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Director, Ocean and Coastal Policy Program

June 30, 2014


Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Job Announcement

Director, Ocean and Coastal Policy Program

The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University is seeking a director for its Ocean and Coastal Policy Program. The director will lead the program’s research and policy initiatives and serve on the Nicholas Institute’s senior leadership team. The ideal candidate will possess strong leadership skills, the ability to collaborate with a diverse array of stakeholders, and broad and deep knowledge of marine issues and policy. 

The Ocean and Coastal Policy Program director will plan and implement initiatives to provide information and research that marine decision makers need to craft sound policies and will engage in ongoing projects related to blue carbon, ocean acidification, deep sea management, and the training of conservation and fishery officials. The director will collaborate closely with Duke faculty as well as with representatives of other academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, industry, government agencies, and decision makers to find solutions to the challenges facing our coastal and marine environment.

About the Nicholas Institute:

Created in 2005, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University seeks toaddress some of the world’s most pressing environmental problems through scientifically grounded, rigorous, balanced nonpartisan policy analysis and broad-based dissemination of its work. The Nicholas Institute draws on the unparalleled resources of the Duke University community, including the university’s nationally ranked graduate programs in environmental science and policy, business, medicine, engineering, and law, as well as on the considerable expertise of partners in other academic institutions, industry, government, and environmental organizations. These resources have enabled the Nicholas Institute to become a leading policy institute with a core staff and resident faculty dedicated to helping frame the environmental agenda by focusing on important problems and helping develop and recommend effective policies. For further information, visit


  • Engage policy makers, business leaders, and other key stakeholders interested in oceans and coastal policy to inform their decisions with expert insight.


  • Identify gaps in knowledge and lead interdisciplinary research efforts, especially at the interface of science and policy.


  • Deliver timely reports, briefings, and testimony for Congressional and agency staff at the state, regional, and federal levels.


  • Organize and lead dialogue with experts across sectors and disciplines to find solutions to critical ocean and coastal issues.
  • Organize and lead an interdisciplinary faculty working group that brings Duke’s ocean and coastal faculty members together to share research, discuss issues, and work jointly on projects and proposals.


  • Advance current Nicholas Institute priorities, such as climate change policy and deep sea management, as well as seek opportunities to engage and be responsive to emerging coastal and ocean issues on the state, regional, national and international levels. Develop efforts in new and emerging issues.


  • Represent the interests of the Oceans and Coastal Program as a member of the Fisheries Forum Executive Committee and work in support of the Fisheries Forum partnership that includes Duke University, Stanford University and the Environmental Defense Fund.


  • Work collaboratively with other Nicholas Institute directors and staff specializing in issues related to domestic and international fresh water, climate change, ecosystem services, and North Carolina and southeast regional environmental policy.  


  • Collaborate closely with faculty and researchers at the Nicholas School of the Environment and its Marine Lab in Beaufort, North Carolina, to leverage and expand the impact of their research efforts, helping them bring their results to the attention of policy makers in a variety of venues.
  • Develop relevant research projects and secure funding for them.


  • Manage grant funds and projects, reporting to funders and Duke officials on project performance, completion, and impacts.


  • Serve as a point of contact for foundation program officers and, as applicable, other external stakeholders, such as representatives of nonprofits, government agencies, industry, and corporate philanthropies.


  • Manage the general operations of the Oceans and Coastal Policy Program and the activities of its staff, research consultants, and student interns.


  • Determine the fiscal requirements and prepare budgetary recommendations for the program.


  • Work closely with the Nicholas Institute’s development staff to manage the Ocean and Coastal Program’s fundraising activities with foundations, corporations, government agencies, and other funding sources.


  • Participate in Nicholas Institute staff and directors meetings, and serve as a liaison between program staff and the Nicholas Institute director, other program directors, the director of operations and planning, and key stakeholders.



  • Recognized leader in ocean and coastal policy on the national level, the international level, or both.
  • Advanced degree in a marine science or marine policy-related field.
  • Demonstrated experience in marine policy, including familiarity with policy players and organizations in the ocean and coastal field.
  • Ability to interact effectively with elected officials, government agencies, academics, stakeholders groups, and business leaders.
  • Ability to collaborate and engage with Duke University marine faculty.
  • Strong leadership and management skills.
  • Excellent communications skills and a record of publication in a range of venues.
  • Deep experience with and broad knowledge of coastal and ocean issues.

The position can be based at the Nicholas Institute headquarters on the Duke University campus in Durham, North Carolina, or at the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, North Carolina. Frequent travel between the Marine Lab and Nicholas Institute headquarters is expected. Occasional travel to Washington, D.C., and other locations in the United States and internationally is expected.  The individual chosen should be able to collaborate with and manage staff at multiple remote locations.

A non-tenure track faculty appointment at Duke University may be available for qualified applicants.

Duke University is an AA/EO employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual’s race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, genetic information, veteran status, or disability.

To Apply:

Mail a cover letter and resume detailing your interest in the position to the attention of
Larry Shirley, director of operations and planning, Nicholas Institute for Environmental
Policy Solutions, Duke University, Post Office 90335, Durham, North Carolina 27708, E-mail No phone inquiries please.  Applications must be postmarked by no later than August 1, 2014.

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