Senior Research Scientist

Breakthrough Energy Published: January 11, 2022
Seattle, WA
Skill Level
Senior Level
Job Type
Analyst / Research / Climate Change / Scientific

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Established in 2015 by Bill Gates and a coalition of private investors concerned about the impacts of accelerating climate change, Breakthrough Energy supports the innovations that will lead the world to net-zero emissions.

We are building on the proven model of public-private partnerships that Gates has already used to transform health, education, and public welfare around the world. Breakthrough Energy is a network of entities and initiatives, including investment funds, nonprofit and philanthropic programs, and policy efforts linked by a common commitment to scale the technologies we need to achieve a path to net zero emissions by 2050. We are encouraging the development of new net-zero energy technologies, championing policies that speed innovation from lab to market, and bringing together governments, research institutions, private companies, and investors to expand and enhance clean-energy investment. 

Breakthrough Energy embraces diversity and recognize our responsibility to provide a diverse and inclusive work environment. We value the benefits that arise from a diverse organization and are committed to fostering a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion where employees of all backgrounds can collaboratively work and serve Breakthrough Energy’s mission. This is extended to all areas of the employee lifecycle and experience, including recruitment, hiring, compensation, training, promotions, career development programs, and benefits.

We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), parental status, national origin, age, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), political affiliation, military service, or other non-merit-based factors. We encourage diverse candidates to apply.


Breakthrough Energy is seeking a Senior Research Scientist to join the Breakthrough Energy Sciences team, focused on the team’s Energy System Modeling work. Breakthrough Energy Sciences has built a high-resolution open-source energy systems modeling platform to help governments, regulators, advocates, industry experts, and academic researchers navigate potential decarbonization pathways.

In this role, you’ll apply cutting-edge technologies to solve the energy and climate problems. As a Research Scientist, you will collaborate with a growing team of research scientists, software engineers, data scientists, and the product lead who are building an open-source simulation and optimization platform to study how to transition to a net zero energy system. The outcome of the work will provide decision support for future energy system planning, operation, and policy making. The ideal candidate will be self-driven, passionate, proactive, and be able to succeed within an open, collaborative, startup-like environment.


  • Conduct analyses of power-system simulations and optimizations using publicly available data sources and open-source software, and communicate results in both reports/papers and presentations
  • Research and develop models of energy system infrastructure and operations (both baseline and optimized) and develop specifications for how these models can be included in Breakthrough Energy open-source software tools
  • Collaborate with external research institutes and universities
  • Work with a diverse team on specific topics:
    • Current electric grid infrastructure and demand
    • Projections of buildouts of generation, transmission, and energy storage
    • Modeling of current & future market operations (e.g. security-constrained unit commitment, dispatch of both short-duration and long-duration energy storage)
    • Electrification of traditionally-fossil-fueled end-uses (e.g. transportation and building heating)
    • Demand-side flexibility (current and future)
    • Additional grid-coupled networks such as hydrogen and carbon-capture


  • Experience working with large-scale mathematical optimization problems and modeling tools
  • Strong analytical, research, and communication skills


  • Experience working for energy industry consulting companies, ISOs, RTOs, or large utilities highly preferred
  • Experience working for power system software vendors highly preferred
  • Experience with energy policy and regulatory analysis highly preferred
  • 5+ years of experience modeling, optimizing, and simulating large electric power systems
  • 5+ years of experience code development and review in Python, Julia, or other modern high-level object-oriented language
  • Experience of improving performance of large-scale simulation/optimization with ML/RL/AI techniques
  • PhD degree in Operational Research, Industrial System Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, or a similar field of study

Breakthrough Energy’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is also represented in our compensation philosophy. We are committed to offering starting salaries on the value of the position within the market. We do not believe salary should be based on a candidate’s ability to negotiate, previous salary history, or any other non-skills-based attributes. Breakthrough Energy believes that transparency is a pathway to achieving pay equity. We offer candidates a competitive compensation package that includes salary and generous benefits.

Breakthrough Energy will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations. If reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and/or to receive other benefits and privileges of employment, please contact Craig Staples at

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