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18 Feb 2021

Full-Time Human Dimensions Conservation Science Senior Officer

The Pew Charitable Trusts – Posted by Human Resources Washington, District of Columbia, United States

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Job Description


The Pew Charitable Trusts uses data to make a difference. For more than 70 years, we have focused on serving the public, invigorating civic life, conducting nonpartisan research, advancing effective public policies and practices, and achieving tangible results. Through rigorous inquiry and knowledge sharing, we inform and engage public-spirited citizens and organizations, linking diverse interests to pursue common cause. We are a dedicated team of researchers, communicators, advocates, subject matter experts, and professionals working on some of today’s big challenges – and we know we are more effective and creative collectively than we are individually. With Philadelphia as our hometown and the majority of our staff located in Washington, DC, our U.S. and international staff find working at Pew personally and professionally rewarding.

Wise stewardship of resources allows Pew employees to pursue work that strategically furthers our mission in significant and measurable ways. We collaborate with a diverse range of philanthropic partners, public and private organizations, and concerned citizens who share our interest in fact-based solutions and goal-driven initiatives to improve society. Pew attracts top talent, people of integrity who are service-oriented and willing to take on challenging assignments. We provide competitive pay and benefits, a healthy work-life balance, and a respectful and inclusive workplace. Pew employees are proud of their colleagues, proud of where they work, and proud of the institution’s reputation.

The Research and Science Portfolio in Program

The research and science portfolio includes programmatic, functional, and outreach elements. It spans all of Pew’s programmatic work with a focus on advancing quality research and science and deploying research expertise to further the goals of ongoing projects. The portfolio reviews the design of new research projects across the institution to ensure they are high-quality, unbiased, and methodologically sound. The programmatic elements of the portfolio include specific projects related to biomedical science, environmental science, and fiscal federalism. In addition, research and science has a role in communicating timely, accurate information on state issues to the general public as the Pew daily news publication, Stateline, is part of our organization.

Conservation Science

The conservation science (CS) program, part of the Environmental Research and Science unit, works to generate and synthesize scientific research that informs conservation policy and frames solutions to global environment challenges. The CS team enhances the scientific foundation of Pew’s environmental work by providing centralized technical expertise, developing research projects, and identifying new scientific results relevant to Pew’s existing and emerging conservation interests. Integrating the results of peer-reviewed research into public policy and campaign strategy development are significant components of the program’s work.

Position Overview

The senior officer works with senior staff on the environment and strategy teams on issues relating to the human dimensions of environmental conservation. The position provides critical thought leadership and strategic support to help design new and existing conservation objectives.

The senior officer also plays a lead role in developing a broad array of research projects in collaboration with Pew’s environment and strategy staff. To achieve key tasks, the senior officer must develop close working relationships and become a trusted advisor to strategy and environment colleagues and senior leadership. The senior officer will also assist the project director, conservation science, in setting strategic direction of the program.

The position, based in Pew’s Washington, D.C., office, reports to the project director, conservation science. The position has a set time frame that could be extended based on the success of the program, funding sources, and board decisions on continued support.


  • Serve as a technical expert and thought leader in issues related to human dimensions of conservation, with a focus on informing the development of current or future policy and conservation objectives and constructing more effective conservation solutions.
  • Maintain extensive knowledge of pertinent research in the applied conservation social sciences and in-depth understanding of conservation policy to provide strategic advice, place results in appropriate policy context, and develop tangible and actionable plans.
  • Collaborate with leadership to inform strategic thinking for Pew’s environmental science efforts and to shape Pew’s conservation strategy, objectives and outcomes.
  • Maintain familiarity with campaign objectives and research relevant to campaign work. Coordinate cross-cutting research initiatives among environmental programs.
  • Assist in leadership of the CS team, including setting strategic direction of the program, mentoring CS staff with expertise in the natural sciences and economics, providing career advice and counsel, and working to create a positive and supportive work environment.
  • Coordinate scientific learning in the human dimensions of conservation across Pew campaigns, strategy staff, and conservation science staff through internal training sessions and other mechanisms to help inform and leverage Pew’s research and other conservation investments.
  • Partner with Pew environmental campaign and strategy staff to identify needs and priorities for human dimensions research within environmental initiatives. Lead structured research planning exercises to ensure proposed research is useful for target end users or audiences, tailored to address appropriate research questions, communicated accurately, and is rigorous and objective.
  • Lead the development of effective research proposals and work plans in coordination with external scientists to address relevant policy and/or strategic needs within suitable timeframes and budgets. Develop internal research plans, grants, and contracts to ensure proposed research projects are accurately translated into project agreements. Identify emerging scientific outreach opportunities as applicable.
  • Serve as a primary liaison between external researchers and Pew, including by recruiting outside experts to conduct research projects, serve as reviewers, and provide other technical assistance as necessary.
  • As necessary, serve as lead investigator for in-depth research projects leveraging qualitative, quantitative, and evaluative data and approaches. Supervise the contributions of other Pew staff in these efforts.


  • Bachelor’s degree is required, an advanced degree in classical (e.g., environmental anthropology, human geography), applied (e.g., environmental policy, conservation and human development), or interdisciplinary (e.g., human ecology, political ecology) conservation social science fields is strongly preferred. Extensive knowledge of the integration of human dimensions into the design and assessment of conservation programs is a plus.
  • At least 10 years of relevant professional experience using human dimensions research to inform the practice of conservation. Specific knowledge of and experience with the development of conservation programs and plans is preferred.
  • Experience working in a technical role within a research or policy institution is highly desirable, as is experience developing, managing, and contributing to a portfolio of research projects designed to enhance conservation outcomes.
  • Ability to develop program strategies and set planning goals in line with the strategy.
  • Exceptional interpersonal and diplomatic skills, including the ability to develop and manage productive relationships with Pew staff, consultants, partners, grantees, and others. Able to work productively as both a team leader and player in a highly collaborative environment as well as work with a wide array of different people and groups which may frequently disagree with each other.
  • Ability to synthesize large quantities of information, to focus quickly on the essence of an issue, and the means to address it. Confident in presenting one’s own ideas and diplomatically persuading others as appropriate.
  • Demonstrated strategic and analytical skills. Political awareness, with a non-partisan perspective and approach. Experience with state, national and/or intergovernmental institutions preferred.
  • Demonstrated problem-solving skills. Strong ability to think strategically and creatively, adjust to changing circumstances, organize time, and remain attentive to detail.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills, including ease in communicating complex concepts in a clear, effective manner.
  • Recognized ability to meet multiple deadlines by maintaining a high level of organization and attention to detail. Ability to make decisions and operate effectively in uncertain or changing situations.


The position requires occasional domestic and international travel.

Total Rewards

We offer a competitive salary and benefit program, including: comprehensive, affordable health care through medical, dental, and vision coverage; financial security with life and disability insurance; opportunities to save using health savings and flexible spending accounts; retirement benefits to help prepare for the future; and work/life benefits to maintain a good balance.

The Pew Charitable Trusts is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. Pew considers qualified applicants for employment without regard to age, sex, ethnicity, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity, military/veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law.

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Job Categories: Environmental. Job Types: Full-Time.

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