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Postdoctoral Fellow

Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy at American University
Washington D.C.
Closing date
Jan 5, 2024

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Position Type
Non-Tenure Track
General Anthropology
Full Time
Organization Type
Level of Experience


The School of International Service (SIS) at American University (AU) invites applications for a full-time, 18-month Postdoctoral Fellow. We especially encourage applications from individuals from sectors of the population historically underrepresented on the professorial faculties of U.S. colleges and universities. The position begins on January 15, 2024. There is the possibility of renewal for 18 months, pending funding. Review of applications will begin on December 1, 2023 and will continue until the position is filled.

American University’s Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy (ICRLP - the Institute) invites applications for a Postdoctoral Fellow focusing on the social science of emerging carbon removal approaches. Based at the School of International Service at American University in Washington DC, the Institute researches the social, legal, ethical, and political implications of carbon removal technologies and practices. ‘Carbon removal’ encompasses a set of technologies and/or systems to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and durably store it. As growing scientific consensus suggests that carbon removal will be required to meet climate targets, attention to carbon removal, too, has grown. However, not all forms of carbon removal are created equal. The Institute works to understand what is required to ensure that carbon removal is researched, developed and deployed in ways that are ethical, just, and socially responsible. In addition to academic research, we build sectoral understanding and capacity on social, legal and governance dimensions and of carbon removal, and work to ensure policy integrates these considerations.

Candidates for the Postdoctoral Fellow role should have an appetite for conducting academic research and applying that research to policy fora. While a working understanding of carbon removal is desirable, we welcome candidates with no previous background in carbon removal. Deep knowledge and prior experience researching or working on social science aspects of climate change, environmental justice, energy transitions, public/community engagement and/or emerging technologies is desirable.

The Postdoctoral Fellow will both (1) conduct research in support of ongoing Institute projects (50%) and (2) develop research projects of their own (50%). Ongoing projects include conducting participatory, deliberative community workshops on carbon removal and developing best practices for addressing community engagement and environmental justice considerations in early-stage carbon removal research and deployment. Topics further explored by the Postdoctoral Fellow might include: How might carbon removal research and potential deployment acknowledge and respect Indigenous sovereignty, knowledge systems, and knowledge holders? What might an environmentally just vision of carbon removal involve, and what kind of policies might help enact it? What might scholarship from anthropology, history, conservation social science, or other fields contribute to carbon removal policy and governance? What gaps in formal and informal governance structures must be resolved to conduct responsible research and deployment of carbon removal? Where and how might social science approaches be integrated into larger, interdisciplinary research projects on carbon removal in order to make research more inclusive and robust?

As part of the overall work described above, the Postdoctoral Fellow will be expected to:

  • Design and undertake primary research on social science topics relating to carbon removal
  • Contribute to Institute research projects on public/community engagement, environmental justice and carbon removal
  • Lead and/or contribute to peer-reviewed publications
  • Collaborate with other policy, government, private-sector, academic and other organizations to share policy-relevant insights and produce policy-relevant research products and materials
  • Contribute to development of funding proposals
  • Represent ICRLP at meetings and conferences

Candidates should have received a PhD in social science (e.g., environmental studies, anthropology, science and technology studies, sociology, geography, psychology, economics) in the past five years (60 months). We are interested in candidates with excellent research and writing skills, strong interpersonal skills, and the ability to communicate complex information to multiple audiences.

This is a full-time position that reports to the Director of Research. Starting salary is $80,000.

American University is a private institution of higher education in the nation's capital. American University's School of International Service (SIS) is a top-ten school of international affairs with 3,000 students, 120 full-time faculty and more than 20,000 alumni worldwide. SIS faculty produce transformational research and our prime location provides opportunities for collaboration with professionals in government, the private sector, and think tanks and other non-profits.


Candidates should have received a PhD in social science (e.g., environmental studies, anthropology, science and technology studies, sociology, geography, psychology, economics) in the past five years (60 months). We are interested in candidates with excellent research and writing skills, strong interpersonal skills, and the ability to communicate complex information to multiple audiences.

Application Instructions

Applications must be submitted electronically via the Interfolio application system. Applications should include the following:

  • Cover letter detailing the applicant’s proposed research
  • Curriculum vitae
  • 2-3 Sample publications
  • Brief research statement including research agenda
  • Statement describing past examples of your contributions to diversity andinclusion in your scholarship, the classroom and/or in other professionalsettings.
  • The names and email addresses of three references (the Interfolio system will contactthem for a confidential letter of recommendation) and whom the committee may contact.

Queries about the search may be sent to Dr. Sara Nawaz ( Queries about the online application system may be sent to SIS faculty affairs coordinator Alissa Iwaniuk ( and

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