Our organization

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is an independent nonprofit that puts rigorous, independent science into action, developing solutions and advocating for a healthy, safe, and just future. We envision a peaceful, healthy, and just world where science serves people and the planet by guiding policy decisions, reducing risks, and improving lives.

For over five decades, we have been working as scientists, engineers, economists, advocates, and everyday people to create and advocate for innovative, practical solutions to some of our planet’s most pressing problems—from combating global warming and developing sustainable ways to feed, power, and transport ourselves, to fighting disinformation, advancing racial equity, and reducing the threat of nuclear war. Values informing our work include:

  • Science in the service of people and the planet.
  • Justice and Equity for people of all races and incomes—now, and for future generations.
  • Courage to take principled, science-based stands in the public arena.
  • Integrity to always examine evidence critically, openly, and honestly.
  • Democracy to promote a voice for all in government decisions.
  • Action inspiring and mobilizing people to build a healthier, safer, and more just world.

UCS’s Center for Science & Democracy (CSD)

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is seeking a Research Associate to help us deploy science and scientists as active advocates of democracy and democratic practices at the state and federal levels. CSD works to ensure equity and meaningful public participation continue to be at the core of our efforts. Vital local voices and ecological knowledge shape our research and advocacy because experience shows that the resulting solutions are fairer, more effective, and enduring. Our aim is that the systems, structures, institutions, and practices that govern the American people, places, and environments are evidence-based and serve the broadest public good.

The Position

As a member of the research team, conduct research and analyses to advance advocacy campaigns for science and democracy and contribute to CSD research objectives and strategies. Conduct research, planning, and preparations for CSD projects across multiple issue areas, such as electoral administration and systems reform, science of elections, and others. Collaborate with members of the campaign team, including policy, legislation, and outreach. Serve as a spokesperson on relevant technical and policy issues to stakeholders, partners, donors, media, and decision makers. Champion efforts around justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) in program research, and broadly support UCS efforts in becoming an anti-racist organization.


Conduct research and analyses to advance advocacy campaigns.

  • Conducts research on improving electoral representation and voting rights protections by utilizing science to inform and strengthen democratic procedures and administration, including election data management, ballot design, access, and processing, and electoral system integrity, including districting and descriptive representation.
  • Compiles, writes, and edits technical analyses, reports, blog posts, journal articles and other materials, utilizing a variety of means, including but not limited to traditional text and journal research, web research, interviews, governmental reports, and the utilization of sunshine laws such as the Freedom of Information Act inquires.
  • Work with CSD staff on a variety of research-related tasks, including rapid response, report design and production, technical analysis, and public messaging and branding.
  • Ensures research activities are centered in procedural justice and equity.

Provide expertise on issue areas within UCS and with external audiences.

  • Communicate research results and recommend research directions in oral and written form to experts, public, media, and congressional representatives.
  • Respond to inquiries from researchers, advocates, and partners, UCS members and sponsors, and the public about CSD issues.
  • Attend relevant academic and issue-based conferences, briefings, webinars, and trainings.
  • Model racial equity and anti-racism values and practices within CSD and across UCS.

Support program and campaign development.

  • Support program and campaign strategy development, including identifying key stakeholders, research questions, and policy opportunities.
  • Coordinate with policy and campaign staff on advocacy that advances campaign goals.
  • Represent UCS in coalition meetings, build and maintain relationships with external partners, and identify opportunities for collaboration.

Other duties as assigned.

  • Up to 20% of any individual job may contain work that is not specifically listed in this document. This may reflect temporary assignments, individual professional development opportunities (e.g., learning a new set of skills, participating in a professional growth experience), and/or a requirement to serve in an organizational citizenship capacity (e.g., participating in internal Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI) activities, pitching in/volunteering for extra work, covering for a colleague on leave).


Qualifications and Experience

UCS is an equal opportunity employer actively seeking to diversify its staff. 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 believe the inclusion of culturally diverse perspectives will improve our work and produce better societal and environmental outcomes for all, including historically disenfranchised communities.

  • Master’s degree in a relevant field, such as political science, data science, public policy, public administration, or information systems.
  • 2-5 years of relevant experience, including policy research and advocacy.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the role of equity and public participation in democratic systems.
  • Strong qualitative, quantitative, and analytical skills, including experience in developing and executing research projects.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills, especially translating scientific information to a general audience.
  • Ability to analyze and write quickly to meet the needs of media and fast-moving policy issues.
  • Ability to effectively collaborate and build relationships across teams and organizations, and across cultural differences.



This is a full-time remote position. For those who meet all position requirements, the salary range is $71,581 to $80,530. UCS offers excellent benefits and a rewarding work environment. *CA Resident Only, we offer a 12% salary differential*

Information about the organization is available at http://www.ucsusa.org.

Comparable training and/or experience can be substituted for degrees when appropriate.

More about the team:

Our team is made up of a dedicated group of researchers, scientists, communicators, campaigners, and advocates from wide-ranging backgrounds and experiences. We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive team and a collaborative and supportive work environment where all staff can thrive. We continually strive to create an environment which is a welcoming place for the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, parents, empty-nesters, and people with a wide variety of interests and backgrounds.

To Apply: We know there are great candidates who won’t check all these boxes, and we also know you might bring important skills that we haven’t considered. If that’s you, don’t hesitate to apply and tell us about yourself. Please upload a cover letter and resume. In the cover letter, please confirm that the listed salary meets your expectations. Upload materials in Word or PDF format only. No phone calls, please.

This position is in the bargaining unit.

Covid Mandate for New Hires:

For in office roles, UCS employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Employees are considered fully vaccinated as defined by the CDC. All new hires who will be reporting to an office location must provide notice of their vaccination status and vaccination documentation, on or before their first day of work. For all others, UCS strongly encourages full vaccinations among its employees, up to and including booster shots, even if working remotely.

All new employees must comply with the mandatory vaccination requirements outlined in UCS policies as soon as practicable. The Union of Concerned Scientists will notify candidates for employment of the requirements of this policy before the start of employment.

Deadline: Until filled.