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Enhanced Rock Weathering Scientist

Cascade Climate

Cascade Climate

Boston, MA, USA
Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2024
Join Cascade Climate, a new global nonprofit accelerating progress in interventions, technologies, and markets that harness earth’s natural systems to stabilize our climate. Since our launch last summer we have assembled a stellar founding team; lined up large initial investments from philanthropic backers including the Grantham Foundation, Quadrature Climate Foundation, and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative; and established Cascade as both the leading international field-building organization for Enhanced Rock Weathering (ERW) and a trusted voice in open system climate interventions more broadly. We are now looking for an ERW Scientist to help us deliver on Cascade’s flagship efforts to accelerate scientific progress in ERW and shape a healthy market for ERW deployment.
We’d love to hire a versatile and passionate geoscientist who can help steward some of our most important initiatives that sit at the intersection of Cascade’s scientific and programmatic work. This role will put you in an unusually high-leverage position to help advance ERW science holistically—and yet is not a research role per se. The day-to-day responsibilities in this role will involve heavy doses of project management and stakeholder management—across academia, ERW suppliers and buyers, NGO partners, and more. You will neither be pigeonholed as a scientist nor as a project or relationship manager: for the right person, this role will be an exciting fusion of these, and a chance to join Cascade at a time when you can shape our most important programs and our broader strategy to accelerate progress across the ERW field. In the coming 12 months, you will be the primary technical force behind our work to build a rigorous, trusted and independent review system for the quantification of carbon removal via ERW, while contributing across our ERW programmatic initiatives – from R&D orchestration to federal policy advocacy.
We care as much about you—your character and mindsets—as we do about your scientific training and background. Do you consistently show up with humility and contagious curiosity? Do you love to build new relationships and work with lots of collaborators? Do you independently learn new things quickly and eagerly? Can you operate without a fully-developed roadmap that’s been handed to you—tackling ambiguous problems and imposing your own structured plan? Please help us spread the word far and wide! Candidates should fill out the short application questionnaire below, and are encouraged to include a resume and a note re: why they’re excited about the role and organization.
About Cascade
Cascade coordinates and resources ambitious initiatives across scientists, industry, and governments to overcome the core bottlenecks that are hindering progress in the most promising open-system climate interventions. As a species we are already—unintentionally and haphazardly—manipulating Earth’s climate system in ways that produce disastrous consequences for ourselves and the biosphere. Decarbonization must be our top priority but on its own cannot solve the climate emergency. We must embrace the need to harness Earth’s natural systems in the service of avoiding deeper harm. This will mean intervening in soils, rivers, oceans, glaciers and more—but doing so with great deliberation and care.
Our initial focus is advancing the development of a healthy market for enhanced rock weathering (ERW), underpinned by its scientific evidence base and its potential for gigaton-scale, durable carbon dioxide removal. As commercial activity in ERW ramps up, it is essential that we collectively steer toward a healthy, virtuous market cycle wherein large-scale deployments become a powerful engine for public scientific learning and growing public trust, along with declining uncertainties and costs.
For more context, you can read our blog post about the outlook for the ERW market or our broader thoughts on leveling the playing field for open-system carbon dioxide removal.
In the coming 12 months, you will be the science lead driving our work to build a rigorous, trusted and independent review system for the quantification of carbon removal via ERW, stemming from the development of a rigorous Community Quantification Standard (CQS). This will be the first industry-wide MRV standard for any carbon removal pathway. We expect the CQS to be published in June. You would contribute to the final stages of the development of the standard and become a leading contributor of the team within Cascade working to operationalize the standard and execute a companion initiative enabling data access from both commercial deployments and research studies.

Role and primary responsibilities

  • Developing an R&D roadmap for accelerated progress on the most critical, high-priority scientific uncertainties in ERW
  • Helping design and orchestrate specific ERW field studies and research campaigns
  • Contributing to the formulation and execution of Cascade’s regranting strategy, whereby we raise philanthropic dollars to regrant to research and other field-advancing efforts
  • Collaborating on the development of new community tools, models, and other novel resources that can accelerate the scientific community’s pace of progress
  • Co-authoring major reports and seminal intellectual contributions to the ERW field
  • Irrespective of the specific subset of projects you are working on at any given time, your specific responsibilities will often include the following:
  • Managing and monitoring the execution of complex projects that involve multiple strands (both scientific and operational)
  • Building new individual relationships (e.g., with specific researchers) and organizational partnerships for Cascade
  • Helping chart Cascade’s ERW strategy - identifying and prioritizing key gaps, and evaluating potential new initiatives
  • Whiteboarding new ideas with colleagues and facilitating group problem-solving on knotty substantive and process questions
  • Leaning into difficult conversations with partners who have concerns about how some of the systems or projects Cascade is spearheading are playing out in the real world
  • Reviewing and helping craft various documents—to help Cascade colleagues or partner organizations—that need scrutiny or input from a trained scientist
  • Representing Cascade as a participant in multi-organization meetings and various collaborations, and attending relevant conferences
  • Recruiting and hiring talented people to Cascade and/or to new systems or entities (such as the Community Review Board) that we are helping establish
  • Taking the lead on or contributing to reports and other writing deliverables
  • Helping Cascade build and deepen its organizational culture, brand, and community trust

Desired Skills and Experiences

  • 5+ years of work experience, inclusive of graduate study.
  • PhD in a relevant discipline (geochemistry, geosciences, etc.) with research/professional experience in specific relevant areas of geochemistry such as weathering, biogeochemical cycling, reactive transport, critical zone processes, etc.
  • Track record of independently and effectively managing moderately or highly complex projects—juggling many balls simultaneously without letting them drop
  • Effective, eager networker and relationship builder
  • Strong reputation as a scientific thinker and collaborator
  • Skilled written communicator and group facilitator
  • Strong aptitude for creative problem solving, and ability to make informed decisions in dynamic, evolving situations

More generally, we think this role could be a good fit if you are:

  • Excited about the sometimes-complex project management and stakeholder management involved in the kinds of system-engineer / market-shaping initiatives outlined above—and feel you could enjoy and thrive in a role with this flavor
  • Consistently experienced by others as humble, kind and empathetic
  • Good at building new relationships across a wide variety of people grounded in trust, deep listening and mutual vulnerability
  • Comfortable working under uncertainty and a lack of any clear right answer.
  • Intensely curious, hungry and self-driven in your learning about new topics
  • An open-minded, flexible, and sharp thinker who thrives in highly collaborative problem-solving environments
If this broadly describes you, we think you’ll feel at home here, and will join a team of experienced and very like-minded people who will take great care to support you and your continued growth.
No one will perfectly meet everything in the description above. We encourage anyone who is interested in this role to apply, regardless of whether you feel you meet 100% of the qualifications. The top candidates will bring their own unique perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds along with many but not necessarily all the skills and characteristics listed above. We offer professional learning and training opportunities to help you develop skills you may not have had the opportunity to cultivate yet.
Candidates must be based in the United States or be willing to relocate to the US. Cascade is headquartered in Boston and has small hubs in Washington D.C., New York City, and the Bay Area, so we have preference for candidates who are either based in or willing to relocate to these hubs.
We love seeing each other in person. We gather regularly (often in Boston) for team time like retreats, learning experiences, and whiteboarding sessions. Be ready to travel at least once per month—and occasionally a bit more as needed—for conferences, team gatherings, and partner meetings.
At Cascade, our mission is to dramatically accelerate progress across a range of open-system climate interventions in order to ensure a healthy, livable Earth for all humanity. Recruiting, hiring, mentoring, and retaining a diverse workforce that reflects the communities we serve is critical to our success.
All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran. Cascade is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.