Civic Science Fellow

Johns Hopkins University
Maryland, United States
Salary Not Specified
Posted Date
Jul 29, 2021

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Position Type
Faculty Positions, Professional Fields, Public Administration & Policy, Science, Technology & Mathematics, Other Science & Technology, Social & Behavioral Sciences, Other Social & Behavioral Sciences, Political Science & International Relations, Administrative, Academic Affairs, Research Administration
Employment Type
Full Time

Civic Science Fellow Overview

The SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University and Research4impact invites applications for a Civic Science Fellow for 18 months, beginning no later than October 19, 2021. The fellow will co-lead and co-design a brand new research initiative to map policy engagement activities based at colleges and universities across the United States. The position is supported by funding from the Rita Allen Foundation.

Project Details: Mapping University-Based Policy Engagement Across the U.S.

Scientific research often doesn’t influence policy and practice on its own. Instead, it happens thanks to the purposeful activities of knowledge brokers, engaged researchers, research translators, and many others. The project central to this fellowship offers the unique chance to explore how universities across the United States support and carry-out policy engagement activities. It’s a critical first step to better understand the diverse array of initiatives and people focused on connecting research to policy and practice.

We define policy engagement broadly, encompassing any activity that entails scientists and researchers being in direct communication with civic leaders, political leaders, and the broader public. This would include activities such as:
  • connecting with political leaders to increase the use of scientific evidence in the public policymaking process
  • connecting with advocates, non-governmental organizations, entrepreneurs, and community leaders as they are making strategic decisions about how to solve public problems and realize the promise of democracy
  • connecting with members of the broader public to increase understanding of new issues.
University-based policy engagement initiatives take many different forms, yet what they typically share in common is a deep-seated commitment to connecting diverse thinkers around issues of mutual concern. Goals vary, but often entail some or all of the following: bringing scholarly insights to bear on real problems, providing usable knowledge for civic and political actors, informing the kind of research that scientists prioritize and conduct, and shaping public discourse around emergent science issues.

This project will systematically take stock of these activities — what counts as policy engagement, what activities are prioritized, how are new opportunities generated and created, how well (or not well) do they serve diverse stakeholders, how well-resourced are they, and how do different kinds of colleges and universities differ in terms of the policy engagement activities they support and encourage. The output of this project will be descriptive, yet we also expect the findings to raise new research and policy questions.

The SNF Agora/research4impact Civic Science Fellow will lead this project in collaboration with Adam Levine , the SNF Agora Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management and also president of research4impact, including all steps to co-design and co-conduct the study, and co-publish the results. The topics listed above are just a sample of the wide range of possibilities. The Fellow will work out many of the specific details and aims, as well as the methods of data collection and analysis that make the most sense (e.g. interviews, quantitative administrative data, and so on). The fellow will also be responsible for proposing new and innovative ways to share what’s been learned, perhaps via written, visual, interactive, and/or other means.

In addition to the opportunity to lead this new research initiative, being a Civic Science Fellow also offers opportunities for community-building and networking with other fellows across the country. Fellows will spend approximately 75% of their time (~30 hours/week) carrying out the policy engagement mapping project, and 25% of their time (~10 hours/week) on shared learning and networking activities outside of their direct work with SNF Agora/research4impact, including periodic convenings during the Civic Science Fellows term. If you have any questions, please feel free to email Adam Levine at

Relevant Institutions

The Civic Science Fellows program is designed to catalyze new partnerships, practices, leadership, and knowledge to advance meaningful, inclusive engagement on issues at the interface of science and society. The program brings together an interdisciplinary network of journalists, bench and social scientists, community-facing practitioners, content creators, public-interest organizations, and funders to develop evidence-based, human-centered approaches to better connect science with diverse communities. Civic science goes beyond science outreach, seeking to create equitable frameworks and relationships so people of every background are part of creating emerging science and making choices to guide it, so its power benefits all. The fellowship will be hosted by the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins and research4impact.

The SNF Agora Institute is a multi-disciplinary academic and public forum dedicated to strengthening global democracy by improving and expanding civic engagement and inclusive dialogue, and by supporting inquiry that leads to real-world change. A key goal of the Institute, which this policy engagement project very much aligns with, is to understand how to more effectively connect scholarly insights into practice and policy to strengthen our democracy.

Research4impact is a nonprofit organization that envisions a world in which people with diverse forms of knowledge seamlessly learn from each other, especially those working to understand and solve complex social problems. A team of matchmakers creates powerful new connections between social scientists and community leaders, and also shares what they’re learning about how to build connections between people with diverse forms of knowledge.

Fellowship Logistics

Fellowship has a fixed term of 18 months

Salary: $80,000 annually, plus benefits

Start date: no later than October 19, 2021

Location: Baltimore MD (though given the very soon start date, remote work options for the first few months are available)

Candidates must hold a Ph.D. or other appropriate terminal degree (or be in the final year of their Ph.D. program). Given the substantive focus on the work, candidates must have prior training and experience in all aspects of the process of conducting original research. They must be able to work independently, and be comfortable initiating new interactions with leaders from a diverse set of organizations across the country.

It is desirable that candidates also have prior experience in an aspect of civic science, such as policy engagement, organizational partnerships, and/or science communication. Yet perhaps even more important than prior experience is enthusiasm for shaping and conducting the “mapping policy engagement” project at the heart of this fellowship.

Disciplinary background is open, and this position is potentially appealing to people with either social science or STEM backgrounds.

Application deadline is September 10, 2021, with the Fellowship to begin no later than October 19, 2021.

Please submit the following using the 'Apply Now" link:

1. Detailed cover letter (no more than 3 pages) that includes a description of the applicant’s relevant experience and expertise, as well as enthusiasm for working on this project. Also please indicate the soonest you’d be able to work in-person in Baltimore.

2. Current CV (any disciplinary form is sufficient)

3. Contact information for three professional references (include name, title, affiliation, e-mail address, and phone number).

The Johns Hopkins University is committed to equal opportunity for its faculty, staff, and students. To that end, the university does not discriminate on the basis of sex, gender, marital status, pregnancy, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status or other legally protected characteristic. The university is committed to providing qualified individuals access to all academic and employment programs, benefits and activities on the basis of demonstrated ability, performance and merit without regard to personal factors that are irrelevant to the program involved.

The successful candidate(s) for this position will be subject to a pre-employment background check.

If you are interested in applying for employment with The Johns Hopkins University and require special assistance or accommodation during any part of the pre-employment process, please contact the HR Business Services Office at For TTY users, call via Maryland Relay or dial 711.

The following additional provisions may apply depending on which campus you will work. Your recruiter will advise accordingly.

During the Influenza ("the flu") season, as a condition of employment, The Johns Hopkins Institutions require all employees who provide ongoing services to patients or work in patient care or clinical care areas to have an annual influenza vaccination or possess an approved medical or religious exception. Failure to meet this requirement may result in termination of employment.

The pre-employment physical for positions in clinical areas, laboratories, working with research subjects, or involving community contact requires documentation of immune status against Rubella (German measles), Rubeola (Measles), Mumps, Varicella (chickenpox), Hepatitis B and documentation of having received the Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccination. This may include documentation of having two (2) MMR vaccines; two (2) Varicella vaccines; or antibody status to these diseases from laboratory testing. Blood tests for immunities to these diseases are ordinarily included in the pre-employment physical exam except for those employees who provide results of blood tests or immunization documentation from their own health care providers. Any vaccinations required for these diseases will be given at no cost in our Occupational Health office.

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