Learn More about the Science Center

September 20, 2018

Science empowers NRDC's work on all our priority issues, from protecting wild places to building a clean energy future. On any given day, our scientists are developing new methods for science-based fisheries management, analyzing the costs and benefits of energy efficiency, documenting the climate impacts of logging in the boreal forest, or evaluating progress to alleviate lead contamination in drinking water.

The Science Center works across all of NRDC’s programmatic areas to advance and strengthen our expertise and the application of science, ensure the quality and credibility of our work with independent peer review, and build and support collaboration with scientists and research institutions outside of NRDC.

Science Fellows

The Science Center supports two-year postdoctoral fellowships for young scientists to work at NRDC. Science Fellows bring their specialized expertise to NRDC’s work on priority and emerging issues, and they gain unique experience working at the intersection of science and policy with our scientists, attorneys, policy experts and advocates. Past Science Fellows have worked on issues ranging from ocean acidification, groundwater management, antibiotic use in livestock production, and nuclear safety. After their fellowships, some of our Science Fellows have continued their careers at NRDC, like Science Center Deputy Director Kim Knowlton; others have moved on to academia, government agencies, other non-governmental organizations, or the private sector.

Research and Collaboration

In addition to the research and analytical work of our own scientists, NRDC magnifies its scientific capacity by working with scientists from universities, national laboratories, government agencies, other nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector. The Science Center helps build and support these collaborations with scientific expertise, staff and financial resources. Recent collaborative research projects supported by the Science Center include development of the Data Limited Methods Toolkit for science-based management of marine fisheries and the energy modeling analysis used for NRDC’s America’s Clean Energy Frontier: The Pathway to a Safer Climate Future report.

Data Analysis and Visualization

To inform and support our advocacy, NRDC scientists rely on analyzing the enormous amounts of data that are collected by universities, government agencies, and industry. Science Center experts in analytical design, statistics and data visualization work with program scientists, as well as our policy and legal experts, to frame and refine analyses, interpret and present results, and effectively communicate findings to policy makers, community leaders and the public. As one example, the Science Center is leading NRDC’s ongoing analyses of the health impacts of climate change.   

Independent Peer Review

The Science Center administers NRDC’s independent peer review process for all our scientific and technical reports and other publications. In addition to independent review by external experts, final review by the Science Center ensures that NRDC uses the best available science, rigorous and appropriate data collection and analytical methods, and presents accurate, clear descriptions and interpretation of scientific information and analytical results.

Science Communication

Clearly and accurately describing results of complex scientific analyses and what they mean to us—our environment, our health and our communities—is not as easy as it looks. The Science Center works with NRDC scientists and our communications experts to help bring the facts, make the connections, and tell the stories of how science informs and guides our work on topics ranging from toxic chemicals, energy efficiency, and how climate change threatens health.