Senior Director for Research

Closing Date:


As our Senior Director for Research, you will oversee research in a range of topic areas including buildings, industry, transportation, behavior, health, and more – resulting in approximately 30 research reports and white papers each year. Looking across our entire portfolio of work, you will enhance our impact by aligning strategic objectives and research projects that complement each other for greatest impact. Engaged in scoping meetings and reviewing drafts, you will play a critical role in ensuring research projects are rigorous, credible, and aligned with our mission and goals.

You will report to the Executive Director, serve on our senior management team, and manage several programs while overseeing our research agenda and contributing to policy activities. Working collaboratively with colleagues to provide strategic guidance for the organization, you will prioritize key focus areas and guide staff to produce high-quality work. You will also represent the organization externally with policymakers, partner organizations, and funders while leveraging the expertise and contributions of our Research Advisory Board.

Organization Overview

A national nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C., the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) believes that the United States can harness the full potential of energy efficiency to boost economic prosperity, improve health, and protect the environment for all its people. ACEEE is America’s leading center of expertise on energy efficiency, actively contributing to debates on energy policy, clean air, and climate change. We are nationally recognized for leadership in promoting energy efficiency policies.

Our research and analysis are widely relied on by policymakers, business and industry decision-makers, consumers, media, and other energy professionals. We have contributed provisions to all major federal energy legislation since the 1980s, provided guidance and support to federal agencies and presidential administrations, and engaged on energy efficiency policies and programs in over three dozen states and numerous cities. For example, we have negotiated efficiency standards adopted by Congress for dozens of products, we have contributed to utility energy saving targets now in effect in 27 states, and we helped develop the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy Savings Program. Our research and partnerships have also helped launch over a dozen other organizations and campaigns.

Primary Responsibilities

Lead, support, and coordinate the work of all research programs. This includes:

  • Identify and plan new research areas for the organization and develop funding strategies to support this research, working with research program directors and senior managers, the Senior Director for Policy, and the Executive Director.
  • Coordinate the development and implementation of cross-cutting research projects involving multiple ACEEE programs.
  • Oversee research and analysis activities including allocation of staff resources, scheduling and prioritization of analysis activities, quality assurance and review, coordination of research activities with policy needs, coordination of messaging between research and communications staff, and development/acquisition of research tools and outsourced technical expertise.
  • Represent ACEEE’s research activities to the ACEEE Board of Directors.
  • Serve as staff lead for the Research Advisory Board.
  • Establish and maintain systems that ensure the quality, credibility, and relevance of ACEEE’s research including robust internal and external review.
  • Lead or contribute to research as a subject-matter expert and technical consultant as appropriate.

Other Responsibilities

  • Supervise multiple research program directors and senior managers.
  • Work closely with the Executive Director and the Senior Director for Policy to support ACEEE policy efforts.
  • Represent the organization in public forums and meetings with public officials and the media.
  • Identify and pursue partnership opportunities with other organizations.
  • Maintain high staff morale and productivity.
  • Help hire, orient, train, and mentor research managers and staff.
  • Contribute to fundraising.


  • Advanced degree and at least 15 years of work experience in energy efficiency, environmental sciences, and/or related fields. Significant energy policy experience. Nonprofit experience is preferred.
  • Experienced researcher with a record of peer-reviewed research accomplishments and publications including energy efficiency research. Well-versed in research methods.
  • Experience managing teams of researchers, including setting strategic priorities and developing staff.
  • Accomplished public speaker and written communicator to both technical and lay audiences.
  • Proven record of fundraising for research from foundation, government, and commercial sectors.
  • National and/or international reputation and strong contacts within the energy efficiency field. Diverse contacts across multiple areas of the energy efficiency stakeholder groups strongly preferred.
  • Set of accomplishments that demonstrate organizational leadership and an ability to have an impact, utilizing quality research to advance policy.


  • Researcher. You creatively and thoroughly design, plan, and lead research and evaluation studies. Your research methods are rigorous, dynamic, and up to date. You understand evaluation design and structure analysis to enhance the value of your research.
  • Mission-driven. You will be an effective ambassador for ACEEE, able to articulate our mission, goals, and major programs.
  • Relationship builder. You can build and maintain relationships with a wide array of stakeholders. You have a history of earning respect and credibility through actions with partners.
  • Clear communicator. Your communication is clear and direct, both written and oral. You easily adjust your message without sacrificing content, consistency, or service delivery.
  • Leader. You have coached, mentored, and developed staff at all professional levels, skillfully identifying and promoting talent and building strong teams.
  • Strong business acumen. You set priorities wisely and know how to make tough resource allocation decisions, always finding a way to forward strategic initiatives. You know how to translate strategy into action. You have successfully structured programs to meet organizational needs.
  • Organization agility. You understand how organizations work, where to build relationships, and how to get results through other people.

What’s Attractive to the Right Candidate?

  • As a research organization, this role is fundamental to our success. In this high-leverage leadership position for ACEEE, you will sit at the center of the ecosystem with the ability to shape the direction of our research agenda.
  • With a reputation for influencing policy, ACEEE is well-positioned to have significant impact on reducing carbon emissions and energy consumption. With the foundation already in place, you can have a major impact and be proud of what you accomplish.
  • You will enjoy intelligent and collegial interactions with our Research Advisory Board and ACEEE staff.
  • We are a mission-driven, collaborative, entrepreneurial organization that offers workplace flexibility and professional development. You will find your colleagues to be friendly and dedicated, and the work to be intellectually stimulating.
  • You will have the opportunity to work with an outstanding organization that provides information and advice to policymakers, the business community, and consumers, shaping programs and policies that protect the environment, promote energy security, and enhance the economy.
  • ACEEE offers competitive compensation, based on qualifications and experience, with opportunities for career development. Benefits include ACEEE’s generous package of health, dental, vision, disability, and life insurance coverage; a 403(b)-retirement plan; transportation and bike share benefits; three weeks of vacation in the first year and four weeks thereafter.

To Apply

Simply email your resume to Aileen Hedden at with “ACEEE –Senior Director for Research #2020-2567 CW” as the subject of the email. Please include your resume as a Word or PDF attachment to the email and paste your cover letter in the body of your email.

Please note: Our practice is not to disclose the salary ranges our clients would consider. Any salary information included in this posting was estimated without our input.

Staffing Advisors has been engaged to find the right candidate and is committed to helping create a diverse work environment for our client. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. This position may require pre-employment screening potentially including a criminal background check, verification of academic credentials, licenses, certifications, and/or verification of work history.

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