Ocean Career: Science Officer at California Ocean Science Trust

California Ocean Science Trust is a small nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating progress towards a healthy and productive ocean future for California. Created by state legislation (CORSA 2000), we bridge the gap between cutting-edge scientific research and sound ocean management.

Our strength lies in our nimble response to state priorities and horizon-scanning to foster science solutions to the challenges facing coastal communities and ocean ecosystems in California. On evolving topics as diverse as climate adaptation, plastic pollution, renewable energy, and aquaculture, we leverage public and private funding to forge novel interdisciplinary science partnerships, encourage science co-production with communities, and build research capacity focused on California’s priorities. We bring solution-focused science guidance to executive branch agencies and to California lawmakers and their staff. We support and provide graduate education opportunities at the nexus of science and policy, towards a vision of a more diverse, equitable and inclusive future workforce.

Science Officer

Science Officers pursue, design, and implement projects and initiatives across a diverse and evolving range of coastal and ocean topics. Our work tackles the most pressing ocean and coastal issues in California by bringing people and information together to develop pragmatic, forward-looking scientific guidance. Effective convening, partnership building, and facilitation skills are essential.

Our current and anticipated near-term portfolio of projects include exploring new approaches to sustainable fisheries management in a changing climate, efforts to advance coastal resilience in response to sea-level rise and coastal flooding, and supporting equity and inclusion in California’s ocean science community.

Science Officers maintain a broad awareness of advancements in ocean and coastal science, track changing political and policy priorities, and possess a keen eye for opportunities for science to advance an issue. Strong partnership building skills, diplomacy and an open communicative style are critical to success in this role. We collaborate with a diverse array of state, federal, tribal, non-profit, academic and private partners. We are seeking a creative thinker who listens and responds to partner needs, and is experienced in designing and implementing inclusive and collaborative processes with trusted science outcomes.

We are a strongly collaborative team. Our ideal candidate is comfortable in both leading and supporting roles on individual projects and is willing to adapt roles in response to team needs. Science Officers typically report to senior staff and grow mentorship and supervision skills in guiding the work of fellows and interns. We are committed to a strong culture of attention to professional and career development.


  • Lead and manage a portfolio of complex, interdisciplinary projects from idea to implementation, including proposal and budget development, project planning, managing teams and ensuring high quality deliverables that advance the needs of the organization and the State.
  • Design and implement collaborative processes that engage a wide range of subject matter experts, government, and stakeholders, including convening working groups, advisory committees, expert panels, workshops, and meetings.
  • Produce, synthesize, and review scientific information, and provide technical expertise in developing a range of products to provide a rigorous foundation for policy and management dialogues through engaging peer colleagues in non-governmental organizations, consultants, academic communities and other subject matter experts.
  • Develop reports, white papers, briefings, presentations, and other communication materials to synthesize and communicate scientific information across a diverse range of audiences.
  • Maintain and grow relationships with external partners (e.g., government, academia, stakeholders, funders) and represent the organization at meetings, conferences and other venues.
  • Contribute to the continued growth and development of new organizational initiatives seeking to advance equity and inclusion in the ocean sciences, with a focus on graduate education and supporting the future science-policy workforce.
  • Support organizational needs, including strategic planning, participation in internal diversity, equity and inclusion work, grant writing and management, communications, and pursuing opportunities for collaboration across the OST team and with external partners.
  • Lead project teams, serve as a mentor to team members, and may supervise interns, fellows and contractors as needs and budget allow.


Skills and attributes:

  • Creative, independent and proactive learner, able to quickly get up to speed on new topics and bring a fresh perspective and approach to projects.
  • Strong scientific aptitude, with the ability to understand, apply, and communicate information effectively across a wide range of disciplines and audiences.
  • Ability to synthesize and translate complex science and policy concepts, distill and organize critical information from diverse sources, and identify knowledge gaps and opportunities for science to inform decision making.
  • Values co-production and diverse knowledge systems in the creation of science-informed policy, with topical familiarity and interest in the social sciences a plus.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of and sensitivity to identity, race, and biases, and the dynamics they create in addressing the needs and priorities of diverse communities and people.
  • Experience in project management and the ability to adapt as projects evolve, prioritize among multiple tasks and adjust to short or changing timelines.
  • Ability to set clear objectives, timelines and priorities, and lead collaborative processes and technical working groups toward cohesive and objective-driven outputs.
  • Exceptional communication skills and the ability to write clearly, cohesively and succinctly.
  • Flexible team player, able to take on diverse tasks and play both supporting and leading roles as needed to achieve organizational goals.
  • Strong interpersonal skills to professionally and effectively represent the organization to all partners, funders, vendors, contractors and other constituents.
  • Refined political acumen and understanding of policy processes.

Knowledge and experience:

  • Master’s degree or Ph.D. in natural or social sciences, environmental resource management and policy, political science or other relevant field required, and 4+ years relevant experience.
  • Understanding of current issues in, and approaches to, environmental and natural resource policy and management. Familiarity with California’s socio-ecological communities and policy and management structures is a plus.
  • Experience working within or alongside social science disciplines, and an understanding of the role of social science plays in managing coupled human-natural systems, is appreciated.
  • Demonstrated experience working within multi-organizational partnerships that rely on collaboration rather than formal reporting structures.
  • Experience with online and other tools and processes for effective remote team collaboration.

Candidates must be available to start on or before December 1, 2022.

Salary: $60,000-$75,000.


Ocean Science Trust is headquartered in Sacramento, California but staff work remotely and are based throughout the state. Our small team values the flexibility of remote work and is dedicated to effective remote team collaboration. Some travel within California will be required, albeit we expect that to be relatively limited through 2022.

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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