The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) launched a Science Department at the beginning of 2021 to enhance our scientific infrastructure in accordance with CSPI’s mission. We are searching for a Science Director to develop and implement a vision for science-based advocacy throughout the organization. They will provide strategic direction and leadership of department activities to foster a science-centered culture at CSPI. The director will lead efforts to use the best available scientific evidence and rigorous scientific methods throughout our work.
This position reports to CSPI’s President and is located in Washington, DC or remotely. As part of CSPI’s efforts to maintain a safe workplace for employees and visitors we require all employees to be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are eligible, and the vaccine is available to them.
CSPI is one of the nation’s leading public health advocacy organizations, with a 50-year record of fighting for science in the public interest. We’ve led efforts to win passage of many state and local policies to improve school foods, put calories on packaged foods and chain restaurant menus, and remove sugary drinks from children’s menus. National policy successes include the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act; Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act; Food Safety Modernization Act; and Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act. Recently we filed a petition with FDA for front-of-pack nutrition labeling, a proposal subsequently included in the White House National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
- Provide strategic thinking, oversight, and management of our ongoing efforts to ensure the best available scientific evidence and most rigorous scientific methods form the foundation of our work as an advocacy organization.
- Manage the development, maintenance, and implementation of guidelines and protocols for scientific practice; coordination of trainings to enhance staff’s scientific skills (e.g., data visualization, and conflict of interest); and scientific consultation with issue-area experts and program staff covering a variety of scientific disciplines.
- Manage a team of five (some remote) with three direct reports, including mentoring and performance evaluation. Model CSPI’s core values, work with team members to identify professional development opportunities, and provide ongoing performance evaluation as part of our culture of feedback.
- Direct CSPI’s advocacy initiatives, in collaboration with Science Department members, to promote scientific integrity, transparency, and agency accountability in US public health policy.
- Collaborate with the Regulatory Affairs Department and provide direction and oversight of the Science Department’s efforts to improve the regulation of supplements and chemicals added to food, and get unsafe chemicals and ineffective supplements out of the food supply.
- Develop and manage Department annual budget to ensure compliance with budget parameters and adherence to CSPI’s financial operating procedures.
- Identify resources needed to enhance internal scientific capacity and efficiency (e.g., reference management software, statistical software).
- Work with the Development Department to identify, and participate in, fundraising opportunities to ensure funding of current projects, and help grow the Department.
- In collaboration with the Development Department, manage grant deliverables and reporting for grants with Science Department team members.
- Provide primary data analysis, reporting, and data visualization support to program teams.
- Provide scientific expertise and review for comments, petitions, letters, reports, fact sheets, and other scientific documents.
- Serve as liaison between CSPI program teams and the external program evaluators from the University of Illinois Chicago.
- Develop and maintain strategic relationships with external scientists in academia and partnering organizations.
- Develop policy positions in support of policy and corporate campaigns by conducting literature reviews and other analyses. On own initiative and at the direction of the President, research topics related to food, nutrition, and health by evaluating studies and interviewing researchers.
- Serve as a trusted information resource on nutrition and health matters to CSPI staff, coalition partners, policymakers, and the public.
- Work in cross-cutting teams with CSPI program and communications staff to ensure that messages and materials are evidence based.
- Professionally and effectively represent CSPI to external audiences at meetings, events, conferences, and with media.
- Doctoral degree in nutrition, epidemiology, medicine, public health, or related field, plus at least 8 years’ experience in evaluating research, including on diet and health; strategic oversight of programs; and staff management.
- A sense of mission and passion for public interest and public health advocacy.
- Scientific curiosity and a strong commitment to scientific integrity and rigor.
- Demonstrated understanding of complex nutrition issues; ability to draw conclusions from a body of sometimes-conflicting scientific studies and provide responsible advice to consumers, policymakers, coalition partners, and CSPI staff.
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills demonstrated through a history of effective collaboration and teamwork.
- Experience and comfort with public speaking.
- Exceptional writing skills, including experience writing public-facing educational, advocacy, and policy-related materials.
- Experience producing peer-reviewed publications and presenting research to external audiences (e.g., scientific conferences and federal advisory committees).
- Commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the intersection of public health and social justice and ability to promote it throughout the work and in the workplace.
- Excellent judgment and consistent professionalism, with the ability to work in a fast-paced environment and take responsibility for multiple projects and deadlines.
- Proficiency with MSOffice applications, including Excel, Access, and PowerPoint, and statistical programs such as Stata/SAS.
CSPI Core Values
CSPI is committed to including and valuing diverse voices and fostering a culture that ensures all staff feel a sense of belonging and are encouraged to be their best selves. In that spirit, each of us is committed to putting in constant work to live up to our organization’s core values:
- We are inclusive. We seek to foster an environment where all staff feel a sense of belonging and are affirmed. We are not looking for everyone to think and look the same. We actively welcome and value staff with different experiences, backgrounds, attributes, abilities, and perspectives.
- We are open. We are honest and direct in how we communicate with each other in order to build trust and integrity within our organization.
- We are accountable. We acknowledge and assume responsibility for our actions.
- We are kind. We communicate and treat one another in a respectful, generous, considerate, and compassionate way.
- We are collaborative. We work together for the common good and shared success.
The salary range is $140,000 to $150,000, based on experience. CSPI offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes: 3 weeks of annual vacation leave; additional paid holiday leave between December 24 and January 1; 8 weeks of paid parental leave; excellent medical and dental insurance with CSPI paying a significant portion of employee and dependent premiums; and a 3% employer match contribution to the retirement plan after one year of service.
Please utilize CSPI's Paylocity Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to apply for the Science Director position. You are required to submit a resume and cover letter indicating relevant experience and interest. Application deadline is November 28, 2022.
CSPI is committed to building a team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspective, and skills and encourage people of diverse ages, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, disabilities, religions, races, ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, work, and life experiences to apply.