Council on Energy, Environment and Water Integrated | International | Independent

Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), New Delhi
Programme Lead – Sustainable Food Systems (Bio-economy / Nature-Based Solutions / Consumer Behaviour / Payment for Ecosystem Services / System Dynamics)

At CEEW, we are deliberate about what we stand for (and what we don’t stand for!) as an employer. So, if the below description strikes a chord, we would love to hear from you!

At CEEW, we build careers in public policy

  • We offer strong visionary leadership – with emphasis on research and impact at scale
  • We actively promote leadership by initiative
  • We celebrate talent and ambition
  • You will be surrounded by smart people who will challenge you and help you grow
  • You will learn faster than your peers in other organisations
  • Curiosity and irreverence, as well as responsibility, come together at CEEW
  • You will get above-market remuneration
  • We provide a safe space for all
  • At CEEW, your life is your example for others

Designation offered
Programme Lead

Team/ Focus area
Sustainable Food systems

Reporting to
Fellow / Senior Programme Lead

New Delhi


We seek to hire a Programme Lead to conceptualise, strategise, design, lead, and expand Sustainable Food Systems (SFS) Programme’s expanding work in the fields of:

  • Changing consumer behaviour at scale, and/or
  • Bio-economy and nature-based solution (NBS), and/or
  • Payments for ecosystem services (PES), and/or
  • System Dynamics

With their supervisor’s support, the individual would build on The Council’s existing work in this field and develop it into a full-fledged programme. He/She would identify our niche and strengths and would create and maintain our thought leadership in those areas. While building and leading a team, she/he would advance our research, policy engagement, and impact in one or more of the above-listed four fields, in addition to other on-going project areas.

Job Duties and Accountabilities


  • Develop an overall strategy for The Council’s Sustainable Food Systems programme by building on existing in-house thinking, assessment of the work programme of other institutions in the sector, our skillset niche, evolving sectoral narrative, and emerging government priorities. The PL must work closely with the team to bring in alignment within the team on the strategy.
  • Build a network of donors and partners to achieve indications of support further the work programme.


  • Lead research in the programme area as a principal investigator. Guide and provide relevant inputs to the research. Some examples of the kind of research ideas/projects:
    • Understanding the drivers and constraints in animal-rearing in different states of the country (via develop and lead primary surveys, focus group discussions) to enable development of state level dairy sector transformation roadmaps
    • Building quantitative models (system dynamic, integrated assessment, general equilibrium, etc.) and scenarios to enable informed policy making in food systems
    • Developing methodology for ‘true cost’ assessment of food production in India and delivery of the same assessments.
    • Understanding the drivers behind the food choices Indian consumers make to come up with scalable strategies for driving consumer behaviour shift
    • Identifying strategies for reducing Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) costs to enable attractiveness of Payment of Ecosystem Services (PES) for the stakeholders
    • Assessing the economic potential and jobs potential bio-economy and nature-based solutions for the states for India
  • Lead research activities regarding the impact of emerging sustainable agricultural practices on GHG emissions, water stress, and crop production.
  • Assess and improve existing methodologies and frameworks in the valuation of natural capital and build institutional capacity on such methodologies
  • Research and design economic incentive mechanisms such as polluter pay, or payment for ecosystem services to address incentives-related challenges in the resolution of conflicts that are of an environmental nature
  • Leverage community-based participatory research to engage with the target research subjects to refine new project objectives, research scope, and build local capacity
  • Develop and lead primary surveys and questionnaires and to collect, collate and analyse responses using different statistical and econometric approaches
  • Develop a robust monitoring and evaluation protocol to assess the quality and efficiency of data collection and programme interventions
  • Keep a tab on policy and technological developments in sustainable agriculture and food systems

Leadership and Mentoring

  • Take end-to-end ownership of the programme. Ideate new research concepts with team members, develop project proposals and budgets, build relationships with donors that align with the institution’s interests, secure resources for building and expanding the work programme, deliver high-quality, timely outputs, engage with the sectoral stakeholders, strive for impact, and develop CEEW’s thought leadership.
  • Build and lead your team. Hone the team members to the best of their abilities. Stretch and strive and set leadership by example.
  • Lead the strategic outreach of the programme. Lead external meetings, conferences, seminars and be the face of CEEW in your programme area, while also creating platforms for your team for public engagement. Strategise communication and outreach of research outputs along with the outreach team. Ensure implementation of developed strategic outreach plans. Build strong relationships based on trust and credibility with key policymakers and sector stakeholders.

Selection Criteria


  • PhD or Master's degree in agriculture/agroecology/natural resource management/impact evaluation/agricultural economics/ecological economics/environmental economics/ complexity science/ system dynamics/food systems/nutrition/econometrics/consumer behaviour/ sociology/ anthropology/ international relations/public policy or any other relevant field relevant for food system transformation. Candidates who have developed relevant specialist skills around the following fields will be given a strong preference:
    • Changing consumer behaviour at scale, and/or
    • Bio-economy and nature-based solution (NBS), and/or
    • Payments for ecosystem services (PES), and/or
    • System Dynamics

Professional experience

  • At least seven years of relevant experience in undertaking and leading research, policy engagement, and project management, preferably in the areas of ecosystem services agriculture, food systems, biodiversity, forestry, sustainable production, and climate policy, bioeconomy, nature based solutions, consumer behaviour change, payments for ecosystem services / Ecological Economics / Environmental economics, etc. Candidates who have prior experience in the following fields will be given a strong preference:
    • Changing consumer behaviour at scale, and/or
    • Bio-economy and nature-based solution (NBS), and/or
    • Payments for ecosystem services (PES), and/or
    • System Dynamics
  • Demonstrated history of publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • Strong track record of team management and project management including timely delivery of outputs
  • Experience in dealing with public and private institutions and building relationships with collaborators and government stakeholders
  • Experience in designing and leading interdisciplinary and inter-programmatic work
  • Significant field experience of working with on-ground stakeholders including farmers, agriculture extension organisations, communities, etc.
  • Demonstrated experience in raising research project grants
  • Have demonstrated thought leadership in the areas relevant to the ToR.

Main skills

  • Strong proficiency with various quantitative and qualitative research methods in ecosystem services and agriculture research
  • Deep understanding of agricultural science including its relationships with ecosystem services
  • Strong analytic skills and quantitative research skills, including proficiency in R, Stata, SPSS, Python, or other statistical software
  • Ability to apply technical knowledge to varied socio-cultural, ecological and political contexts
  • Strong writing skills with the ability to write coherently and concisely emails, opinion pieces, policy briefs, and reports
  • Strong oral communication skills as well as an interest in public speaking
  • Strong interpersonal skills, and confidence to engage with political and business leaders
  • Strong interest and ability to lead teams, to empathise with younger researcher, and to guide them


  • Ambitious. Curious. Adaptive. Proactive.
  • Leader. Comfortable with uncertainty. Strategic and deliberate.
  • Striving for rigour and impact at scale
  • Detail-oriented, while always keeping the larger picture in mind
  • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary and multicultural environment
  • Strong interest and flexibility to travel and be on the ground
  • Flexibility towards long work hours when the situation demands


Competitive compensation – commensurate to the experience and matching the best of standards adopted by industry or other similar organizations for similar roles.

Application Process

CEEW is an equal opportunity employer and the selection process does not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, caste, ethnicity, religion, or sexuality. Female candidates are encouraged to apply.

Interested candidates may send their CV and cover letter (in one pdf) with 'Application: PL – Sustainable Food Systems’ as the subject line. We review applications on a rolling basis. Interested applicants are advised to apply at the earliest possible.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. We appreciate your interest.

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