Renewable Energy Social Science Postdoctoral Fellow

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s (LBNL) Energy Analysis & Environmental Impacts Division has an opening for a Renewable Energy Social Science Postdoctoral Fellow to join the team.

Berkeley Lab’s Electricity Markets and Policy Group conducts seminal research on the intersection between large-scale renewable energy deployment and the communities surrounding them.

In this exciting role, you will conduct research related to social impacts and acceptance of large scale renewable energy throughout the U.S. including both wind energy and solar energy. The research will focus on procedural and distributive justice, with special consideration of both urban and rural historically disadvantaged communities. The research will examine sources and uses of information and mis-information; explore through qualitative and geospatial analysis the existence and potential role of neutral intermediaries to help communities manage a proposed project in their area; examine the socioeconomic impacts both real and perceived of the projects on communities; and explore ways this energy transition can better align with local goals, opportunities, and values.

The research, which is part of a longer three year (2022 through 2024) project, will involve conducting surveys and interviews of developers, state and local decision makers, or neighbors of large scale renewable energy projects. You will work with a team of researchers both inside and outside the lab to focus on one or two of those cohorts. The outcome of the research will be not only published as peer-reviewed papers, but, importantly, stakeholder-specific outreach materials such as informational and policy briefs, webinars, and technical assistance. You will enjoy performing rigorous and detailed analysis, and presenting the results to non-academic audiences in the context of real-world policy implications, in addition to more traditional academic audiences.

What You Will Do

  • Conduct research and develop insights into and recommendations for stakeholders involved in the siting, permitting, construction and operations or large-scale renewable energy projects, especially as it relates to procedural and distributive justice with special consideration of both urban and rural historically disadvantaged communities.
  • Conduct and synthesize extensive literature reviews of the intended subject areas.
  • Assist in or lead the development of survey instruments and interview guides, including, potentially, programming the instrument in Qualtrics.
  • Manage and organize large survey response datasets, including open ended response data.
  • Conduct analysis of survey and interview response data.
  • Publish research results in white papers, reports, and academic journals.
  • Adhere with EH&S and ETA safety guidelines and requirements.
  • Present findings at stakeholder meetings, online via webinars, and academic conferences.

Additional Responsibilities as Needed

  • Attend and participate in department, division, and area meetings, seminars, and events.
  • Assist in mentoring interns as is applicable.
  • Work with GIS data to analyze spatial trends.
  • Contribute to research funding proposals as needed.

What is Required

  • Ph.D. in a social science discipline including sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, environmental science, human geography, urban or regional planning, or psychology or a related technical field (and less than 3 years of postdoctoral experience).
  • Demonstrated strong experience in quantitative and qualitative data collection, management and analysis.

Basic familiarity with most, and strong experience and background in one or more, of the following topics:

  • Urban or rural planning
  • Renewable energy deployment
  • Place-attachment theory
  • Community-based participatory research
  • Sustainable development issues
  • Climate and or energy policy
  • Environmental, energy, and climate justice
  • Strong knowledge of at least one programming language appropriate for analysis of large survey datasets, (e.g., Stata, R, Python, NVivo, or Atlas-ti).
  • Excellent verbal and written communication and presentation skills.
  • Capable of working on multiple tasks and projects, and ability to change course in response to shifting priorities.
  • Able to conduct independent research, but as part of a large, diverse, cooperative team
  • Demonstrated record of successful publication in academic journals.

Desired Qualifications

  • Experience working with ArcGIS or similar geospatial software.
  • Teaching experience in a graduate or undergraduate setting.
  • Experience with Qualtrics survey software.
  • Interest in performing research that engages with and supports policymaking and regulatory processes.


This is a full-time 1 year, postdoctoral appointment with the possibility of renewal based upon satisfactory job performance, continuing availability of funds and ongoing operational needs. You must have less than 2 years of paid postdoctoral experience. Salary for Postdoctoral positions depends on years of experience post-degree.

This position is represented by a union for collective bargaining purposes.

Salary will be predetermined based on postdoctoral step rates.

This position may be subject to a background check. Any convictions will be evaluated to determine if they directly relate to the responsibilities and requirements of the position.

Having a conviction history will not automatically disqualify an applicant from being considered for employment.

This position is open to non-US residents.

This position is open to remote applicants. Local employment is highly preferred but remote work will be considered for exceptional candidates.

Based on University of California Policy – SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program and U.S Federal Government requirements, Berkeley Lab requires that all members of our community obtain the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are eligible. As a condition of employment at Berkeley Lab, all Covered Individuals must Participate in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program by providing proof that vaccination requirements have been met or submitting a request for Exception or Deferral. Visit for more information.

Berkeley Lab is committed to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) and strives to continue building community with these shared values and commitments. Berkeley Lab is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. We heartily welcome applications from women, minorities, veterans, and all who would contribute to the Lab’s mission of leading scientific discovery, inclusion, and professionalism. In support of our diverse global community, all qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status.

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