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Director - UW Climate Impacts Group

University of Washington Climate Impacts Group
Seattle, Washington, US
Closing date
Jun 30, 2022

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Academic / Research
Conservation science
Climate Change
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time
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Director - UW Climate Impacts Group

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.

The University of Washington Climate Impacts Group (CIG) supports the development of climate resilience by advancing understanding of climate risks & enabling science-based action to manage those risks. Since 1995, the Climate Impacts Group has linked cutting edge scientific research with innovative approaches to community engagement to produce exceptional research products, develop strong relationships among resource managers, planners, and policy makers in the region and build regional capacity for addressing climatic variability and change. The Climate Impacts Group is a member organization of EarthLab.

EarthLab is a visionary institute that pushes boundaries to address our most pressing environmental challenges, with a focus on climate and its intersection with social justice. EarthLab does this by connecting faculty, students and researchers at the University of Washington to community collaborators in businesses, non-profits, public agencies, Tribal nations and others to co-produce actionable research that generates solutions and strategies for local and global impact. EarthLab's vision, an equitable, just and sustainable world where people and planet thrive, supports one of the University's biggest goals. As a Carnegie-classified Community Engagement University, the UW aspires to be the #1 university in the world as measured by impact. EarthLab is inspired by and committed to this challenge.

Diversity Equity and Inclusion:

EarthLab and the Climate Impacts Group acknowledge the systemic racism that exists in the environmental sector and within environmentalism. We believe every member on our team enriches our diversity by exposing us to a broad range of ways to understand and engage with the world, identify challenges, and to discover, design and deliver solutions. We are seeking candidates who are committed to creating an equitable, diverse and inclusive work environment where all voices are considered and valued.

Director, Climate Impacts Group:

The Director is responsible for planning and directing the activities of the Climate Impacts Group. The CIG has a collaborative working environment and the Director will coordinate a team of principal investigators who are responsible for their own research agendas, and who share in developing and implementing the vision and strategy of the CIG. The Director will provide strategic leadership and direction for the Group's research, education and stakeholder engagement efforts aimed at improving societal and ecological resilience to climate variability and change. They will be a key external face/voice of the Climate Impacts Group, and, by extension, EarthLab, the College of the Environment and the UW. They will be a regional/national thought-leader on connecting science and decision making, in general, and for building climate resilience, in particular.

The CIG staff has worked collectively to express our intention around working with and supporting communities historically excluded from the environmental and climate change spaces. The Climate Impacts Group commits to prioritizing inclusion and justice for all people in our work on climate adaptation, with the aim of decreasing oppression in our organization, our field and our communities. Given our country's history of slavery and continued violence and discrimination against Black people, violent land seizure and genocide against Indigenous peoples, and the disproportionate impacts of climate change and environmental hazards on Black, Indigenous and other people of color, we commit to addressing the enduring impacts of colonialism and white supremacy in our work. We are seeking a leader who can help us operationalize, implement and realize this intention in our ongoing work with communities as well as decision makers, resource managers, and others who are in positions of relative power.

While the CIG has 17 employees, this position directly supervises 6 positions including the Deputy Director, three Research Scientists, one Environmental Outreach Specialist and one administrative position.


Strategic Leadership:

• Establish the vision and build support inside and outside the UW for CIG's efforts to connect science with climate-resilience action through partnership and collaboration.
• Broaden & deepen diversity, equity, inclusion and justice-focused efforts and continue to expand impact.
• Oversee all aspects of the organization and identify, propose and lead new strategies/initiatives with wide reach and impact.
• Ensure effective alignment, and mutual benefit, between the Climate Impacts Group and EarthLab, the College of the Environment and relevant UW centers and programs (e.g., Center for Health and the Global Environment, Program on Climate Change).
• Work in coalition with other organizations to build capacity for climate resilience and vulnerability efforts regionally and nationally.

Research and Engagement:

• Work collaboratively with the CIG team to set the direction for research, education and outreach on an actionable climate science agenda.
• Conceive, plan and oversee novel approaches to co-production of knowledge on climate vulnerability and resilience.
• Serve as the lead-PI for large research efforts involving multiple co-PIs within and beyond the CIG, such as the Northwest Climate Resilience Collaborative.

External Partnerships:

• Develop and maintain an engagement plan that supports relationships with key public, private, non-profit and/or tribal partners.
• Build greater visibility for the CIG's work and reputation through participation in relevant regional, national and/or international networks and events.

Fundraising and Donor Stewardship:

• Work closely with EarthLab and the College of the Environment Advancement and Administrative teams to develop and steward diverse sources of grant and non-grant support from private, federal, state, foundation and other sources.
• This work will also entail working directly with the UW state and federal relations team.

Internal Management:

• Provide mentorship and facilitate professional development for Climate Impacts Group staff throughout the organization.
• Support the Deputy Director in efforts to ensure financial and operational health and the strategic use of core resources to deliver on grants and contracts.
• Guide all PIs and supervisors in conducting efficient, equitable, transparent, inclusive, and strategic operations.
• Lead in an empathetic way that prioritizes DEIJ (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice), supports teamwork, enhances trust, builds collaboration and results in a motivated workforce. Hire, supervise, evaluate, develop and mentor CIG senior staff (Lead PIs and CIG Deputy Director).


• Ph.D. or terminal professional degree or foreign equivalent in a climate adaptation-relevant discipline*
• 9 years' experience leading a complex organization towards enhanced research, services, and programs relevant to climate resilience work*
• Experience advancing justice, inclusion and equity at an individual and organizational level.

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


• Recognized as an expert in applied collaborative interdisciplinary research and stakeholder engagement connecting science and decision making in support of societal responses to climate change.
• Ability to manage a demanding workflow with competing deadlines, solve problems, resolve stress and conflict, initiate timely responses to changes in the political and institutional environment, and exercise sound judgment and decision-making authority using tact and diplomacy.
• Evidence of advanced oral, written and interpersonal communication skills in engaging with diverse audiences, collaborators and staff.
• Demonstrated effectiveness as a collaborator, mentor, team builder, supervisor, and program manager.
• Proven track record of securing grant and non-grant funding.
• Demonstrated success building partnerships and working collaboratively with a wide range of internal and external constituencies (e.g., communities, industry, academia, tribes, NGOs, and all levels of governmental agencies and institutions).


• Extensive knowledge of Washington state's and the greater Northwest's climate-resilience related resources, issues and stakeholders.
• General knowledge of Northwest treaty tribes, tribal issues (particularly as relates to climate impacts and adaptation) and practices for effective partnership with tribal nations.
• Working knowledge of state and federal legislative processes.

Other aspects of this position
• While the CIG Director position is not a tenured faculty position, we are open to the possibility of a non-tenured faculty appointment for the Director.
• We encourage applications from people who do not have a traditional academic background, including experience in NGOs, consulting, and government.

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 Work 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.

Applicants considered for this position will be required to disclose if they are the subject of any substantiated findings or current investigations related to sexual misconduct at their current employment and past employment. Disclosure is required under Washington state law.
The Chronicle of Higher Education. Keywords: Director of Research, Location: Seattle, WA - 98105
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