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Principal associate, coastal wetlands and coral reefs


Pew Charitable Trusts


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Job Location

Washington, District of Columbia, United States    

Applicant Location Requirements

No Applicant Location Requirements Specified.

Application Deadline

Until Filled

The Environmental Portfolio at The Pew Charitable Trusts
For more than twenty-five years, Pew has been a major force in educating the public and policy makers about the causes, consequences, and solutions to some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. Our environment work spans all seven continents with nearly 250 professionals working full-time at the local, national, and international levels to reduce the scope and severity of global environmental problems, such as the erosion of large wilderness ecosystems that contain a great part of the world’s remaining biodiversity, and the destruction of the marine environment.

Pew has worked in the United States and Canada since 1990 to protect vast stretches of unspoiled wilderness and more recently expanded our land conservation efforts to Australia’s Outback and Chilean Patagonia. Preserving these places offers an opportunity to conserve wildlife habitat, shorelines, and pristine landscapes for future generations. Our work relies on the sciences of conservation, biology, and economy to advocate for sound solutions to the loss of biodiversity.

In the sea, reforms to how our oceans are managed are essential to address overfishing, pollution, and loss of habitat. Pew began its oceans program in the United States, focusing on ending overfishing and protecting fragile marine habitat. Since 2005, Pew’s Ocean conservation program has expanded around the world and has played a significant role in reforming marine fisheries management in the European Union and on the high seas. Our work is grounded in the best available science and our goal is to reverse the decline of ocean life ranging from sharks and tunas to penguins and whales, and the habitat on which they depend.

Project Overview
Coastal wetlands such as mangroves, saltmarshes, and seagrasses found along shorelines worldwide, are among the most important parts of the larger ocean ecosystem that must function cohesively to ensure the ocean’s health. While relatively small in area, these habitats are large in terms of ecosystem importance, forming a critical interface between the land and sea. Known for harboring rich biodiversity, supporting local economies, and delivering valuable ecosystem services, these ecosystems have become even more relevant as the effects of climate change are felt increasingly around the globe. They buffer shorelines from severe storms, erosion, and sea level rise, and can help mitigate climate impacts by acting as important carbon sinks.

Countries are increasingly recognizing the role that protection of coastal wetlands can play as nature-based solutions within their revised nationally determined contributions (NDC) to the Paris Agreement. In the first phase of the Coastal Wetlands and Coral Reefs Project, Pew worked directly in three countries – Costa Rica, Belize and Seychelles – to support the governments’ aim to include coastal wetland protections within their updated NDCs. Drawing on key learnings from the first phase of the Project, a second and expanded phase commenced in April 2022. In this second phase the project, the Coastal Wetlands team will support implementation efforts within its original three country partnerships and establish at least five new country partnerships in the East Africa and the Latin America and Caribbean regions in support of the next NDC update.

Position Overview
The Principal Associate will help manage a large-scale seagrass mapping project in the Western Indian Ocean countries of Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Madagascar. The position will also support the inclusion of seagrass and other coastal wetlands into NDCs and engage in research and policy activities across the Project’s portfolio of country partnerships as needed. The position may be located in Pew’s Washington, DC, or London offices and will participate in Pew’s core in-office days on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with flexibility to work from home the remainder of each week. The Principal Associate will report to the Senior Officer of the Coastal Wetlands team who is based in the Washington, DC office.

Candidates must be legally authorized to work in the country for which they are seeking employment without visa sponsorship.


• Support the Senior Officer in managing the portfolio of in-country research projects, partnerships, and project engagement with individual scientists and/or research institutions in East Africa for the Western Indian Ocean seagrass mapping project.

• Assist with the management, logistics, and technical research needs, for complex field campaigns in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Madagascar, supporting regional project nodes at Oxford University and the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association.

• In partnership with the Regional Coordinator based at the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association, help support individual country research projects to ensure that deliverables and outcomes are met in a timely manner. Ensure that project partners are engaged and working together, quickly identify any emerging barriers to project success and assess solutions.

• Lead the development of research statements, papers, and communications for the Coastal Wetlands and Coral Reefs Project for both internal and external audiences.

• Support the Coastal Wetlands’ policy team with in-country and regional policy engagement, working toward the incorporation of seagrass maps and data into NDCs and other relevant policy frameworks.

• Develop and maintain a broad knowledge of the science, policies, and politics of coastal wetlands and NDCs.

• Support the Senior Officer in grant development, and project reporting. Assist in drafting deliverables, contracts, and associated budgets.

• Engage with Pew’s Research Quality and Support (RQS) staff on research projects to ensure that all internal processes for research review are met throughout each stage of the project.

• Coordinate the development and implementation of contracts for in-country projects related to the Western Indian Ocean seagrass mapping project. Work with Project staff and partners to draft work plans and procurement documents, communicate with consultants and grantees, manage the approval process with other units of the Trusts, and monitor ongoing grants and contracts.

• Represent The Pew Charitable Trusts and the campaign at relevant meetings, events and in the media as necessary to build awareness, support, and momentum for coastal wetlands and NDCs.

• Foster a work environment that is diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible and in line with Pew and the project’s related goals.


• Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required, advanced degree in environmental sciences, marine sciences, and/or experience with GIS strongly preferred.

• At least six years of applicable project management experience in the international conservation arena. Project management experience in East Africa strongly desired, but not required.

• Demonstrated experience proactively managing logistically complex research projects with multiple research partners with a high degree of independence.

• A task-oriented style, with experience in motivating partners to meet specific goals and timelines.

• Superior oral and written communications skills. Effectively synthesizes material and communicates complex ideas for a general audience.

• Fluency or proficiency in either French or Portuguese (or both) strongly desired, but not required.

• Effective interpersonal skills; skilled at developing and managing productive relationships with consultants, partners and others who influence project outcomes. Excellent listening skills. Highly articulate. Comfortable working collaboratively across cultures.

• Exhibits diplomacy skills. Works productively with a wide array of different people and institutions that frequently disagree with and are in competition with one another.

• Excellent analytic and problem-solving skills, and highly results oriented.

• Seasoned judgment; decisive, responsive, and clear with colleagues and partners.

International travel expected up to 20% of the time.

Total Rewards

We offer a competitive salary and benefit program, including comprehensive, affordable health care through medical, dental, and vision coverage; financial security with life and disability insurance; opportunities to save using health savings and flexible spending accounts; retirement benefits to help prepare for the future; and work/life benefits to maintain a good balance.

The Pew Charitable Trusts is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. Pew considers qualified applicants for employment without regard to age, sex, ethnicity, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity, military/veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.

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