The Rockefeller Foundation – Senior Program Associate, Technology & Innovation.

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We have the opportunity to dramatically accelerate the pace of electrification by leveraging the full potential that distributed renewable energy offers to the world’s poorest populations. Dramatic price reductions and performance improvements resulting from technological innovation and scale have disrupted the traditional energy system. The greatest impact this disruption could be to power development of the world’s energy poor communities with clean, reliable, and distributed energy resources.

The Rockefeller Foundation is uniquely positioned to lead the development of large-scale, innovative partnerships that break down the silos between traditional utilities and these disruptive new technologies and accelerate a new wave of on and off-grid electrification and grid service enhancement that better directs public investments and crowds-in private players.

Position Overview

The Senior Associate will play a key role in co-developing and executing a program that harnesses existing disruptive technology and supports continued innovation in the power sector to enable upward economic mobility for 200 million people by accelerating access to and consumption of reliable electricity in underserved, low-income communities by 2030. The Senior Associate will work closely with the Director of Technology and Innovation and other team members to conduct technical and economic analyses, evaluate technologies and business models, build partnerships with established and emerging technology companies, and work to deploy disruptive technology at scale in sub-Saharan Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. The Senior Associate will also provide support to the Technology program through grant management, outreach, and stakeholder convenings.

Location: This position is based in either New York, NY or Nairobi, Kenya.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

Co-develop an implementation plan to reduce costs and improve operations for distributed energy resources serving poor and vulnerable customers in underserved environments.

  • Work with Tier 1 equipment manufacturers, project developers, and financiers to standardize and procure storage, generation, and control hardware components at a scale that drives down cost in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Support the management of a portfolio of program related investments in energy technology search funds, accelerators, venture funds, and hardware and business model demonstration projects that cohere in a progression from technology commercialization to deployment that leads to increased access to and productive use of electricity.
  • Collaborate with existing Power and Climate grantees to develop strategies to incorporate and leverage technology in their work, including teams at ‘Smart Power India’, ‘Smart Power Myanmar’ and ‘Smart Power Africa.’
  • Work with the Director of Technology to build strong partnerships with key technology players.
Assess technologies and companies to inform the Technology Program and support the broader Power and Climate initiative.
  • Scan for and assess power-sector technology innovations that could be applied both on and off-grid in low- and middle-income countries to accelerate and/or transform energy access and economic development efforts.
  • Provide technical advice on power-sector research, innovation, and application to team members as needed.
  • Produce and commission analytical products to further the Power and Climate initiative’s work.
Qualifications and Competencies

The ideal candidate does not need experience in energy access but should understand energy systems and have a demonstrated ability to analyze and use data to make evaluations and recommendations on technologies, companies, and business models. Applicants with a range of experience in quantitative analysis and technology evaluation and deployment are encouraged.

Technical qualifications
  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree or bachelor’s degree with equivalent experience in science, engineering, or a relevant field of study is helpful.
  • 5 years relevant work experience.
  • A demonstrated ability to make quantitative arguments based on robust analytics is required.
  • Content experience with assessing distributed energy resources and associated disruptions in the power sector is a plus, but not required.
  • Place-based familiarity with on and off-grid power systems in low- and middle-income countries strongly desired.
  • Experience in applying newly commercialized energy technology directly (company and project development) or indirectly (investments) a plus, but not required.
  • Manufacturing and supply chain experience a plus, but not required.
  • Demonstrated interest in working to improve the lives of others.
  • Must have current work authorization in Kenya or the US.
  • Analytics: Deep familiarity with quantitative analytical approaches and tools; ability to craft and deliver quantitative arguments to inform investment decisions; experience with business and economic modeling.
  • Communication: Excellent interpersonal abilities; excellent listening skills; writing and verbal skills; assertiveness in presenting and respectfully challenging ideas, including those presented by leadership; able to present ideas to a range of stakeholders in a clear and compelling way.
  • Team-work: Leverage functional and substantive expertise organizationally; demonstrates inclusiveness, collaboration.
  • Strategic Ability: Anticipates future opportunities and consequences, demonstrates innovative approach to work, ability to organize multiple ideas into coherent plan.
  • Execution: Strong project management skills; meets deadlines; sense of urgency, responsibility, and self-motivation; ability to multi-task and work under pressure; detail oriented.
  • Decision-making: Ability to evaluate risks and opportunities; uses analytical and problem-solving skills; takes initiative and drives for results; able to prioritize and recommend courses of action.
  • Partnership and Relationship Building: Strong professional representation of the Foundation, intercultural knowledge and appreciation, strategic partnership building.
  • Leadership: Thinks innovatively and creatively; demonstrates accountability and personal drive.
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: You’re committed to the mission of the Foundation, to inclusion, equity and diversity in every aspect of your work, and to challenging conventional wisdom through evidence, reason, and amplifying dissenting, unconventional, and marginalized voices.

Click to Apply

The Rockefeller Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.




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