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Future Earth vacancy: Senior Science Officer, George Mason University (Fairfax, Virginia)

Apply by June 24, 2019 to join Future Earth at George Mason University.

Learn more and apply here.

Job Summary

This Senior Science Officer joins a global team of science officers, serves as the lead for Future Earth’s development and support of the Earth Commission within the Alliance for the Global Commons Initiative, and works to develop and lead grants and partnerships that further the capacity and reach of Future Earth’s Research and Innovation program. The Senior Science Officer works closely with the Mason Institute for a Sustainable Earth scientific director and the Colorado Hub director, as well as a set of interlocking globally distributed teams. Significant international travel, and willingness to lead and participate in regular early morning international calls are required for this position. Proof of eligibility to work in the United States must be produced within three (3) days of offer.

Job responsibilities

Earth Commission (60%)

Future Earth has a central role in a multi-organization global collaboration called The Alliance for the Global Commons. The core of this work is the establishment and support of a global science commission and associated topical working groups. This Earth Commission will be charged with the development of authoritative syntheses and evidence-based recommendations to underpin the setting of science-based targets for the private sector, cities and nations for the sustainable use of major Earth systems (freshwater, biodiversity, land use, oceans etc). The Senior Science Officer will lead our engagement in this process, working closely with the Future Earth Global Hub Director in Sweden, other colleagues from the Future Earth secretariat, and key supporting partners in the Science Based Targets Network.

Research and Innovation Program (40%)

Future Earth has a wide range of research and science to action networks, organized as Global Research Projects and Knowledge Action Networks. The Senior Science Officer works within the research and innovation team to support these projects and networks and lead and support a range of sustainability research, translation, synthesis, and innovation projects. This work involves leading fundraising efforts, developing and supporting collaborative projects, programs and teams within our major challenge areas, and working with funders and partners from around the world to grow support for this work. The Senior Science Officer will also work with the Scientific Director of the Mason Institute for a Sustainable Earth, the Colorado Global Hub Director, and the other collaborators, to provide scientific oversight for the annual “Our Future On Earth” report, which explores the research, technology, policy and social innovations that will have the biggest impact on our trajectory toward the SDGs.

Supervision received and exercised

This position is based at the Mason Institute for a Sustainable Earth, at George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia, and reports to the Director of the Colorado Hub of Future Earth, and the Mason Institute for a Sustainable Earth Executive Director. It is expected that the Senior Science Officer will spend at least one day per week working from the USGCRP offices in Washington DC.

Minimum Requirements

  • PhD from an accredited college or university in a field related to sustainability and 4 years experience in program / project development and management, or MS in a highly related field and 8 years program / project development and management experience;
  • Broad knowledge of sustainability science and its role in policy and practice.


  • Exceptional emotional intelligence, and strong science diplomacy and collective leadership skills;
  • Demonstrated excellence in written and oral communication, including experience in research and or policy synthesis;
  • Strong research background, and a strong track record of publications;
  • Demonstrated experience coordinating and or leading multi-organization teams in complex grant, synthesis, report, or program development processes;
  • Excellent project management skills with experience managing multiple projects / programs simultaneously;
  • International and intercultural sensitivity and capacity to work effectively with diverse, international teams;
  • Exceptional initiative, with a demonstrated capacity for creative human-centered problem solving;
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain effective and trusting working relationships with directors, high-level advisors, administrators, and staff.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience working with and or leading science and innovation communities outside of academic institutions, and experience in program and partnership development crossing societal sectors (private, public, academic, NGO etc);
  • Public sector and private foundation grant writing success, and experience working directly with funders and high level partners.

Salary scale: $35,000 – $45,000 (based on experience)

Special Instructions to Applicants     

For full consideration, applicants must apply at; complete and submit the online application; and upload a cover letter, resume, and a list of three professional references with contact information.

Learn more and apply here by June 24, 2019.