Democracy Fellows, Biodiversity Research

Institute of International Education - USAID Democracy Fellows and Grants Program
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Aug 22

Position description


The Institute of International Education (IIE) seeks applications from qualified individuals for a full-time Democracy Fellow to serve within the Center for Development Research (CDR) and the Global Development Lab (Lab), collaborating closely with the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance. IIE manages the Democracy Fellows and Grants program (DFG) for USAID. Initial appointment is for one year. The Fellow will be hired as a full-time, salaried IIE employee, with benefits. Onboarding is contingent upon a successful background investigation for a Secret level security clearance. 

Center for Development Research’s Role in Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance

Democracy, human rights, and governance (DRG) reaches across all sectors of development. The integration of DRG principles is essential for fostering broad economic growth, improving the delivery of public services, and pursuing effective development policies.

Housed within the Global Development Lab (Lab) at USAID, the Center for Development Research (CDR) aims to increase the use of scientific research to improve development outcomes. The Research Partnerships for Development (“Research”) Team implements USAID policies that support the Agency in managing research projects, forging partnerships with U.S. federal science agencies, providing resources to developing country scientists and engineers to conduct research with high potential for development impact, and strengthening research capacity within developing countries to enable a sustainable research environment for addressing future development challenges.

The Research Team’s flagship program is Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER). Initiated in 2011, PEER competitively funds developing country scientists from universities and NGOs to conduct research with development outcomes and in-country impact, in collaboration with researchers funded by U.S. federal science agencies. There are currently 250 PEER research projects being carried out in 50 countries. PEER not only funds research that will potentially change development-related policies or programs; it also strengthens the capacity of local researchers to build their own research programs, to train junior researchers, and to do applied research within local communities.


One of the least investigated fields in international development is biodiversity conservation. To have successful biodiversity research project outcomes and impacts, DRG core values and goals must be fully integrated. Successful biodiversity conservation stems from government transparency in natural resource management, local stakeholder participation, informed and engaged civil society, and accountable law enforcement in USAID priority countries. 

The Biodiversity Research Fellow will provide expert policy support on DRG issues as they relate to biodiversity conservation in the context of the PEER portfolio. Currently, 25 percent of all PEER Projects (58) have a primary or secondary focus on biodiversity. The Fellow will work closely with the DRG and CDR Centers, USAID missions, other U.S. Government agency counterparts, PEER principal investigators (PIs), academic institutions, civil society, and other stakeholders to improve development outcomes through the integration of DRG principles and practices into PEER biodiversity conservation projects throughout the world. The Fellow also will develop and incorporate strategies to protect and promote universally recognized human rights, including those of marginalized and indigenous populations and women, in biodiversity conservation research. 

The Fellow will serve as a recognized expert on cross-cutting DRG and biodiversity conservation scientific research. S/he will analyze PEER biodiversity projects for issues critical to the development and support of DRG related policy. Following this analysis, the Fellow will support USAID Missions, academic institutions, NGOs, civil society actors, and other stakeholders by developing learning tools for implementing DRG strategy into biodiversity conservation projects, contributing to technical working groups, and convening appropriate roundtables and workshops. These activities will foster greater dialogue and stronger relationships with stakeholders working on priority DRG issues in PEER research countries. The Fellow also will help to better communicate the positions of CDR and USAID on integrated biodiversity and DRG policy issues. The Fellow will undertake new areas of technical research on the intersection of DRG and biodiversity, such as governance, land tenure, natural resource management, community integration, and indigenous and women's rights. The Fellow will work with USAID to produce written products where appropriate and may be asked to support other related USAID policy priority areas, as needed.

Outcomes, Responsibilities, and Deliverables

●    Review the PEER Portfolio of biodiversity projects and perform a meta-analysis to understand how biodiversity conservation projects contribute to development impact

●    Communicate findings to USAID Missions and other relevant stakeholders 

●    Provide necessary coordination and support to cultivate strong relationships with NGOs, the academic community, and other key civil society groups and networks working on biodiversity conservation and DRG 

●    Develop learning tools for implementing DRG strategy into biodiversity projects

●    Create communication and outreach materials for PEER, e.g., press releases, facts sheets, blogs, brochures, social media campaigns, videos, and other media

●    Contribute to technical working groups and convene roundtables and workshops for USAID Missions, PEER PIs, and other relevant stakeholders

●    Provide input on policy and strategy to communicate the position of CDR and USAID on intersectional biodiversity and DRG policy issues

●    Undertake new areas of technical research on the intersection of DRG and biodiversity

●    Other related responsibilities as assigned


●       US Citizenship is required.

●       PhD in a science or engineering field is required.

●       7-10 years of experience working in the field in biodiversity and conservation projects/programs in multiple regions of the world is required.

●       1-3 years working on issues of foreign policy and development; human rights, democracy, and governance; conflict mitigation; or other relevant areas is preferred.

●       Strong analytic and research skills, writing skills, and the ability to communicate complex programming elements into clear, concise documents and actions for senior leaders and the public are required.

●       Relevant field experience and experience working with USAID and/or other USG agencies are required.

●       Strong communication skills and the ability to foster relationships and coordinate the learning and expertise of multiple organizations engaged in the fields of democracy, human rights, and governance are required.

●       Willingness to travel up to 25% time is required.

●       Working proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese is required.

●       Ability to obtain a Secret level security clearance is required; current Secret level security clearance eligibility is strongly preferred.

Oversight and Guidance 

The Fellow will serve as a member of the Center for Development Research in the Global Development Lab. The Division Chief of the Research team will provide technical guidance and oversight on a day-to- day basis. The Fellow will be an employee of IIE and will report for administrative purposes to the DFG Director at IIE. The Fellow will participate in relevant working groups in other parts of the Agency as required and appropriate. The Fellow is expected to exercise the highest degree of individual initiative, resourcefulness, responsibility, and authority, consistent with USAID’s overall policy and procedural framework.


Upon successful completion of a background investigation for a Secret level security clearance, the

Fellow will be based at the Center for Development Research at USAID headquarters in Washington, DC. International travel will be required (up to 25 percent time)


The salary for this fellowship will be competitive and commensurate with the candidate’s salary history and experience. The salary will not exceed $87,693/year.

Duration of the Position

Fellowship duration is one year.

Application instructions

*Please be sure to indicate that you saw this position on*

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