State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Research Assistant Opening

The Earth Institute seeks a research assistant to assist Dr. David Maurrasse. The content of this research will focus on how partnerships involving various stakeholders across sectors (government, higher education, health care, philanthropy, the private sector, community organizations, and others) are addressing critical social concerns.  These include, health disparities, poverty and economic inequality, educational access and literacy, climate change, and others.

The premise of this research emphasizes the importance of creatively leveraging existing resources to solve social and economic problems, and strategies to combine resources and expertise across sectors to address issues of common interest. This position will begin during the summer or upcoming fall semester with the potential to extend into the spring.

During this period, the research will emphasize the role of philanthropy in society, investigating how various types of philanthropic institutions (private foundations, community foundations, family foundations, etc.) develop their strategic intentions and engage constituents reflecting their grantee communities.

The research assistant will investigate case examples of philanthropic initiatives and strategic partnerships, as well as observe important trends in how to leverage institutional and other forms of resources for broader societal goals.

The results of this research will inform articles on the role of strategic partnerships and philanthropic initiatives in various current events to be submitted to State of the Planet, the Earth Institute’s online blog, and other publications.


  • Identify and investigate timely strategic partnerships and philanthropic initiatives;
  • Summarize findings and propose ideas for articles;
  • Submit article drafts to Dr. Maurrasse for review;
  • Revise articles;
  • Submit articles to be posted online;
  • Assist with other publications.


  • Strong writing and analytical skills;
  • Interest or experience in qualitative research;
  • An ability to work independently;
  • Reliability and responsiveness to deadlines;
  • A demonstrated interest in the subject matter.

Position Logistics

The position pays $18 per hour for a range of 10 to 15 hours per week.

The hired candidate will work independently.  Periodically, the candidate will meet in person with Dr. Maurrasse.  The candidate will continually communicate with Dr. Maurrasse by email.  The position can begin anywhere between July and September of 2017 and end in December of 2017, with a potential to renew until May of 2018.

Please submit a cover letter stating your interest in and fit for the position along with a resume and writing sample to Both graduate students and undergraduates at Columbia University are eligible to apply for this position.

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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