Senior Social Scientist at Conservation International

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Senior Social Scientist
Location:United States- Arlington, VA Headquarters
Job Code: 517
# of openings: 1


Conservation International (CI) helps societies sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the benefit of humanity. The Senior Social Scientist leads development and implementation of a focused research program and provides broader guidance from a social science perspective in support of this mission. This position requires a broad knowledge of social science as it relates to the natural environment, experience of social science theories and methods in applied settings, and strong expertise in quantitative analysis, innovation, and communication to advance conservation solutions based on a foundation of sound social science. This is a high-profile position within an organization that values innovation and a strong grounding of strategy and implementation in science; the Senior Social Scientist thus regularly represents CI externally, contributes to shaping and implementation of CI strategy through interaction with CI Leadership and all CI programs, and provides authoritative advocacy for social science within the institution. The Senior Social Scientist collaborates closely with other staff in CI, including the Moore Center for Science and Oceans (with expertise in biodiversity, ecosystem services, environmental economics, climate change, spatial planning, policy design, monitoring systems and other fields) and the Center for Environment and Peace, (focusing on International Policy, Social Policy, Indigenous Peoples and Stakeholder Engagement and Environmental Peace) as well as business and field programs.

The success of the Social Science Advisor requires breadth of knowledge and experience in a range of social science concepts and methods and the ability and desire to work in a highly collaborative organization focused on innovation and impact. The position leads the Social Science Initiative at CI — a 2.5 year project to assess the current state of social science integration; define and prioritizes needs and gaps in application and capacities; and develop a long term strategy to further integrate social science applications into CI programs — and advance a portfolio of related work in support of CI Science priorities and Institutional Priorities. The Senior Social Scientist will establish and work with a cross-divisional Social Science Working Group (SSWG) to capitalize on CI’s existing experience and ensure broad inputs and buy-in from CI’s programs. S/he will also define and lead a program of institutional and programmatic capacity building to strengthen our knowledge and abilities to effectively operationalize the Social Science Strategy, and lead a fundraising effort to ensure long term support to the social science dimensions of conservation.


  • Lead Development and implementation of a Social Science Strategy in support of conservation and human well-being based on research and assessments
  • Resource, devise and lead implementation of a portfolio of projects in line with the Social Science Agenda including research and the application of social science as part of our priority MCSO projects
  • Provide Authoritative leadership on issues related to social science in guiding CI strategy, implementation and external communications
  • Mobilize Resources

Working Conditions

  • The position is based in Arlington VA.
  • Travel time up to 20%.



  • Advanced degree (Master’s or Ph.D.) in social science such as sociology, anthropology, psychology or international development
  • Strong quantitative, analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Minimum 8 years’ experience applying social science in an environmental context internationally
  • Proficiency with both qualitative and quantitative approaches to social science
  • Ability to synthesize large amounts of information, analyze complex strategic and scientific issues, and make recommendations for decision-makers within and outside CI
  • Experience developing and delivering trainings, preferably in multicultural contexts
  • Demonstrated track record of working effectively with multicultural, multidisciplinary teams to produce concrete results both in research and on the ground conservation
  • Excellent oral and written skills in English


  • Able to work in a team and effectively across the full diversity of CI’s global organization.
  • Able to travel internationally
  • Experience in developing countries
  • Ability to communicate in Spanish, French, and/or Portuguese

For more information, click here.