapid review of a sample draft in both Mandarin and English.
Applicants must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered.