Executive Director of Climate Systems Engineering Initiative, University of Chicago

Posted by: CAKE Team
Post Date: 7/17/2023
Opportunity Type: Job
Organization/Grantor: University of Chicago
Position/Title/Fund: Executive Director of Climate Systems Engineering Initiative - Full-time, permanent
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Deadline: Open until filled

The University of Chicago’s new Climate Systems Engineering initiative (CSEi) invites nominations and applications for the position of Executive Director (ED). The Executive Director will report directly to CSEi’s founding Faculty Director, Professor David Keith, and will play a leading role in the conception and organization of this exciting and novel initiative. The ED will develop and grow all aspects of this initiative at the University while also serving as a thought partner to the faculty director and faculty leadership. Joining CSEi at the ground floor, the ED will play a crucial role in ensuring the broader impact and effectiveness of this trailblazing initiative.

Through its ambitious research efforts, CSEi will leverage the University of Chicago’s deep academic resources and embody the University’s commitment to pressing innovation as it strives to become a world-class, high-impact research initiative. To this end, foundational goals of the initiative include defining the field of climate systems engineering, quantifying the uncertainty posed by climate engineering techniques, and accelerating the globalization of CSEi research by building deep, technical research collaborations with researchers abroad.

The Executive Director will work closely with the initiative’s faculty director and the executive committee to articulate and advance CSEi’s strategic vision and ambitious goals. They will be a creative and organized builder as they design and implement the systems and infrastructure needed to carry out the initiative’s vision, including, but not limited to hiring and overseeing a team of staff, developing policies and procedures for faculty recruitment, communications and marketing, events and programming, and space planning. Leveraging a collaborative approach, strong communication, and proactive relationship building skills, the ED will navigate the University’s unique institutional culture that upholds rigorous research and challenging ideas to facilitate multidisciplinary partnerships and synergies across the institution. The ED will also reach beyond the University to forge and facilitate connections with external partners in governments, civil society organizations, and industry to elevate CSEi’s visibility and advance research and policy efforts related to the intersection of technological and social aspects of climate change.

While no single candidate will likely have all the ideal qualifications, candidates should possess many of the following:


  • Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in a related field.
  • Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 7+ years of work experience in a related job discipline.


  • Advanced degree in a related field.
  • Professional experience in environmental public policy. This may include work in a senior role at a major environmental group or legislative staff; program management in government or environmental industry; or work in a university-based research center that involves a substantial applied policy component. Candidates from other backgrounds may be considered if they possess the skills and experience to shape a start-up enterprise and rapidly learn a new field.
  • Familiarity with academia.
  • Proven track record of managing institutional growth and change, leading staff, and developing partnerships with key stakeholders within and outside the organization.
  • Demonstrated experience in general management, strategic planning, sponsored research administration, and financial analysis and reporting.
  • Demonstrated strong organizational and communications skills.
  • Experience serving as an expert source of information, with a collaborative and flexible style.
  • Strong problem-solving skills that support and enable sound decision-making.
  • Ability to work collaboratively across all levels of an organization.