Seeking Research Assistant for Spring and Winter Quarters at the Carbon Leadership Forum

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The Carbon Leadership Forum Seeks a Research Assistant for Spring and Winter 2022 Quarters to support research on Forestry, Biogenic Carbon and timber.

The Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF) is an industry-academic collaborative working with thousands of cross-sector professionals from across the world to accelerate the transformation of the building sector and radically reduce the carbon emissions associated with building materials and construction. Climate change and building decarbonization are complex and multi-stakeholder problems. Accelerating the adoption of low-carbon products, design strategies, and policies that can make a real impact on the climate crisis requires collective action. The CLF was founded to direct and empower such work. The CLF network is made up of architects, engineers, contractors, material suppliers, real estate professionals, and policymakers who work collaboratively to pioneer research, create resources and incubate member-led initiatives for the greatest collective impact.

This winter/spring the Carbon Leadership Forum is seeking a research fellow to support research on forestry, biogenic carbon and timber.

Forest to Buildings Research:
Mass timber and tall wood buildings are capturing imaginations across the building industry. While there are many reasons to use wood in construction, climate change is increasingly cited as a primary motivator. When sourced from a responsibly managed forest, wood can reduce carbon emissions of construction, especially compared to concrete and steel.

But all wood is not the same. Forest management affects carbon storage, human communities, water, and habitat. Climate-Smart Forestry – which relies on actions such as selective harvesting, longer rotation lengths and tight restrictions on hazardous chemicals – can store more carbon than conventional industrial forestry operations and provide a diverse set of ecosystem services. As designers seek to evaluate and utilize “climate-smart wood products” on their projects, they run into numerous barriers to adoption including conflicting science, supply-chain challenges, misleading marketing information and a scarcity of trusted information about the risk and challenges of scaling up climate-smart forest practices and an increased use of wood in construction. Additionally, while the basic science of biogenic carbon flows and ecosystems processes are robust, their translation into carbon accounting for both landscapes and products is limited and plagued with methodological challenges.

This project would involve background research on carbon accounting for wood, including both
product-specific LCA and forest carbon inventories. Project work will also entail becoming familiar with the scientific, policy, and trade literature surrounding use of wood as a climate solution. Tasks may include:

1. Collection and synthesis of current biogenic carbon guidances for buildings, products, and
2. Literature review of one or more topics related to: product-specific and whole building LCA,
material substitution, “Net-Zero” accounting, regulations, certifications, wood traceability, and the
role of conservation and restoration in forest carbon accounting.
3. Assembling a glossary of key terms across the wood supply chain
4. Identification and mapping of risk areas for increased investment in forests and long-life wood
products as a key natural climate solution (NCS).
5. Exploration of structure for a digital library of international wood research
6. Socio-political mapping of organizations and key players in the world of mass timber and wood
research, philanthropy, advocacy, and regulation.

Employment Terms and Eligibility
● Remote employment, flexible hours
● 20 hours a week for Winter 2021 and/or Spring 2022. Start and end dates to be negotiated.
● This position requires a candidate with deep interest in the subject material, ability to work
independently, good writing and research skills and a willingness to explore new topics and
subject areas.
● LCA modeling or data analysis skills are not required.

To apply, send a statement of interest, resume and names and contact information for three references to by Sunday, 11/14/2021.