Lead Scientist at Earthwatch

Lead Scientist

Earthwatch is an international environmental nonprofit organization that engages people in scientific field research and education. To achieve our mission, we offer research expeditions at exciting locations around the globe. Participants on these expeditions assist top scientists as they investigate important questions about how we can better protect our planet.

This position is no longer recruiting!

Location: Boston, MA, United States

Position Type: Full-time salaried

Department: Research


Provide the framework, strategic direction and leadership for Earthwatch’s global citizen science driven research program, enabling an excellent Earthwatch experience which advances mission objectives, makes best use of resources and exceeds customer expectations.


The objective of this role is to provide the framework, strategic direction and leadership for Earthwatch’s global citizen science driven research program to enable the program teams to deliver an excellent Earthwatch experience which advances mission objectives, makes best use of resources and meets or exceeds customer expectations.

Your focus is on building a worldwide network of high impact research projects and programs which:

  • Deliver scientific knowledge to both scientific and lay-audiences, creating experiences which lead to the development of environmental leaders and more sustainable organizations.
  • Contribute to policies, management plans, processes and practices which are sustainable.
  • Contribute to pro-environmental actions.
  • Improve environmental sustainability by improving the conservation status of threatened species, habitats, and cultural heritage.
  • Increase ecosystem services, and improve the livelihoods of local communities.

Program and Staff Development

  • Development and implementation of regional research framework, standards and protocols relating to research programs, setting strategic direction for Earthwatch US with clearly defined Research Areas and strategic initiatives which explore key environmental sustainability issues across Earthwatch’s key audiences.
  • Setting and assessing annual targets and metrics for Measures of Success relevant for regionally supported research projects, to ensure organizational as well as project outcomes.
  • Overseeing program inventory development, and evaluation, establishing partnerships with Principal Investigators, that build our portfolio of projects and support.
  • Lead expertise on research program design, development, delivery and impact evaluation for program team members (field and office based) to ensure capacity is built across different markets to deliver transformational research programs.
  • Line management of positions outlined with responsibility for recruiting, retaining and developing talent within the team and engaging and inspiring them around Earthwatch’s mission and business goals with clear objectives.
  • Manage PI network, recruitment and proposal process, leading on continuous improvement on the public program model, maintaining high standards of peer reviewed research.
  • Role model responsible leadership for Earthwatch, demonstrating the desired management behaviors which embody our brand values and consistently reinforcing these across and beyond the team.
  • Lead cross functional/departmental teams, driving proposals and projects to completion.

Partnership and Funding Development

  • Work closely with the CDO to identify and prioritize research programs for investment which align with regional priorities and development goals.
  • Deliver funded programs and helping to secure significant additional funding for the associated programs.
  • Work closely with the Development, and ED of Public Program to engage potential PIs and science partners on proposal development and the initiation of new programs to ensure clarity in roles, expectations, and deliverables for both parties, i.e., Earthwatch and the PIs/science institutions.
  • Provide support in the cultivation of new partners and negotiation of programs, that enhance mission delivery, and regional objectives, attending meetings with key partners and prospects and inputting to significant proposals.

Communication and Relationship Management

  • Communicate Earthwatch’s research programs at relevant conferences and events to raise the profile of Earthwatch’s programs, developing a compelling communications strategy.
  • Design and participate in US Board of Director and Advisor events.
  • Science and Research conduit for US US Executive Team.
  • Support PI publications in mainstream media,creating high quality research updates for Earthwatch’s stakeholders.


  • Established Ph.D. scientist with extensive track record of leading scientific programs that address major global environmental issues.
  • Respected and accomplished scientist with a record of peer reviewed first author papers, conference proceedings and other publications.
  • Extensive management experience at a senior level, preferably within the academic or NGO communities.
  • Experience working with Boards and or science advisors.
  • Expertise and qualifications in design, strategy and evaluation of research projects which lead to improved environmental sustainability.
  • Ability to translate and implement organizational strategy into aligned objectives, integrating functions across the organization, displaying organizational commitment, and managing greater levels of complexity across the regional programs.
  • Strong writing, editing and research skills as demonstrated through publications, and outstanding verbal, written communication and facilitation skills.
  • Demonstrate a track record in generating significant funding from private foundations, government, and/or intergovernmental bodies for research programs.
  • Fluency in additional language(s) such as French, German, Mandarin or Spanish preferred.


Find us on LinkedIn, where you can learn more about our organization and staff.