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MCJ Collective
MCJ Collective

Scientific Research Associate: Nature-based Carbon Removal Solutions



London, UK
Posted on Friday, October 27, 2023

Reporting To: Head of Science

Environment: We’re hybrid (London or Berlin). In rare cases we'd be able to accommodate candidates who need to work remotely. Candidates would need to have their own right to work (We cannot sponsor visas at present).

Travel: Some travel is required (visiting customers/projects/conferences/team gatherings)

Opna’s Vision

Imagine a thriving, equitable planet where everyone actively participates and benefits from building projects that contribute to a low-carbon economy, safeguarding our environment, and combating climate change. At Opna, we are on a mission to make this vision a reality, becoming the world's most trusted platform for climate finance. Our goal is simple: to unlock the needed capital for every high-quality climate project that addresses climate change with speed, scale, and equity.

About the challenge and our solutions:

5200 businesses worldwide have made commitments to achieve net zero targets by 2050. However, these bold commitments are falling short, with only 7% of companies on track to fulfil their pledges. The reality is that to accelerate this pace and reach their net zero goals in a cost and time efficient manner, corporates will have to offset and inset emissions in the voluntary carbon market (“VCM”).

While the VCM is projected to become a trillion dollar industry, the prevalent mechanism in the market of purchasing carbon credits is strained by quality concerns and supply shortfalls, exacerbated by an anticipated explosion of demand in the years ahead.

To achieve their net zero commitments, an increasing number of corporates are seizing control by directly financing the carbon projects underlying the carbon credits. However, these businesses are having a hard time mobilising their capital due to a lack of in-house expertise, high transaction costs, analogue infrastructure, and time-consuming processes. Opna's goal is to provide the platform, data, and financing innovation that unlocks this capital, bridging the gap between corporates committed to reaching net-zero and carbon projects that seek financing.

We offer a carbon projects financing platform that helps businesses discover, finance, and manage pre-assessed carbon removal and reduction projects to accelerate their journey to net zero. Through our software, we improve the discovery of carbon projects, standardize financing processes and contracts, offer digitized carbon portfolio & asset management tools, and bring down the time and cost of due diligence projects through our proprietary risk assessment framework.

We recently announced our $6.5 million seed financing round led by leading European VC Atomico and joined by our existing backers like Pale Blue Dot, My Climate Journey and several Unicorn founders.

Your Mission in this role

As our Scientific Research Lead on Nature-based solutions, you will lead on building and communicating the scientific rigor expected of high-quality projects on Opna's platform. You will help shape our risk-assessment models and due diligence standards, further positioning Opna as the go-to trusted partner to our corporate and project development partners.


You will own the research, analysis and implementation of the frameworks/assessments for nature-based approaches to carbon reduction and removal. This role requires individual contribution, cross-collaboration with the wider team at Opna, ability to work directly with clients and to also lead and build Opna's scientific team.

  • Technology Risk Assessment: Identify and assess scientific risks associated with existing and emerging carbon removal/reduction technologies to identify improvements and create more effective/robust pathways for our customers.
  • Science leadership and Ecosystem building: Build shareable and accessible scientific thesis and knowledge across the carbon removal/reduction space and for specific project types in the nature-based and engineered solutions. Be the go-to person at Opna for liaising with and building out a wider scientific community.
  • Scientific Due Diligence: Identify opportunities to enhance our scientific due diligence process and actively support its implementation to ensure the highest standards of scientific rigor.
  • Standards and Methodologies Analysis: Conduct thorough and ongoing analysis of the various carbon markets standards and methodologies (in some cases, collaborating with our industry partners) to highlight gaps and opportunities for improvements
  • Deliver Actionable insights: Work closely with the commercial and product teams at Opna to integrate and embed scientific knowledge/inputs into our product/model but to also demystify the science for customers and stakeholders
  • Help co-create and drive the company's positioning and strategy: Work closely with our Head of Science and other founding team members to shape/communicate Opna's value proposition, positioning and brand in the ecosystem

To thrive in this role, you have:

  • Strong experience in assessing nature-based carbon technologies and methodologies
  • An ownership mindset to deliver in an early-stage, fast-paced, and mission-driven environment
  • The ability to work independently on complex scientific topics while also being able to work collaboratively to inform the strategy and work of the wider team
  • A mindset of seeking constant improvement/questioning so we can stay ahead as the science evolves and as carbon markets mature
  • You have excellent communication skills - verbal and written - Your work will involve a lot of communication internally, and externally
  • You truly want your work to have an enormous impact on finding scaleable robust solutions to climate change
  • You are not afraid to be non-consensus - You want to bring and advocate for fresh ideas, within our team but also in this emerging nascent landscape of carbon markets

Competitive salary, generous options, 25 days holiday + bank holidays, pension, homeworking set-up allowance.

Our Team

Today, we’re a small and agile team across London, Berlin and Barcelona. Collectively we have deep experience and expertise across capital markets, carbon markets, climate finance and FinTech. We keep each other accountable. We rely on regular and open communication. We share our optimism for finding solutions to climate change. We’re gritty and actively practise empathy. We are serious about our work but don't take ourselves too seriously!

Diversity & Inclusion

We know that diversity is multifaceted and intersectional, and we want to build a company where different identities and perspectives can come together to deliver on our mission and vision. We are a venture-backed company founded and led by a woman of colour. 100% of our team today has their roots in the global south, and over half of our pre-seed investors identify as women. We speak English, Hindi, Spanish and French across our team.