Energy Policy Institute at Chicago (EPIC)

About the Department

The Air Quality Life Index, or AQLI, is an award-winning, first-of-its-kind initiative that develops frontier research on pollution’s impact on life expectancy and communicates that research to policymakers, media and citizens around the world. Developed by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), the AQLI is based on cutting-edge research by EPIC’s director Michael Greenstone that quantifies the causal relationship between human exposure to air pollution and reduced life expectancy. Combining this analysis with highly localized pollution measurements yields unprecedented insight into the true cost of air pollution in communities around the world. Through a virtual platform, users anywhere on Earth can zoom in to their community and understand the effect of the air they breathe on their life expectancy. Equipped with this data, policymakers and members of the public can determine the benefits of policies to reduce pollution and take informed action. The AQLI’s virtual platform is fully available in English, Hindi, and Mandarin Chinese. Its data has been used to produce detailed pollution analysis for countries around the world in local languages, including Urdu, Indonesian, Thai and more. These findings have been used to brief senior government leaders in some of the most polluted countries, and have received coverage from more than 300 media outlets, reaching more than 1.1 billion people globally in both top-tier and local outlets across print, digital, television, and radio platforms. Since its launch in 2018, the AQLI has featured prominently in air pollution discussions around the world and has played a role in clean air policy developments in multiple countries.

Job Summary

Reporting to EPIC Faculty Director Michael Greenstone, the Director-AQLI will be responsible for determining, managing, and successfully executing the next stage of the AQLI’s development. As the public face of the AQLI, the Director-AQLI is expected to play an active role in global discussions to raise awareness about the health impacts of air pollution, and the clean air policies that can reduce pollution. The Director-AQLI will manage the production of a steady stream of original and creative AQLI content, and also regularly present the AQLI to new audiences around the world. The Director-AQLI will collaborate with colleagues at EPIC and at UChicago to identify opportunities to implement cutting-edge research projects, and to influence the design of clean air policies globally.


  • Defines the overall mission of the AQLI, metrics for success, and quarterly and annual goals.
  • Produces a steady stream of original, creative, and timely AQLI-related content through research and data analysis.
  • Establishes an internal strategy to guide scale-up in 5 to 7 heavily-polluted markets.
  • Forms strategic partnerships to amplify communications impact and policy dialogue in new markets as well as globally.
  • Presents the AQLI to audiences, including at conferences, television, podcasts, etc.
  • Expands the AQLI’s network of collaborators working on air pollution research and related topics, potentially through hosting virtual and in-person panel discussions, identifying other ways to feature related third-party work, or participating in forums and groups organized by other parties.
  • Engages with policymakers to ensure that the AQLI is used to create meaningful changes.
  • Manages the overall development of the AQLI website with EPIC’s communications team, while regularly vetting and exploring new ideas to improve the design of the website and/or extend the scope of the platform to ensure that it remains dynamic and relevant.
  • Secures new sources of funds to enable rapid growth in outreach in multiple countries.
  • Manages the overall AQLI budget, as well as the activities of staff working on the AQLI scale-up, including data analysts and outreach staff.
  • Collaborates with EPIC and UChicago colleagues to conduct original research on topics that will directly complement the primary AQLI responsibilities listed above.
  • Provides leadership for a Center with senior management and serves as a liaison to academic departments, professional organizations and administrative units of the University.
  • Oversees with EPIC’s communications team a communication strategy and marketing efforts aimed at increasing the visibility of the Center. Collaborates with others to make the Center a valuable resource to all students and contributes to the broad goals of creating a stronger campus community.
  • Approximate time commitment: 30% on the development and production of AQLI content; 30% on fundraising, partnership development, and public speaking; 30% on research and knowledge creation; 10% on management and administrative tasks.
  • Develops goals and operating procedures, practices, and guidelines for research activity based on department strategy.
  • Manages the laboratory facilities, including the purchase of new equipment and the maintenance and repair of laboratory equipment.
  • Reviews research of others, and may conduct own research, in area of expertise. Edits and approves articles, reports and manuscripts. Presents research findings at meetings and/or conference. Manages the research of processes in clinical or non-clinical settings. Program and use computers to store, process, and analyze data.
  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications


Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 7+ years of work experience in a related job discipline.


Preferred Qualifications


  • PhD in economics, or a closely related field with demonstrated understanding of development and/or energy economics.


  • Background in global economic development and/or energy/environment research.
  • Participation in economic policy making.
  • Management of research and communications staff.

Technical Skills or Knowledge:

  • Superior communications, presentation, and public speaking skills.
  • Translate complex research into accessible, accurate content.
  • Very strong writing and copy editing skills.
  • Strong understanding of environmental economics research with experience managing complex research projects.
  • Excellent fundraising capabilities, including writing proposals and working with high-level donors.
  • Creative social media skills, with some exposure to working with news media.

Preferred Competencies

  • Develop and maintain strong partnerships with external collaborators, funders, journalists, or other important constituencies.
  • Engage closely with policymakers, media, researchers, and NGOs.
  • Demonstrated experience successfully growing and leading a team.
  • High degree of enthusiasm, energy, and creativity.
  • Successful leadership skills.
  • Evidence of strategic planning; ability to align tactical work efforts with strategic vision.
  • Project execution skills, including managing deadlines and projecting financial statements.
  • Proven ability to multitask and successfully complete projects on tight deadlines with little supervision.
  • Willingness to work hard, be self-motivated, and learn is essential for doing well in this position.
  • Excellent oral and written communication and public speaking skills including the ability to translate technical ideas into non-technical content.
  • Understand how to support student and faculty researchers.
  • Support building relationships across diverse cultures and backgrounds, within the University, the regional ecosystem, and globally.
  • Entrepreneurial approach and the ability to operate in start-up mode, adapting to the changing needs of a new and evolving organization.
  • Familiarity with working in a university setting.

Working Conditions

  • Perform tasks mostly indoors in an office setting.
  • Work independently for periods of eight (8) hours or more.
  • Some travel to new markets.

Application Documents

  • Resume/CV (required)
  • Cover Letter (preferred)
  • Three Professional References (required)