Senior Climate Scientist
Union of Concerned Scientists - Washington, DC

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Senior Climate Scientist
Climate & Energy Program
Washington, DC Office

Within UCS’s Climate & Energy Program, the Senior Climate Scientist will work under the direction of both the Director of Program Development and the Senior Climate Scientist & Climate Campaign Analytic Lead. The Senior Climate Scientist role is twofold: 1) to define, scope, and research analytical products to advance the climate campaign in future years, and 2) to play an active role in Climate Campaign work involving rapid response media work and representing UCS externally as well as research/analysis projects with a duration of several months.

The role of the Senior Climate Scientist is also designed to:

A. Work extensively with the Senior Climate Scientist & Climate Campaign Analytic Lead to conceptualize, develop, and/or review immediate and major campaign products on climate science, ensuring scientific accuracy while striving for public understanding.

B. Serve as a UCS resource for media, outreach and policy activities by providing robust, timely, accessible and policy-relevant information on certain climate science and impacts topics.

C. Provide expert technical and analytical advice for Climate Program Development and the Climate Campaign, as needed.

Duties and responsibilities of the position include the following:
  • Climate Science Program Development.
    • Working with the Director of Program Development, provide leadership in identifying and developing relevant analytic and research projects that will feed into the climate campaign in future years.
    • Scope new ideas, develop project plans and assess an idea’s promise and implement work on promising ideas. Likely areas of work include analysis of climate impacts, and contributing to a multi-disciplinary team assessment of how climate change will affect the resilience of key aspects of the energy system.
  • Climate Impacts Project Work .
    • As assigned and working in close collaboration with the Climate Impacts Strategy (CIS) team, serve as project leader to develop products to be released within one year.
    • Work with key staff on the media and outreach aspects of high priority products. Serve as advisor or resource on research, web, or outreach projects led by other project leaders. Supervise science consultants as appropriate.
  • Expert Rapid Response.
    • Respond to immediate media needs, including participation in interviews, development of op-eds or Letters to the Editor, and engagement of external experts to work with the media staff; identify and maximize unexpected opportunities to advance the CIS (extreme weather events with a climate component, for example) and other climate impacts-related needs of media and communications staff
  • Climate Campaign Spokesperson.
    • Develop, review and ensure high quality UCS materials on climate science, including but not limited to science briefs, web pages, infographics, blog posts, press releases, telephone press briefings, expert testimony, draft legislation, webinars, and public presentations in support of the climate campaign.
  • Climate and Energy Program Resource
    • Serve as a climate science resource for media, outreach or policy goals in the Climate and Energy program, including support for foundation and fundraising efforts such as answering high priority member and donor questions, and assisting with proposal writing.
  • Expert Engagement
    • Maintain close working relationships with academic colleagues, including through participation in scientific conferences and policy-relevant research collaborations.
  • UCS
    • Provide support for the other UCS offices that may need periodic climate science review or input for high priority projects.
    • Stay up to date on the latest climate relevant publications, reports and science developments in the broad areas of climate science, impacts, mitigation, and adaptation.

A. Education and Experience
  • An in-depth knowledge of climate science and impacts and demonstrable ability to understand the public policy aspects of climate change and the role of technical analyses and advocacy in informing public opinion and policy debates.
  • PhD in a relevant field required. At UCS, comparable training and/or experience can be substituted for degrees when appropriate.
  • A strong background in climate change science and impacts and five to seven years of relevant work experience, including communicating science to a wide variety of audiences, especially the media.
  • Experience with the application of climate science to public policy a plus.
  • Extensive experience managing scientific and technical groups while utilizing project management techniques and supervising research staff is desired.
B. Knowledge and Skills
Candidates must have:
  • Strong public speaking skills, a demonstrable ability to write for non-technical audiences, and the ability to work both independently and as a member of a multidisciplinary team.
  • Strong communication and teamwork skills are essential.

Compensation, Hours, Location and Benefits
This is a full-time position based in UCS’s Washington, DC office. For candidates who meet all position requirements, the salary is in the high 80’s. UCS offers excellent benefits and a rewarding work environment, and is an equal opportunity employer continually seeking to diversify its staff and to broaden opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences and in environmental advocacy.

To Apply
Please submit a cover letter, a writing sample in which you communicate science for a general audience, salary requirements, how you learned about the position and resume via email to with “Climate Scientist” in the subject line. Email materials in Word or PDF format only. Inquiries and résumés should be sent to: Johnston and Company, E-mail: , Telephone: (310) 410-3905, Facsimile: (310) 410-3906 Deadline: January 2, 2014 or until filled.

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