Chief Science and Innovation Officer

District of Columbia, United States
Salary Not specified
Nov 30, 2020
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time
How You’ll Contribute


The Chief Science and Innovation Officer oversees the scientific functions of the Society ensuring that science is foundational to the organization's programs for impact and illumination. The Chief Science and Innovation Officer administers the scientific awards to advance knowledge and seek new ways of understanding our world and our place in it.

The Chief Science and Innovation Officer has overall strategic leadership and operational oversight for the science and innovation programs and initiatives of the National Geographic Society, while upholding the highest levels of scientific integrity. The position serves as a member of the senior leadership team, which advises the Chief Executive Officer and the President on strategic decision making as well as external and internal operations.

Serving as a champion and role model for the National Geographic Society’s mission, the Chief Science and Innovation Officer will build strong relationships in the scientific community to scale programs and attract the very best talent to the organization’s grants and awards programs. The Chief Science and Innovation Officer will build upon the Society’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by seeking out and mentoring awardees from across the globe. In addition, they will have a significant external presence, speaking and presenting globally and generating position papers to guide the Society’s impact in the world.  

Your Impact


  • Oversee program officers and their teams, providing leadership while retaining and developing top, diverse talent for the organization.

  • Elevate the scientific reputation of NGS around the world through key networks and relationships.

  • Use relationships with other NGOs and scientific organizations to advance fields of interest in both physical and social sciences.

  • Manage the award and grant-making pipelines, providing guidance by setting priorities to meet strategic goals for Science and Innovation.

  • Work closely with the mission programs leads in storytelling, education, and explorer engagement to recruit and develop grantees.

  • Co-manage an advisory body that reviews and provides input on grant applications and strategy.

  • Work closely with the heads of storytelling and education to generate projects at the intersection of science, storytelling and education that leverage the Society’s unique value to advancing the understanding of science.

  • Advise the Society’s media company, National Geographic Partners, on science and innovation collaborative media projects.

  • Attend and present at conferences and thought-leader events to communicate the mission and work of the Society.

  • Ensure that all activities and programs meet the highest standards of ethics and scientific integrity and are aligned with the values of National Geographic.


What You’ll Bring


Educational background  
Ph.D. in a scientific discipline


Minimum Years and Type of Experience 
15 or more years of experience working in a physical, life, or social science field implicitly relevant to National Geographic’s mission.  The ideal candidate is a respected veteran of at least one of these disciplines, a person whose reputation precedes them, and is known for collaborating to build programs of impact at this important moment in human understanding of our world. 


Necessary Knowledge and Skills  
Proven ability to lead, motivate, and influence staff (directly and indirectly) with varying professional experiences, disciplines, and educational backgrounds. Must have the interpersonal skills and intellect to work well within, and effectively manage across, matrix organizational structures, systems, and relationships. The successful candidate will be a collaborator and active listener, able to develop positive relationships, and build consensus and engage people, institutions and constituencies toward achieving goals. 
Must be able to work effectively with and represent the National Geographic Society to a wide range of important external constituents, including but not limited to heads of state, business leaders, donors, government agencies, explorers, scientists, private industry leaders, and external boards. Excellent scientific communication, public speaking skills and media experience are essential.  


Has a proven ability to create an environment for creativity and innovation and provide the overarching leadership and advisory necessary to advance groundbreaking thinking.  


Desired Qualifications

Bring experience of working for a mission-driven organization and putting the mission ahead of personal recognition.


Believe in the power of storytelling to communicate science and research effectively. 


More than 15 staff members


We encourage you to apply even if your experience is not a 100% match with the position. We are looking for someone with relevant skills and experience, not a checklist that exactly matches the job description. We want to help you grow and in return, you help us grow into a stronger, more inclusive organization. 

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