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Ocean Science Trust

Science Officer/Senior Science Officer

– Sacramento, California
Employment Type Full time
Minimum Experience Mid-level

We’re hiring!   Science Officer/Senior Science Officer

About California Ocean Science Trust

We are a small nonprofit 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 research findings 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.

Senior Science Officer/Science Officer

We are looking to grow our team and are seeking a creative and dynamic scientist who is passionate about working at the science-policy interface to join us as Science Officer/Senior Science Officer.

Science Officers pursue, design and implement projects and initiatives across a diverse and evolving range of coastal and ocean topics. Our work tackles the most pressing ocean and coastal issues in California by bringing people and information together to develop pragmatic, forward-looking scientific guidance. Our current and anticipated near-term portfolio of projects includes opportunities to address coastal adaptation in response to sea-level rise, sustainable natural resource management including marine protected area network evaluation, and ocean pollution including plastic pollution. Effective convening and facilitation skills are essential. Senior Science Officers are expected to manage a larger project portfolio and draw upon a deeper range of prior experience and expertise to independently design and execute processes to support collaborative scientific dialogue.

Our team is passionate about growing science capacity in California to bring the best and most strategic advice and information to bear on a growing set of ocean challenges. We are seeking a Science Officer/Senior Science Officer who is inspired by the potential to grow and diversify the scientific community engaged in research aligned with policy needs, and to design and pilot processes for improved understanding of policy and management research needs. Senior Science Officers will have demonstrated experience in aligning human and financial capacity to accelerate progress on priority conservation and management issues.

All team members play an important role in project development and fundraising. Science Officers maintain a broad awareness of advancements in ocean and coastal science, track changing political and policy priorities, and possess a keen eye for opportunities for science to advance an issue. Senior Science Officers bring experience in forming novel science partnerships and collaborations, a broad knowledge of the science-funding landscape, and an entrepreneurial approach to new initiatives.

Strong partnership building skills, diplomacy and an open communicative style are critical to success in this role. We collaborate with a diverse array of state, federal, tribal, non-profit, academic and private partners. We are seeking a creative-thinker who listens and responds to partner needs, and is experienced in designing and implementing inclusive and collaborative processes with trusted science outcomes.

We are a strongly collaborative team. Our ideal candidate is comfortable in leading and supporting roles on individual projects and is willing to adapt roles in response to team needs. Science Officers typically report to director-level staff and grow mentorship and supervision skills in guiding the work of science fellows and interns. Senior Science Officers may also supervise staff. We are committed to a strong culture of attention to professional and career development.

Our small team values the flexibility of remote work and is dedicated to effective remote team collaboration. Remote work locations will be considered but ability and willingness for frequent travel to Sacramento and other locations in California, for both internal and external in-person collaboration is essential.


  • Lead and manage a portfolio of complex, interdisciplinary projects from idea to implementation, including proposal and budget development, project planning, managing teams and ensuring high quality deliverables that advance the needs of the organization and the State.

  • Design and implement collaborative processes that engage a wide range of scientists, managers and stakeholders, including convening working groups, advisory committees, workshops and meetings.

  • Engage the scientific and academic communities in producing, synthesizing, and reviewing scientific information, providing technical expertise and developing a range of products to provide a rigorous foundation for policy and management dialogues.

  • Develop reports, white papers, briefings, presentations and other communication materials to synthesize and communicate scientific information across a diverse range of audiences.

  • Maintain and grow relationships with external partners (e.g., government, academia, stakeholders, funders) and represent the organization at meetings, conferences and other venues.

  • Contribute to organizational development through engaging in strategic planning, grant writing and management, and identifying and pursuing opportunities for collaboration and cross-fertilization across the organization and with external partners.

  • Lead project teams, serve as a mentor to team members, and supervise interns, fellows and contractors. Senior Science Officers may also supervise program staff as needs and budget allow.


Skills and attributes:

  • Creative, independent and proactive learner, able to quickly get up to speed on new topics and bring a fresh perspective and approach to projects.

  • Strong scientific aptitude, with the ability to understand and communicate information effectively across a wide range of disciplines and audiences.

  • Ability to synthesize and translate complex science and policy concepts, distill and organize critical information from diverse sources, and identify knowledge gaps and opportunities for science to inform decision making.

  • Robust and refined project management skills and the ability to adapt as projects evolve, prioritize among multiple tasks and adjust to short or changing timelines.

  • Ability to set clear objectives, timelines and priorities, and lead collaborative processes and technical working groups toward cohesive and objective-driven outputs.

  • Exceptional oral and written communication skills and the ability to write clearly, cohesively and succinctly.

  • Flexible team player, able to take on diverse tasks and play both supporting and leading roles as needed to achieve organizational goals.

  • Strong interpersonal skills to professionally and effectively represent the organization to all partners, funders, vendors, contractors and other constituents.

  • Refined political acumen and understanding of policy processes.

  • Authorized to work in the U.S.

Knowledge and experience:

  • Master’s degree or Ph.D. in natural or social science, resource management or other relevant field required, and 4+ years relevant experience; 7+ years for Senior Science Officer.

  • Understanding of current issues in, and approaches to, environmental and natural resource policy and management. Familiarity with California’s marine and coastal ecosystems and/or policy and management structures.

  • Experience working across scientific disciplines and at the science-to-policy interface.

  • Demonstrated experience working within multi-organizational partnerships that rely on collaboration rather than formal reporting structures.

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

  • Prior experience working within a variety of roles and engaging with diverse groups.

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

Salary and Benefits

Starting salary range for Science Officer is $60,000-$65,000, and for Senior Science Officer is $75,000-$85,000. 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
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