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Ocean Science Trust

Science Director

– Sacramento, California
Employment Type Full time
Minimum Experience Senior Manager/Supervisor

We’re hiring!  Science Director

About California Ocean Science Trust

We are a small non profit organization dedicated to accelerating progress towards a healthy and productive ocean future for California. Created by state legislation, we bridge the gap between cutting-edge scientific research and sound ocean management.

Our strength lies in nimble response to state priorities. On evolving topics as diverse as climate adaptation, plastic pollution and aquaculture, we leverage public and private funding to bring diverse perspectives together and foster innovative approaches to difficult problems.  As Science Advisor to the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) we work to build novel science partnerships, to synthesize cutting-edge science into pragmatic roadmaps, to inform strategic science investments and grow science capacity. We serve as the Secretariat to the legislatively mandated OPC Science Advisory Team and Ocean Acidification & Hypoxia Science Task Force.  

Ocean Science Trust values an equitable, multicultural workplace. We are an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to engaging the skills, perspectives, and leadership of people of color, LGBTQ people, and other individuals from marginalized backgrounds; we encourage these candidates to apply for this position.

Science Director

In a newly visioned position for the organization, the Science Director will collaboratively lead the development and implementation of a portfolio of programmatic work that connects the dots between science and policy on the most pressing ocean and coastal challenges for California. The Science Director will work in partnership with a peer Strategy Director and Finance & Administration Director to ensure that our mission-driven work is grounded by a sustainable forward-looking business strategy and supported by strong internal operations.

Our ideal candidate is inspired by the potential to engage on a breadth of ocean conservation and management topics, can creatively build a portfolio of projects that best executes on our mission, and is willing to adapt to evolving policy and management priorities. In the last couple of years, we have tackled topics ranging from sea-level rise and ocean acidification to climate-ready fisheries and marine pollution. We anticipate a deepening focus on climate adaptation strategies, the ocean-climate nexus, and coastal resource development (e.g., aquaculture, renewable energy).

This role is as much about strengthening the science-policy interface with novel partnerships, tools, processes and pilot projects as it is about ocean and coastal conservation and management. We are seeking creativity and a passion for growing and diversifying the science capacity applied to California’s ocean and coastal priorities.

We are a strongly collaborative team, both internally and externally. A successful Science Director will engage internally to support and elevate project and program development and execution by all program team members, and will be comfortable in both leading and supporting roles on projects. Externally, the Science Director will employ strong political antennae and an open, communicative approach to serve as a trusted nexus between policy-makers, scientists and stakeholders.

We strongly prefer candidates who can work in Sacramento, but will consider other work locations with frequent travel to Sacramento and elsewhere in California.  This position reports to the Executive Director, who is based in Sacramento, with staff located across the broader San Francisco Bay Area. Our small team values the flexibility of remote work and is dedicated to effective remote team collaboration.


Leadership & Management

  • Provide a clear vision, strategic direction and oversight for programmatic work, with a focus on mission alignment and sustainability. Lead the implementation of current programmatic work and the development, design and execution of new projects and initiatives.

  • Work in partnership with the Strategy and Finance & Administration Directors to ensure that programmatic work is aligned with organizational business and financial needs and priorities, and staff capacity and expertise.

  • Lead, coach and develop mid-career staff with diverse and deep expertise at the science-policy interface. Foster continued effective remote team collaboration.

  • Ensure ongoing programmatic excellence, integrity and transparency, through productive partnerships and rigorous program/project management.

Partnerships and Communications

  • Maintain, cultivate and advance productive partnerships and collaborations with all stakeholders, including state and federal government decision-makers, tribes, community leaders, industry, NGOs and the academic scientific community.

  • Represent the organization in diverse venues, such as community meetings, academic conferences, and state partners meetings.

  • Ensure the successful delivery of high quality products that meet the needs and expectations of clients and key audiences.

Fundraising and Development

  • Identify and pursue funding opportunities to advance the mission of the organization.

  • Maintain and develop new relationships with funders, with a focus on state, federal and philanthropic funders.

Intellectual Foundations and Organizational Culture

  • Set a critical leadership tone for the organization by fostering strong internal communications and transparency of process.

  • Promote intellectual development and cross-disciplinary exchange among staff.


Skills and attributes:

  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively as part of a multidisciplinary team.

  • Possess an entrepreneurial spirit and be a creative and flexible thinker

  • Possess a collaborative and service-oriented focus, with an ability to balance multiple perspectives

  • Demonstrated strategic, analytic, and synthetic abilities

  • Ability to design and implement collaborative processes and engage effectively with a diverse portfolio of public and private contractors, partners, and collaborators

  • Possess an extensive network of science, management, and policy experts

  • Strong networking and relationship building skills

  • Outcome-driven project management skills

  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills; ability to translate scientific and technical concepts and organizational messages for diverse audiences

  • Ability to prioritize multiple tasks and remain flexible when faced with short or changing timelines

  • Authorized to work in the United States

Knowledge and experience:

  • 10+ years of substantive and relevant experience; familiarity with California’s marine and coastal human-natural ecosystems preferred

  • Advanced degree in climate science, social science, political science, public policy, natural resource management, or other relevant field

  • Demonstrated success fostering professional growth of staff

  • Demonstrated effectiveness in fundraising and managing relationships with funders to build excitement for and successfully frame mission-driven work

  • Extensive knowledge of policy processes and management approaches to ocean and coastal resources

  • Experience working within or alongside social science disciplines, and an understanding of the role of social science plays in managing coupled human-natural systems

  • Experience and comfort with online and other tools and processes for effective remote team collaboration

Salary and Benefits

Starting salary range for the Science Director is $100,000-$110,000. OST offers a generous benefit plan, which includes paid time off, medical, dental, and vision insurance, and up to 3.5% employer matching 403b plan.

To Apply

Click the orange "Apply for this Job" button, complete the questionnaire, and upload your cover letter describing your specific interest and fit for the position, and resume when prompted. You will receive acknowledgement of your application, and will be kept updated throughout the process. Applicant review will begin on July 1, and position/s will remain open until filled. Thank you for your interest!

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  • Location
    Sacramento, California
  • Employment Type
    Full time
  • Minimum Experience
    Senior Manager/Supervisor
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