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Policy and Education Specialist, Climate Working Groups

Background: In May 2021, MIT released Fast Forward: MIT’s Climate Action Plan for the Decade. The plan consists of five broad areas of action: sparking innovation; educating future generations; informing and leveraging government action; reducing MIT’s own climate impact; and uniting and coordinating all of MIT’s climate efforts. To oversee and implement the plan, it calls for the creation of five bodies: The Climate Steering Committee, comprising senior MIT leaders; the Climate Nucleus, a faculty committee with broad responsibility for the plan’s implementation; and three climate working groups: Climate Education; Climate Policy; and the Campus Carbon Footprint. 

This position: This position resides in the Office of the Vice President for Research, the MIT senior officer who leads MIT’s climate action efforts. The primary focus of the Policy and Education Specialist’s role is to work with the co-chairs of the Climate Education and Climate Policy Working Groups to ensure the working groups’ success in driving their priorities forward. The Policy and Education Specialist reports to the OVPR’s Senior Advisor, but also works closely with the faculty co-chairs of the Nucleus and the working groups, and exercises significant independent judgment. 

This is a two-year term appointment.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities (Essential Functions**):

Advance the work of the Climate Policy Working Group and the Climate Education Working Group. The Policy and Education Specialist is essential to the success of the working groups. The Specialist will work proactively with the co-chairs of the working groups, providing them advice on both content and operations, and helping them to identify key priorities; develop work plans; and develop and set agendas for meetings. Based on working group discussions and priorities, the Specialist will analyze and synthesize topics in climate policy and climate education and then prepare briefing documents and presentations to inform working group actions. The Specialist will work with members of the working groups to advance key working group priorities. The Specialist will ensure that working group members and co-chairs are informed and up-to-date on climate activities across the Institute. In addition, the Specialist will handle administrative aspects of working group operations, including scheduling and arranging meetings.

Play key role in coordinating MIT’s climate action activities. The Specialist will also ensure coordination between the Education and Policy Working Groups, as well as between these groups and the Climate Nucleus and the Carbon Footprint Working Group. The Specialist will act as deputy to the Senior Advisor in staffing the Climate Nucleus. Working with the Senior Advisor, the Specialist will plan and organize the annual Fast Forward meeting of the Steering Committee, Nucleus, and working groups, and prepare reports on working group activities for delivery to the Nucleus and Steering Committee.

Handles other duties as needed or required.

Supervision Received:

Reports to the Senior Advisor for the OVPR. Exercises significant independent judgment and completes many assignments with minimal supervision.

Supervision Exercised:

No staff supervisory responsibility. 

Qualifications & Skills: 


Bachelor’s degree. Minimum of 3 years of experience in environmental policy, planning, or public affairs/advocacy, or a related field OR 2 years of experience in environmental policy, planning, or public affairs/advocacy, or a related field AND Master’s degree.

Strong understanding of climate change, energy, and sustainability issues. A deep commitment to climate action.

The ability to absorb and synthesize complex information across a variety of topics under time constraints; and to distill this information into presentations, memos, and other communications that inform timely action.

Strong oral communications and presentation skills.

Demonstrated ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously. 

An appreciation for the distinctive culture and values of MIT. 

Proficient Microsoft Office suite skills. 


A Master’s degree in public policy, policy administration, technology and policy, environmental planning, or a related field.

** To comply with regulations by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), the principal duties in position descriptions must be essential to the job. To identify essential functions, focus on the purpose and the result of the duties rather than the manner in which they are performed. The following definition applies: a job function is essential if removal of that function would fundamentally change the job.

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