• Applied Behavioral Science Lead

    Job Locations US-Arlington
    Job ID
    Employment Type
    Employee (Full-Time)
  • Position Overview

    Rare inspires change so people and nature thrive. Conservation ultimately comes down to people – their behaviors toward nature, their beliefs about its value, and their ability to protect it without sacrificing basic life needs. And so, conservationists must become as skilled in social change as in science; as committed to community-based solutions as national and international policymaking.


    Over more than three decades, Rare has partnered with local organizations to run more than 400 behavior change projects in nearly 60 countries, promoting community-led adoption of solutions as diverse sustainable coastal fisheries management, fuel-efficient cookstove use, reciprocal water agreements, regenerative agriculture, recycling and waste management, wildlife demand reduction, and more. Rare’s largest current program, Fish Forever, is an innovative global movement to transform coastal fisheries in Brazil, Indonesia, Mozambique the Philippines and more.


    Rare’s Center for Behavior & the Environment was launched in 2017 to bring the best insights from behavioral science and design to tackle some of the world’s most challenging environmental issues. Through partnership with leading academic and research institutions, we are translating the science of human behavior into practical solutions for conservationists worldwide. The integration of insights from the science of human behavior – what we call ‘behavior-centered design’ – is underdeveloped in the conservation and environment field in comparison to other sectors such as health, education, finance and public policy. We aim to change that by promoting adoption of the principles and practices of behavior-centered design by thousands of environmental leaders and practitioners around the world. Our vision is that by 2030, conservation challenges are dramatically more solvable because behavior-centered design is the norm in our field. To do this, we aim to raise the profile of behavioral science and design and build demand for it in the conservation space, to create compelling evidence that behavior-centered design leads to better conservation outcomes, and to strengthen the ability of practitioners and leaders to apply the strategies and tactics of behavior-centered design in their own work.


    Rare is looking for an innovative and solutions-oriented expert with a knack for communication and a hunger to connect science to practice to join the Center for Behavior & the Environment and lead the development of its applied behavioral science program. Reporting to the Senior Director, Center for Behavior & the Environment, and working closely with the Senior Director and other team members, the Applied Behavioral Science Lead will be responsible for developing and executing the Center’s applied science and research strategy and leading the design and execution of its experimental collaborations. The role will involve working closely with the Center’s academic partners and research network and occasionally co-authoring papers when relevant.


    Effective conservation must be based on the best available science, but connecting research to application is a difficult challenge requiring a broad range of skills spanning study design, expert analysis, keen interpretation and effective communication. Further, effective applied scientists need to find solutions that can balance research objectives with a range of practical needs. The ideal candidate has the ability to communicate expertise to a wide range of audiences and with multiple levels of stakeholders but does not quite feel at home in a purely academic setting. S/he has demonstrated the ability to collaborate and produce novel research for publication in the scientific literature but cares more about the impact that research has on solving big, hairy environmental challenges than on adding to her/his already impressive list of publications.



    The Applied Behavioral Science Lead will exercise independent judgment regarding the following areas of significance:


    1. Field Experiments and Research Collaborations

    Goal: Create compelling evidence for the conditions under which behavior-centered design leads to better conservation outcomes

    Responsibilities include:

    • Oversee and/or support design and execution of at least three field experiments in collaboration with relevant research partners
    • Collaborate with Fish Forever Science & Technology team and country teams to conduct experiments to assess the effectiveness of behavioral strategies and tactics to drive adoption of the four core Fish Forever behaviors (fisher registration, fisher participation in management committees, catch reporting, and fisheries management compliance)
    • Independently identify and develop experimental opportunities in other projects (eg, water and sustainable agriculture in Colombia and China)
    • Support design and execution of a quantitative measure for assessing adoption of ‘behavior-centered design’ in the conservation field
    • Conduct data analyses independently or oversee/support data analysis by research collaborators

          2. Academic Network and Partnerships


    Goal: Lead development and execution of the Center’s academic network and partnerships to strengthen the link between science and practice for solving big, hairy environmental challenges

    Responsibilities include:

    • Lead development and execution of formal and informal academic partnerships including Yale Applied Cooperation Team, Stanford Earth, Stockholm Environment Institute, and more
    • Formalize and maintain a growing network of research affiliates and potential collaborators
    • Occasionally develop on-campus symposia/events and recruit and oversee interns/fellows from academic partners for strategically relevant projects
    • Identify opportunities for strengthening the science-to-practice bridge in innovative ways


         3. Learning and Translation


    Goal: Strengthen the ability of practitioners and leaders to apply the strategies and tactics of behavior-centered design in their own work

    Responsibilities include:

    • Support toolkit and product design team by providing content expertise and occasionally participating in team-led product design challenges
    • Contribute significantly to the development of an interactive and navigable “catalogue” of behavioral insights for conservation
    • Support development of the Center’s virtual platform and community, the Behavior & Environment Hive (BE.Hive) and use it to manage academic network and research affiliates and conduct strategic research-practitioner matchmaking
    • Participate in Center-led learning cohorts – informal partnerships of like-minded organizations sharing commitments to big, audacious goals, committing to prototyping and piloting innovating behavior-centered design concepts, and cooperating to share lessons around a set of learning objectives (e.g., Climate Change Needs Behavior Change learning cohort)


         4. Support for Communications and Thought Leadership


    Goal: Raise the profile of behavioral science and design and build demand for it in the conservation space

    Responsibilities include:

    • Occasionally write or co-write science translation pieces for the Center for Behavior & the Environment blog or other outlets
    • Occasionally represent the Center for Behavior & the Environment at strategically relevant conferences and convenings
    • Provide research and content support to CEO, Senior Director, Director of Operations and Engagement and other Rare team members for strategic external communications, funding proposals, etc
    • Support development of the Center for Behavior & the Environment’s strategic convenings and summits, including helping to recruit academic partners


    • Advanced degree (PhD preferred; or Master’s with equivalent applied research experience) in relevant behavioral & social science discipline (including but not limited to behavioral economics, social psychology, anthropology, cognitive and decision science, organizational behavior, etc.);
    • Demonstrated experience in applying behavioral and social science research methods to social and behavior change projects;
    • A broad understanding of the behavioral science literature and how it can be applied to help solve complex behavior change problems, capacity to work across disciplines, and ability to communicate complex concepts to a general audience;
    • Demonstrated ability to design and conduct rigorous experiments, most notably Randomized Controlled Trials;
    • Experience using software packages for quantitative analysis and online testing (e.g. Qualtrix, MTurk etc);
    • Excellent communication and business acumen as applied to global, fast growth, fast-paced, innovative organizations;
    • Strong project management and people management skills, including the ability to manage up, down and across;
    • Ability to thrive in cross-functional team environments to build relationships across geographical distances, cultural communities, and up and down the organizational structure;
    • A commitment to Rare’s mission and values;
    • A desire to work on important conservation and environment issues such as climate change, overfishing, sustainable agriculture, etc is required; Knowledge and experience in working on some of these issues is a big plus but is not a requirement for the position;
    • Written and spoken fluency in English required; proficiency in other languages a plus, especially Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Tagalog or Bahasa Indonesian.

    Rare is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes all to apply; EOE/M/F/D/V


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