Senior Climate Scientist

Oakland, California (US)
Sep 14, 2017
Oct 14, 2017
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Senior Climate Scientist
Union of Concerned Scientists
Oakland, CA Office

The Position
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is an independent national nonprofit whose scientists and engineers work to solve some of our planet’s most pressing environmental and safety problems. UCS combines technical analysis and effective organizing and advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for stemming the tide of global warming, sustainable food policy and agriculture, energy and transportation, fighting misinformation and reducing the threat of catastrophic nuclear war. 

As Western States Senior Climate Scientist you will design and carry out research on how California and other western states can cope with the current and projected impacts of climate change, including  impacts on water systems and how water management strategies can enhance future water supply sustainability.  Working with a dynamic, high performing West Coast team you will research and raise awareness of climate change consequences in California, including human and economic costs that can be avoided by sound policies. As Senior Climate Scientist, you will help lead our efforts to provide robust, timely, accessible and policy-relevant information on climate science. Working with UCS’s climate and energy team, you’ll provide research and expert technical and analytical advice to campaigns, and carry out related research, outreach, and media activities, primarily focused on climate work in California, Oregon, and Washington.


  • Identify and develop relevant analytic and research projects that will advance western climate and water campaign goals. Scope and assess new ideas, develop project plans, and implement work on promising ideas.
  • Plan, design, and carry out primary analysis of climate change on key sectors and populations in California and western states, taking into account technical feasibility, opportunities for effective collaboration with key regionally-based experts and influential stakeholders and policy relevance within the context of UCS’s climate campaigns.
  • Help develop, review and ensure high quality UCS materials on climate science and adaptation, including reports, science briefs, web pages, infographics, blog posts, press releases, expert testimony, draft legislation, webinars, and public presentations.
  • Serve as a climate science resource for media, outreach and policy goals, including support for fundraising efforts such as answering high priority member and donor questions, and assisting with proposal writing. 
  • Maintain close working relationships with relevant experts and influential stakeholders at other institutions. Exchange information, share resources, and strengthen UCSs leadership role on climate science and impacts in California and other western states.
  • Serve as project leader who guides the research design, external expert collaborator engagement, and works with key staff on the media and outreach aspects of major reports.
  • Serve as an advisor or resource on research, web or outreach projects led by other project leaders.
  • Serve as lead UCS spokesperson on climate science and impacts in California to the media and public, scientific conferences and policy-relevant research collaborations.
  • Supervise consultants or staff, as appropriate

Qualifications and experience

Position requires 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. Knowledge of California climate impacts and policy are highly desirable. Position also requires 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. PhD in a relevant field required.

Work requires a strong background in climate change science and impacts and five to seven years of comparable and relevant experience, including collaborative work in academic research teams or government research programs or the application of climate science to public policy and experience in communicating science to a wide variety of audiences, especially the media. Experience with the application of climate science to public policy a plus. Strong communication and teamwork skills are essential. Experience managing scientific and technical groups while utilizing project management techniques and supervising research staff is desired.

May spend extended periods at computer.  Up to 5% of time may be needed for travel to conferences and other UCS meetings.

At UCS, comparable training and/or experience can be substituted for degrees when appropriate.

UCS is an equal opportunity employer continually seeking to diversify its staff. In particular, we’re dedicated to broadening opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences and in environmental advocacy. We’re also committed to building an inclusive workplace culture where talented people of widely diverse backgrounds can thrive.  We've adopted this commitment because we believe the inclusion of culturally diverse perspectives will improve our work and produce better societal and environmental outcomes for all, including historically disenfranchised communities. We are actively seeking people who bring diverse backgrounds and perspectives to join us in this work.

Compensation, Hours and Location: This is a full-time position based in UCS’s Oakland, CA office. For those who meet all position requirements, the salary is in the high $80,000s. UCS offers excellent benefits and a rewarding work environment. Information about the organization is available at

To Apply: Please email cover letter, resume, short writing/report sample (written for a general, non-academic audience) salary requirements, how you learned about the position to with “Sr Climate Scientist” in the subject line. Word or PDF format only. No phone calls please. Deadline: October 29, 2017 or until filled.