What is the RFF research community like?
At RFF, you will find about 57 PhD colleagues and other researchers engaged in environmental, energy, and natural resource policy research and analysis. In addition, many university faculty members hold joint appointments at RFF or serve as visiting fellows at RFF. The work atmosphere is informal and collegial. Daily work schedules are flexible. RFF often hosts both in-house seminars on current research and public seminars that convene high-level policymakers, the business community, and leading academics from around the world.
How is RFF organized?
RFF is located in Washington, DC, and the breadth of our geographic reach encompasses programs around the world. First and foremost, RFF is a community of scholars who care about impact, where there is unparalleled opportunity to do research and analysis in environmental economics that has real world applications for decisionmaking. Our work is highly collaborative, with many of our researchers coauthoring academic articles and other research publications.
RFF’s research staff is organized in two programs, with diverse but interconnected research emphases to maintain a strong focus on the most pressing environmental, energy, and natural resource concerns of our time. RFF researchers affiliate with one of the programs but can work on topics associated with the other program, as appropriate.
- RFF’s Energy and Climate Program works to advance reliable, clean energy and reduce carbon emissions, while balancing the need for economic advancement.
- RFF’s Land, Water, and Nature Program works to build healthy and productive natural systems that are resilient to a changing climate and support a thriving economy.
How is RFF’s research agenda established?
RFF’s research agenda is established through its two programs. Each year the program vice presidents lead processes with the researchers to set research, outreach, and fundraising priorities for the coming year. These processes are collaborative and require the involvement and input of all research staff, as well as RFF’s communications and development teams. In addition, individuals at all levels of experience are actively encouraged to initiate and develop creative ideas for research projects. RFF’s research agenda must ultimately address RFF’s mission and attract external interest and support. Given the substantial, continuing policy interest in the issues RFF addresses, this approach has succeeded over many decades.
How are RFF researchers involved in academic opportunities?
RFF researchers are recognized as top experts in their fields, routinely engaging in professional conferences, workshops, peer review, and other scholarly activities. Those who wish to teach can easily arrange to lecture or instruct classes at universities in the Washington area. RFF was one of the founding institutions that supported the creation of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists and remains a charter member of that organization.
RFF prizes professional development of its staff and sets aside resources for that purpose.
How can researchers engage in public service and the policymaking process?
Like a university, RFF prizes high-quality scholarship and designs the researcher career path to promote accomplishment. In addition, RFF researchers have the opportunity and support to actively engage with policymakers at the highest levels. The chance to make a palpable difference in the nation’s policy choices is a key reason why researchers choose to be a part of RFF.
RFF researchers regularly appear before various federal congressional committees, such as the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the Senate Committee on Finance, the House Committee on Ways and Means, and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, among others. RFF researchers also hold informal briefings with elected officials and staff, as well as workshops with agency administrators at federal, state, and local levels.
They are also routinely called upon for service in the federal government, including as senior staffers on the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, as special assistants to the president, and as agency heads, assistant or deputy assistant secretaries, and chief economists at federal agencies.
RFF researchers are also frequently asked to serve on high-level honorary, advisory, and technical committees sponsored by a wide variety of institutions, including many federal agencies, the National Academy of Sciences, professional economics associations, international and multilateral development organizations, foundations, research institutes, and other nongovernmental organizations.
How do RFF researchers disseminate their work, in addition to producing research papers?
In addition to publishing research working papers, issue briefs, journal articles, and reports, RFF researchers contribute to RFF's flagship magazine, Resources, which features articles, interviews, analysis, blog posts, and more.
RFF researchers are also regularly quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, National Public Radio, Marketplace, the Associated Press, National Journal, Politico, USA Today, the Financial Times, US News & World Report, and a host of trade press publications.
How is RFF funded?
RFF operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt organization. The majority of RFF’s funding comes from government and foundation grants and individual and corporate contributions. RFF augments its income by an annual withdrawal from its reserve fund to support operations. Details are available in RFF’s annual reports.
RFF does not conduct private or proprietary research for any funder, business, or government entity. RFF publishes all research findings openly. To ensure research independence, RFF does not accept corporate gifts for individual research projects.