University of Washington   Seattle, WA   Full-time     Social Service
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Posted on July 10, 2020
Req #: 179802
Posting Date: 06/10/2020 
Closing Info: Open Until Filled 
Salary: Salary is commensurate with education and experience. 
Shift: First Shift 

As a UW employee, you have a unique opportunity to change lives on our campuses, in our state and around the world. UW employees offer their boundless energy, creative problem solving skills and dedication to build stronger minds and a healthier world.

UW faculty and staff also enjoy outstanding benefits, professional growth opportunities and unique resources in an environment noted for diversity, intellectual excitement, artistic pursuits and natural beauty. All of which has allowed the UW to be nationally recognized as a “Great College to Work For” for six consecutive years. 

The Climate Impacts Group (CIG) seeks a CIG Social/Policy Scientist and Project Manager to expand the CIG's social science, policy, governance, and project management capabilities. Candidates who are passionate about our organizational mission and our co-production model are a must. We are seeking a candidate with a social science or policy background and project management experience who can add breadth to the work we do and support CIG’s senior researchers on climate change adaptation projects with our federal, tribal, state, and local partners.

While educational attainment is valued, we also encourage applications from practitioners who have worked in government, non-profits, and consulting who can bring a practical social science orientation to the CIG team.

We envision this position will contribute to: 1) applying social science and policy research to new climate impacts/adaptation projects independently and/or with guidance, 2) working with the CIG’s senior research staff to identify and execute on opportunities to move projects from analysis to implementation, and 3) providing logistical, project management, and research support to current CIG projects.

The CIG is a fast-paced, dynamic, and deadline driven environment, which requires the Research Scientist to bring strong organizational and project management skills as well as problem-solving and priority-setting abilities. The Research Scientist will demonstrate initiative and demonstrate critical thinking and good judgment.

The CIG is dedicated to building the climate resilience of communities and natural systems by advancing awareness of climate risks and enabling science-based action to manage those risks. We are an interdisciplinary team with an operating model that fully integrates research with outreach and stakeholder engagement. Our work considers climate impacts at spatial scales ranging from local communities to the entire western U.S. region, with most of the work focused on the Pacific Northwest (  The Climate Impacts Group is a member group of EarthLab.

EarthLab is a new initiative at the University of Washington seeking to link and apply the amazing environmental research happening at the UW with decision makers working on solutions to environmental challenges. Stewarded by the College of the Environment, EarthLab supports application-focused interdisciplinary collaboration across and beyond the University of Washington. EarthLab focuses on addressing our world’s most pressing environmental challenges – catalyzing collaborations with partners across the private, public, and non-profit sectors. By linking knowledge and action to accomplish meaningful change, EarthLab will help develop lasting solutions that are scientifically sound, technically feasible, and economically viable, while promoting equity and justice.

The College of the Environment promotes diversity and inclusivity among our students, faculty, staff, and public. Thus, we are strongly seeking candidates whose experiences have prepared them to fulfill our commitment to inclusion and have given them the confidence to fully engage audiences from a wide spectrum of backgrounds. The University of Washington (UW) is located in the greater Seattle metropolitan area, with a dynamic, multicultural community of 3.7 million people and a range of ecosystems from mountains to ocean. The UW serves a diverse population of 80,000 students, faculty and staff, including 25% first-generation college students, over 25% Pell Grant students, and faculty from over 70 countries.


The research scientist will independently work on social science or policy projects or aspects of existing projects, seeking out assistance from colleagues and peers when necessary. This person will be responsible for critically thinking about the creative application of a social science and/or a policy lens to existing or new work at the CIG, including projects led by the CIG’s senior research scientists.

This position will also be responsible for acting as project manager, or providing other logistical support, for a variety of CIG projects. This would likely include organizing and staffing meetings, note taking, workshop and conference agenda development, developing and implementing project plans, tracking and reporting timelines, report writing, etc.

Finally, this position will be asked to provide research support to CIG projects. This could include literature reviews, contextual analysis, policy analysis, stakeholder interviews and surveys, and more. This position may also be asked to learn new technical skills such as unfamiliar social science software (e.g., SAS, Nvivo) or methodologies (e.g., semi-structured interview methodologies, Q methodology, policy sciences heuristic).

This position may be asked for assistance in proposal development, but this position will not be responsible for developing their own line of climate change, impacts, and adaptation work. This position will assist in the preparation of reports, papers, and presentations.

Independent Research and Research Support
•Applying social science and/or policy research methodologies to support CIG research objectives both independently and in support of other staff and projects;
•Work with CIG senior research staff to identify opportunities to assist existing clients to move from climate change planning to implementation;
•Support the director and deputy director in CIG-relevant policy processes and initiatives; 
•Drawing from and manipulating existing contextual data to support CIG strategic planning and assessment of regional needs;
•Assist in project-specific research needs, such as literature reviews, contextual analyses, needs assessments, or developing monitoring and evaluation strategies.

Project Management
•Work with CIG senior research staff to provide logistical support for projects;
•Conduct research support as needed on existing projects.

Grant Writing and Proposal Development
•Collaborate with CIG’s senior research scientists to integrate social science into project opportunities or proposals;
•Write grant or proposal sections as needed.

As a UW employee, you will enjoy generous benefits and work/life programs.  For detailed information on Benefits for this position, click here.


•Bachelor’s degree in public policy, psychology, sociology, economics, or a related field with a minimum of 2 years of experience
•Knowledge of or experience in applied climate change impacts and adaptation;
•Experience with stakeholder engagement at federal, tribal, state, and/or municipal levels;
•Experience with the communication of complex scientific concepts to a variety of audiences;
•Familiarity with policy processes and the practical scope of federal, tribal, state and municipal government authority;
•Social science methodological experience associated with applied social science research (e.g., interview methodologies, literature reviews, policy evaluation);
•Experience evaluating complex social and policy processes and comfort working in complex institutional contexts;
•Strong problem-solving skills and an ability to quickly adapt to new topics and challenges (e.g., research topics, institutional contexts, new methodologies or software tools);
•Strategic and critical thinker; an energetic self-starter;
•Attention to detail and insistence on technical accuracy;
•Strong team member/team approach.

Equivalent education/experience will substitute for all minimum qualifications except where there are legal requirements such as license/certification/registration.

•Masters degree in public policy, psychology, sociology, economics, or a related field;
•Experience working in state or municipal government;
•Experience with co-production and use-inspired research;
•Superior writing and oral communication skills; demonstrated ability to communicate complex scientific information in clear and concise language appropriate for diverse audiences (e.g., scientists, business people, policy makers, university students, mass media, etc.).

Culture of the Climate Impacts Group

We are looking for an individual who will complement the strengths of our team and be able to build on our strong existing relationships with a wide range of stakeholders and partners. Qualities and attributes that are part of our culture and highly valued include:
•Taking leadership and initiative;
•Being willing to pitch in as needed to ensure success of team;
•Being timely and professional in all interactions;
•Treating others with dignity and respect;
•Holding sensitive information in confidence;
•Seeking continuous improvement.

Application Process:
The application process for UW positions may include completion of a variety of online assessments to obtain additional information that will be used in the evaluation process.  These assessments may include Workforce Authorization, Cover Letter and/or others.  Any assessments that you need to complete will appear on your screen as soon as you select “Apply to this position”. Once you begin an assessment, it must be completed at that time; if you do not complete the assessment you will be prompted to do so the next time you access your “My Jobs” page. If you select to take it later, it will appear on your "My Jobs" page to take when you are ready. Please note that your application will not be reviewed, and you will not be considered for this position until all required assessments have been completed.

Committed to attracting and retaining a diverse staff, the University of Washington will honor your experiences, perspectives and unique identity. Together, our community strives to create and maintain working and learning environments that are inclusive, equitable and welcoming.

The University of Washington is a leader in environmental stewardship & sustainability, and committed to becoming climate neutral.

The University of Washington is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact the Disability Services Office at 206-543-6450 / 206-543-6452 (tty) or