Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE) Director of Conservation Science
The Director of Conservation Science (DoCS) will oversee the organization’s implementation of VCE’s identified strategic goals and program objectives in our new five-year strategic plan. When the time comes for developing the next strategic plan, s/he will provide key leadership in the development of science program goals and objectives. S/he will provide high-level program oversight and guidance, help set priorities, strategize and secure funding, and coordinate program evaluation. S/he will build and enhance external collaborations and broad science initiatives, including, for example, developing relationships with NSF program officers and other public and private funding agencies, representing VCE’s conservation science at major meetings, and spearheading new collaborations (for example, with universities, agencies, and international consortiums). S/he monitors decision making on key conservation science issues at the state and federal level, leads the science program staff in commenting on legislation and other issues in the public sphere, and ensures that VCE’s scientists weigh in on key questions as expertise and need dictate.
The DoCS will help to transition VCE’s science programs away from discrete research silos and more towards collaborative projects, offering biologists opportunities to expand their expertise and pursue novel projects. The DoCS leads the team in developing and funding collaborative science, both internally and with external colleagues.
S/he supervises VCE’s conservation biology staff, collaborates with them on project design, publication, and major grant-seeking initiatives, and is responsible for annual evaluations of all direct reports. The Director of Conservation Science exercises a supportive and solutions-based approach to leadership and a genuine interest in helping already excellent science staff members to be their best, and VCE as a whole to achieve its mission. The DoCS holds the science staff accountable for common goals and standards, for example, its commitment to open data. When vacancies occur in the core science team, the DoCS leads the process for defining, recruiting, and hiring a conservation scientist whose work complements the areas of expertise already on staff, engages the public, and advances VCE’s mission.
The DoCS works within an organizational management team that includes the Executive Director, the Associate Director, and the Director of Communications. The DoCS interfaces with the Board of Directors and Advisory Council, staffing the board’s Science and Conservation Committee and reporting to the full board and advisory council as needed.
Reports to: Associate Director
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
Internal Leadership: Collaborate with project Principal Investigators and conservation biologists to ensure that VCE science programs achieve the goals set forth in our strategic plan, evolve intentionally and consistently with strategic plan goals, advance VCE’s mission in particular and conservation science in general, and remain relevant to funding agencies. Provide integrative leadership, advice and supportive guidance to conservation biologists in project development, new initiatives, program evaluation, and science program metrics.
Funding: Strategize and oversee VCE’s pursuit of restricted project revenue (grants and contracts for science work), in collaboration with development staff who assist with foundation sources. Spearhead major grant-seeking initiatives, in collaboration with other VCE biologists and administrative leaders. Cultivate relationships with key funders, including foundation and public funding program officers. Ensure that VCE science is visible and represented to relevant funders, including those new to VCE. Establish two-way communication with such officers, so that VCE’s priorities both appropriately respond to, and help to shape, funders’ priorities.
External Relationships: Represent VCE conservation science within the state, region, and internationally. Ensure that VCE is well-represented at appropriate meetings and convenings and its voice is appropriately heard in legislative proceedings. Spearhead external science collaborations and new initiatives to bolster partnerships.
In collaboration with conservation biologists,
Integrate & coordinate all science programs;
Develop, help secure funding for, execute, and evaluate new projects in conjunction with conservation biologists and administrative leaders;
Assist conservation biologists and VCE management in developing and achieving goals and measuring outcomes as outlined within strategic plan and future updates thereof. Perform annual evaluations of direct reports;
Work with science and communications staff to disseminate results to a broader audience and with stakeholders to ensure uptake and resulting conservation action;
Oversee development of institutional policy on animal care and use. Manage VCE scientific permits;
Serve as staff liaison to Board of Directors’ Science and Conservation Committee;
All other duties as directed or assigned by Associate Director;
Report activities regularly to the Associate Director.
Ph.D. in a relevant scientific field
Professional background that includes an integrative, interdisciplinary approach to conservation science
At least 5 years of experience and leadership in conservation science
Demonstrated experience successfully leading and managing diverse groups of people
Mastery of conservation biology and applied science as well as a solid working understanding of sampling design and current statistical methods in VCE’s fields of interest, in order to serve as the principal science advisor for the organization
Experience with project management, science funding, and information technology
Demonstrated ability to secure grants
Ability to effectively communicate orally and in writing in order to complete and present complex reports, published papers, and policies in clear, compelling, and concise language
Review VCE's strategic plan, annual report, and biannual science newsletter, Field Notes, on our website (vtecostudies.org).
Send a cover letter, resume, and three professional references to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please write “Dir of Cons Sci Application” in the subject line.