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Job Posting: Research Internship with Ecotrust Canada

February 21, 2018

Researcher Job Description

Ecotrust Canada is seeking a researcher to support a current policy initiative advancing energy financing with indigenous communities.


Indigenous communities in British Columbia face a wide range of challenges related to colonialism, including a low quality of housing and a high cost for energy at the household level. These issues are at the root of many social, economic, and environmental issues faced by indigenous communities, including health challenges and respiratory issues related to the buildup of mold and moisture in homes and buildings.

Ecotrust Canada has been actively supporting Indigenous communities to develop energy projects at many points throughout our twenty-year history. Most recently, we have been working with communities to explore and identify opportunities to reduce heating costs for local residents and businesses. Notably, our solutions focus at this time is at the household scale, where the financial impacts are greatest for families and individual community members.

While there are many complexities to this work, we have identified that the very significant gap between the current financing available for this work and the scale of opportunity is a major impediment to energy systems change in Indigenous communities.

We are currently developing and launching a significant strategic project to advance financing solutions that meet Indigenous community energy needs at scale. We are currently in Phase I of this three-phase project, with an aim to conduct research to fill critical gaps in data, build relationships with key stakeholders, and develop a shortlist of potential financing solutions to be explored further.

The results of this research will be shared with indigenous communities and other stakeholders for feedback, and a final version will be presented to BC Hydro and the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources for consideration in policy development.

Job Description

The researcher will undertake a range of research activities identified, including the following:

  • Conduct a literature review to establish gaps in knowledge around indigenous community energy poverty & potential financing solutions in British Columbia
  • Assess the current funding environment for indigenous community energy efficiency & fuel-switching projects
  • Assess the potential level of investment demanded by indigenous community energy efficiency & fuel-switching projects
  • Assess the potential cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits of indigenous community energy efficiency & fuel-switching projects at their full potential scale
  • Gain understanding of institutional & other barriers preventing successful deployment of private finance to viable clean energy projects at the household scale in BC indigenous communities
  • Explore solutions that have been effective in other jurisdictions to deploy public & private finance at scale for household energy projects, and assess their ability to overcome institutional barriers identified for BC indigenous communities
  • Develop a summary report identifying key findings from research, including a shortlist of recommended potential solutions to be explored further in Phase II & III of this project

Key Qualifications

  • Excellent research skills & knowledge of research methodologies & techniques
  • Ability to identify strategic contacts and build rapport quickly to gather key information
  • High attention to detail and ability to work independently
  • Strong quantitative skills including economic analysis and/or financial analysis
  • High proficiency in Microsoft Office suite, including Word and Excel
  • Project management experience and/or capacity
  • Public Policy or Economics Background an asset


This position is open until filled with research taking place in summer 2018. There may be an opportunity to continue the research with additional funding in fall 2018 and beyond. Prior to beginning the internship, the selected student and their faculty supervisor will apply with Ecotrust for funding from Mitacs Accelerate. The student will receive a total award of $15,000 for their work on this research project: $7,500 from Ecotrust and $7,500 from Mitacs.


If interested, please contact Allison Brennan at with your resume.

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