Director of Science

Maine Application deadline: Jun 18, 2019

About Us:

Founded in 1951, The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we strive for a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Working in 72 countries, including all 50 United States, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners.

The Nature Conservancy in Maine is more than 60 years old – we are deeply committed to working with natural resource users, rural communities and many other stakeholders to solve our biggest challenges for nature and people. To learn more about our work in Maine and local history read our TNC Maine Strategic Plan or visit

External applicants MUST apply via by referencing job #47639. Direct link here:  All applications are due by June 18 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.


The Director of Science plays a critical leadership role in using an evidence-based, scientific approach to inspire and guide the conservation strategies of The Nature Conservancy in Maine. To accomplish this, they deploy strategic planning skills, use existing and innovative solutions, establish collaborative multi-disciplinary partnerships, supervise staff, and work through cross-functional teams to build on and expand how science and conservation are conducted in Maine and beyond. This position is central to ensuring that our conservation strategies are based on robust scientific grounding and have positive outcomes for nature and people.

Essential Functions:

The Director of Science serves as TNC Maine’s lead on conservation science and planning. Leading and managing a team of science, land stewards, and planning staff in Maine, they coordinate with other scientists across and outside the Conservancy to inform the conservation vision for our work in Maine. They also collaborate across the Conservancy in New England and well-beyond and have a strong understanding of the interface between human systems and natural resources. Working closely with the Director of Conservation Director of Government Relations and Director of Communications, they deploy strategic thinking and planning skills and a collaborative, science-based approach to guide TNC Maine’s applied conservation (including social, behavioral, and policy science) for forests, freshwater, oceans, and climate/energy siting and adaptation. The Director applies existing and cutting-edge solutions to major conservation challenges and is responsible for leading collaborative enterprises that create a body of scientific work that build on and expand how conservation is carried out for the benefit of nature and people in Maine and beyond. They understand and integrate socio-economic factors as they connect with conservation. They ensure that all science staff are contributing actively and positively to achieving results aligned with TNC Maine and regional priorities, and they empower the team to do science and share learnings widely with a diversity of audiences. They also work with the team to cultivate partnerships which extend our collaborations and increase the impact of our conservation science work. The Director collaborates with other scientists and institutions to enhance conservation practices in general and for the Conservancy in particular.

Responsibilities & Scope:

  • Serves as a science convener and a subject matter expert to ensure conservation science and planning best practices are applied throughout TNC Maine’s work in forests, freshwater, oceans, and climate.    
  • Provides scientific expertise, including natural, economic, and social science considerations, to inform the application of Conservation by Design 2.0 across projects.
  • Leads scientific investigations and supports others to conduct science that supports conservation outcomes of TNC Maine’s strategic plan and catalyzing science to improve conservation actions and generate new strategies. 
  • Supervises TNC Maine science team and collaborates with other Conservancy teams to support measurable conservation outcomes, provide evidence to inform conservation decisions and priorities, and conduct science to develop new or adapted conservation practices in support of strategic efforts.
  • Fosters effective and innovative partnerships with federal and state agencies, scientific and academic institutions, conservation groups, citizen scientists, and other public and private organizations engaged in conservation science to develop and implement key projects.
  • Helps to lead strategic planning to determine TNC Maine’s priorities.
  • Evaluates and synthesizes science and develops tools to facilitate decision-making.
  • Ensures that TNC Maine science is coordinated with global, North America, New England and other Conservancy programs.
  • Assists the Development (fundraising) and External Affairs (policy and communications) teams in securing private and public funding to implement science projects and strategies.
  • Participates in and leads cross-functional teams, modeling excellent project management skills to complete high-quality projects on time and within budget.
  • Maintains scientific credibility through peer reviewed publications, research and communication.
  • Actively listens to others and fosters open exchange of ideas.
  • Reports to the State Director and serves on the chapter’s leadership teams.
  • Travels with evening and weekend hours, as needed. May work in variable weather conditions & remote locations.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Master's Degree in science related field and 4 years of experience or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience managing complex science projects including project management skills, financial management, and coordinating the work of peers and partners.
  • Supervisory experience.
  • Experience working and communicating science with a wide range of people.
  • Experience manipulating, analyzing, and interpreting statistical or environmental data.
  • Record of peer reviewed publications in scientific journals, original science papers, and/or synthesis papers.
  • Experience fundraising and/or writing grants and research proposals. 

Preferred Knowledge, Skills and Experience:

  • Multi-lingual skills and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experiences are appreciated.
  • Ph.D. in ecology, biology, natural resources, or social sciences is a plus.
  • Ability to engage in a wide range of conservation issues, analyze complex problems, rapidly build personal/team expertise on new issues, and develop strategic responses or solutions. 
  • Experience thinking and working in an interdisciplinary / multidisciplinary manner.
  • Proven ability to leverage applied scientific concepts and technical innovations for broader impact.
  • Strong written, visual, and verbal communication skills and experience translating complex technical and scientific issues to a broad range of audiences and across platforms (e.g. in-person presentations, journals, social media). 
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and develop partnerships with a wide range of individuals that do not have a direct reporting relationship, including staff, partner organizations, government agencies, academic institutions, and other stakeholders. 
  • Proven experience as a team and project leader.

Organizational Competencies:

Accountability for Outcomes - Pushes for excellence.  Establishes challenging goals for self and others to drive performance in support of the Conservancy’s mission.  Rewards behavior that achieves these standards and is aligned with the organization’s mission/ values.  Takes action to address performance problems in a timely and appropriate manner.

Builds Organizational Capability - Builds or adapts organizational structures to accomplish the mission and to improve performance.  This includes reorganizing organizational systems, structures, processes, procedures, communication channels or reporting relationships.  With the Conservancy’s strategic filter in mind, gets the right people involved, and builds bench strength for the future.

Collaboration & Teamwork - Shows a willingness to put the needs and goals of a global organization before personal/local/departmental needs.  Works with others across organizational boundaries. Makes decisions, sets priorities, and allocates resources to help the organization as a whole achieve results.

Communications - Effectively expresses messages verbally and in writing.  Actively listens to others.  Fosters open exchange of issues.  Is timely with information.

Courage & Decisiveness - Makes decisions and stands by them.  Makes timely decisions even under pressure and when lacking complete information. Has the courage to modify decisions and admit why and how they were wrong.

Flexibility & Innovation - Flexible to changing circumstances. Takes innovative approaches towards work.  Takes calculated risks and makes dependable decisions in the face of uncertainty.

Influences for Results - Achieves results by persuading, convincing, or influencing others. Adapts approach to the individual or group and knows how and when to use complex influence strategies. Uses success stories and passion for the mission to generate enthusiasm and support.

Open to Learning - Versatile learner and committed to self-improvement.  Employs strengths effectively.  Willingly shares knowledge with others.  Seeks coaching on areas needing improvement.  Adjusts behavior/performance as needed.  Views mistakes as learning opportunities.

Organizational Awareness - Understands the basics of our business.  Knows how local job relates to the big picture & contributes to the overall strategy.  Knows how/why things work inside TNC.  Easily moves through internal networks and channels for success.



The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of men and women of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and cultures. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientations, gender identities, military or veteran status or other status protected by law.

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