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 Director 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 ultimate 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 program’s leadership team, plan, direct and coordinate science and democracy research activities in service of campaign and organizational goals. Maintain comprehensive scientific and policy expertise and collaborate with program staff to develop an advocacy-oriented research agenda. Lead and manage an interdisciplinary team of researchers and analysts to advance advocacy efforts for science and democracy. Contribute to decision making around campaign planning, budgeting, priority setting, execution, hiring, and other areas. Champion and integrate efforts around justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) in program research, and broadly support UCS efforts in becoming an anti-racist organization. Supervise science staff and interns, as well as recruit and manage or delegate management of consultants. Develop and maintain relationships with experts and allies. Represent CSD to as a senior spokesperson to policy makers, media, donors, and other stakeholders. Serve on cross programmatic working groups in support of organizational goals.


Direct, manage, and assess comprehensive research initiatives that advance campaigns.

  • Direct CSD’s research across multiple issue areas, including democracy, electoral administration and systems reform, science of elections, scientific integrity, science-informed procedural equity, environmental justice, disinformation, and others.
  • Maintains competency in issue areas. Maintains and updates working knowledge of democracy reform issues. Understands and stays current on the equity dimensions of voting systems and structures.
  • Provide leadership in identifying and developing relevant analytic and research projects that will advance campaign goals for the Center for Science and Democracy. Ensure research activities are rigorous and centered in justice and equity.
  • As an issue expert, develop and lead research specific to the ‘science of elections’ and ‘protecting the electoral process’.
  • Play a lead role in CSD’s annual planning process to shape overall program and campaign goals, strategies, and tactics, with particular emphasis on the campaign’s research directions. Support efforts to fully integrate justice and equity into goals and outcomes.

Supervise CSD’s interdisciplinary research team.

  • Supervise CSD’s interdisciplinary research team including UCS fellows, scientists, research analysts, and interns.
  • Manage the team to establish a positive and professional workplace culture, including facilitating conflict management and resolution when appropriate.
  • Support and mentor research team members by providing advice on navigating programmatic work, organizational strategy, and professional development.
  • Lead hiring committees to fill critical research gaps for CSD as necessary.

Lead production of publicly resonant scientific analyses, communication and partnerships that grow research outcomes.

  • Oversee the development and production of the interdisciplinary research team’s products, including blogs, op-eds, peer-reviewed publications, fact sheets, and other products.
  • As a member of the research team, create and communicate research products (publications, blogs, fact sheets, etc.) as an expert in the field of science and democracy.
  • Serve as a senior UCS spokesperson on science and democracy issues to policymakers, the media, donors, key stakeholders, and other audiences.
  • Support CSD work with UCS communications staff to identify key media opportunities and coordinate responses from other senior program staff to ensure timeliness and accuracy; ensure activities and statements enhance the organization’s reputation and credentials among press, public, and private sectors.
  • Establish and maintain alliances with researchers and advocates at other organizations to exchange information, share resources and engage in collaborative studies.

Actively participate in managing programmatic infrastructure and functioning for effectiveness, cohesion, and inclusion.

  • Play a key role on fostering, sustaining, and evaluating a culture of collaboration, clarity, cohesion, and community for the program; and support enhancements of program venues to put that into practice.
  • Provide leadership in program’s ongoing work to craft decision-making structures, processes, systems, and ways that affirm the organization’s commitment to internal equity and inclusion and ensures the success of the program’s campaigns.
  • Lead and model racial equity and anti-racism values and practices within CSD.
  • Prepare annual project budgets and work plans.
  • Contribute to foundation proposals, reports, and the CSD planning process.


  • Ph.D. in a scientific field (social or natural sciences) related to democracy, political science, the science of elections, or similar field.
  • At least 5 years of experience serving as an effective director and/or manager of a team, and at least 10 years of experience overseeing analyses related to science-informed public policy and democracy.
  • Demonstrated ability to produce analyses on science policy issues and write about complex policy and scientific matters for multiple audiences, including professional (i.e., peer-reviewed journals), technical (i.e., reports, white papers), and lay (i.e., blogs, op-eds) audiences.
  • Strong quantitative and analytical skills; ability to effectively manage multiple projects; superb communication skills including both written and public speaking; good working knowledge of scientific and policy processes, and in particular how science informs public policy and democratic processes; excellent people management and leadership skills; proficiency in computer applications, including spreadsheet, word processing, specialized research software and basic programming.
  • Experience in advancing equity and justice outcomes for research and campaigns.

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.



This is a full-time remote position. For those who meet all position requirements, the salary range is $114,671 to $129,000. 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 of 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 NOT 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.