Search By Topic


Job opening: Future Earth / Institute for a Sustainable Earth Research and Innovation Officer


The George Mason University Institute for a Sustainable Earth (ISE) invites applications for a Future Earth / ISE Research and Innovation Officer. George Mason University has a strong institutional commitment to the achievement of excellence and diversity among its faculty and staff, and strongly encourages candidates to apply who will enrich Mason’s academic and culturally inclusive environment.

Job Summary:

The Future Earth / ISE Research and Innovation Officer is responsible for: coordinating and motivating a global team of Future Earth science officers; leading efforts to create transdisciplinary communities of research and practice within George Mason University’s Institute for a Sustainable Earth (ISE); advising Future Earth leadership and ISE leadership on research and innovation strategy; identifying and developing synergistic activities and initiatives between Future Earth and ISE; and leading grants and partnerships that further the capacity and impact of the Future Earth Research and Innovation portfolio and the work of ISE. This position requires international travel, and a willingness to lead and participate in regular early morning international teleconferences. Proof of eligibility to work in the United States must be produced within three (3) days of offer.

Job Responsibilities with average percentage weights:

Future Earth Research and Innovation Program Coordination (40%)

Future Earth is a global network of scientists, researchers, and innovators collaborating for a more sustainable planet. These collaborations occur across a wide community of research and innovation networks that are supported by a Secretariat team of science officers. Future Earth’s science officers launch and lead sustainability research and innovation projects across these networks. The Research and Innovation Officer leads this team in developing structures and processes to support the Global Research Projects and Knowledge Action Networks, and integrate them into the co-design of community initiatives. The Research and Innovation Officer also scopes and responds to funding opportunities worldwide, to support the Future Earth research networks. The Research and Innovation Officer will also provide scientific oversight for key science-policy documents produced by Future Earth.

Mason Institute for a Sustainable Earth (40%)

George Mason University is committed to producing high-quality research of consequence that is translated into solutions that help solve some of the world’s most complex challenges. ISE was launched in 2019 to create transdisciplinary connections across the Mason community and with communities, policy makers, businesses, and organizations to put sustainability research into action. The Research and Innovation Officer will work closely with ISE’s Executive Director to build communities of research and practice around six themes aligned with the UN Sustainability Development Goals — including development of a program to identify and support Faculty Fellows who will serve as community-building catalysts for each theme.

ISE / Future Earth Integration (20%)

The Research and Innovation Officer will also work to integrate the work of ISE with the work of Future Earth by identifying opportunities and developing initiatives that connect ISE faculty, students, and programs with Future Earth events, initiatives, products and structures.

Supervision received and exercised:

This position is based in ISE at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and reports to the Director of the US Hub of Future Earth and the Executive Director of ISE.

Appointment Term:

This position is partially grant funded with an initial term of 16 months. Renewal will be contingent on availability of funding.

Required Qualifications:

  • PhD from an accredited college or university in a field related to sustainability or environmental science and 4 years experience in international program / project development and management, or MS in a highly related field and 7 years experience;
  • Broad knowledge of sustainability science and its role in policy and practice;
  • Exceptional emotional intelligence, and strong skills in science diplomacy and collective leadership;
  • Exceptional initiative, with a demonstrated capacity for creative, human-centered problem solving;
  • Demonstrated experience coordinating and or leading interdisciplinary and multi-organization teams in complex grant, synthesis, report, or program development processes;
  • Excellent project management skills with experience managing multiple, simultaneous work streams;
  • International and intercultural sensitivity and capacity to work effectively with diverse, international and cross-sectoral (private, public, academic, NGO etc.) teams;
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain effective and trusting working relationships with directors, high-level advisors, administrators, and staff;
  • Demonstrated excellence in written and oral communication, including experience in research and/or policy synthesis.

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.