Sustainability Researchers often hold advanced degrees in fields related to environmental, economic and social sustainability. As thought leaders and innovators, Sustainability Researchers conduct studies to develop sustainability models, indicators and best practices. These practitioners are often employed at think tanks, research institutions, and not-for-profit organizations that lead research and advocacy in sustainability. Some Sustainability Researchers also support policy development in federal, provincial or municipal governments.
Imagine yourself setting in a conference room with ten members of the local community. You’re leading the first of three different focus groups in which you’ll develop a better understanding of local perceptions, concerns and priorities for the regional government’s plan to build wind turbines in the area. As you listen carefully to the participants’ animated discussion, you take detailed notes on key themes that you’ll follow-up on in the next session.
Once today’s focus group has ended, you’ll return to your office and summarize vital points from your recording of the discussion. You’ll spend a few hours reviewing a new report on the costs and benefits associated with wind energy projects. The findings from this secondary research will inform the final report you’ll write later this month about the best practices for the government’s future wind energy project.
As a Sustainability Researcher, your colleagues, clients and employer can count on you to provide the latest information and insights on the key drivers of sustainability, from major technological innovations to recent policy changes and local community needs.
For a Sustainability Researcher, a typical workday might involve:
Sustainability Researchers work in a variety of locations, such as:
In the office:
In the field:
Most Sustainability Researchers work at:
If you are a high school student considering a career as a Sustainability Researcher, you should have a strong interest in:
As a minimum, most Sustainability Researchers have an undergraduate degree. Many also hold graduate degrees, since a high level of subject matter expertise is required for this type of work. If you are a post-secondary student interested in working as a Sustainability Researcher, the following programs are most applicable: