Senior Director, Oceans Science; Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

The Oceans Program seeks a senior, experienced marine or coastal scientist to work closely with program leadership to inform and guide implementation of its new strategic plan. The successful candidate will lead and manage scientific work across the program, working collaboratively with other EDF program experts to identify, develop, advocate and implement science-based, economically sound, fair and equitable environmental solutions focused on attaining ocean climate resilience.  Under the supervision of the Senior Vice President for Oceans, the Senior Director for Oceans Science will manage the EDF Oceans Science Team’s work on scientific priorities.  Priorities include developing and demonstrating strategies and tools that enhance climate-resilient fisheries, pioneering integrated approaches that combine sustainable fisheries management with sustainable aquaculture and other coastal activities, advancing the performance of fisheries and related systems in food and nutritional provisioning for vulnerable populations, characterizing and advancing oceans based carbon capture and storage, and using science as a key strategy to accelerate adoption of regional and global strategies.

Key Responsibilities

  • Advising Oceans leadership on the development and implementation of climate resilient strategies both in target countries and around the world
  • Working with program directors to ensure that all Oceans Program projects are based on the best available science, and are not unduly limited by the availability of scientific information, as defined by the strategic plan determined by the functional group
  • Manage the Oceans Program science budget, while assisting unit managers with development of scientific capacity and performance
  • Functioning as a member of the Oceans Program’s Management Team in order to improve effectiveness, including collaborative decision-making and coordination, across the Ocean Program
  • Coordinating Oceans science work with other global initiatives within Oceans
  • Coordinating Oceans science with other EDF programs – including EDF’s Office of the Chief Scientist – on scientific aspects of cross-cutting areas of engagement
  • Representing the Oceans Program and EDF with EDF’s Board of Trustees, key partners, core donors and the public, working with senior leadership and EDF Communications Department
  • Working with Oceans leadership and EDF Development to translate new ideas and approaches into fundable programs and projects
  • Representing Oceans regional teams in high-leverage engagements in targets countries and high-visibility forums globally
  • Publishing in the peer-reviewed literature
  • Securing and maintaining EDF’s leadership role in ocean science among environmental non-governmental organizations, in particular with respect to sustainable fisheries management and related program priorities
  • Participating in scientific and marine conservation conferences and working groups
  • Acting as an effective scientific spokesperson for the Oceans Program and EDF generally
  • Developing and implementing collaborative science relationships and initiatives with partner institutions.
  • Mentoring science staff
  • Engaging with external partners and consultants
  • Taking full responsibility for work planning and project implementation for the Oceans science team


  • Ph.D in marine ecology, marine science, fisheries science, climate science or related field
  • At least 12 years’ post-doctoral experience in marine or coastal ecology, fisheries science or a related field
  • Excellent quantitative and analytical skills, especially in complex systems
  • Extensive personal scientific networks and a willingness to build on those, including in new geographies
  • Exemplary communications and public speaking skills, including to non-technical audiences
  • Field experience working directly with coastal communities, especially with vulnerable populations
  • Expertise in international, particularly Asian, fisheries is a plus
  • Demonstrated capacity for managing teams working on scientific issues, and in coordinating such work with non-science partners
  • Experience in strategic planning and research in support of strategic planning; leadership of research projects; presentations at scientific conferences
  • Experience in fundraising for complex science-based advocacy programs
  • High level of creativity 

Job Location: This position will be located in EDF’s San Francisco, Austin, Boston, NYC, Raleigh or Washington, DC office (with option for geographic flexibility for the right candidate).

Duration: Full-Time

Application Website: Apply here