California Sea Grant and the Delta Stewardship Council are hiring a social scientist to assist with research and outreach on the human dimensions of California water and environmental management and policy issues related to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
This incumbent will be a member of the California Sea Grant extension team, who provide integrated research, outreach, and education to help Californians balance diverse coastal and marine interests and adapt to changing conditions and needs.
This position will serve as a central contributor to advancing collaborative partnerships and catalyzing and implementing social science research to inform management of the delta. The social scientist will serve as a leader in applying quantitative and qualitative social science methods to identified management issues.
UCSD is an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer with a strong institutional commitment to excellence and diversity (diversity.ucsd.edu).
This position will be based in Sacramento, California.
Full Position Description
California Sea Grant (CASG) and the Delta Stewardship Council (Council) have an outstanding opportunity for a Social Scientist to assist with research and outreach on the human dimensions of California water and environmental management and policy issues related to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta). The position requires close collaboration with the Council’s Delta Science Program and the Council’s Planning Division to advance the state’s coequal goals and to provide the best possible unbiased science to inform water and environmental decision-making about the Delta. This incumbent will also be a member of a team of California Sea Grant academics that help the program achieve its mission of providing integrated research, outreach, and education to help Californians balance diverse coastal and marine interests and adapt to changing conditions and needs.
The Social Scientist will work with interagency, academic, stakeholder, and community collaborators to identify important Delta water management, ecosystem management, and Delta as Place issues, and then conduct or facilitate research, education, and outreach projects that address the human dimensions of these challenges. This position will serve as a central contributor to advancing collaborative partnerships and catalyzing and implementing social science research to inform management of the Delta. The Social Scientist will serve as a leader in applying quantitative and qualitative social science methods to identified management issues. The position will require close collaboration with Council staff and California Sea Grant Extension Specialists, while also working independently to engage diverse partners and stakeholder groups including federal, state, and local agencies; educational institutions; non-governmental organizations; businesses; agricultural and economic development entities; Delta residents; and the general public.
The Social Scientist initiates, develops, and leads research and outreach efforts that advance the general understanding about the human dimensions of resource management and decision-making toward advancing the State of California’s coequal goals. The position is also responsible for catalyzing and advancing the application of social science in decision-making about the Delta. The Social Scientist will work independently and in collaboration with others, including Council staff, to identify priority research and outreach topics that build on priorities identified in the Delta Science Plan, Science Action Agenda, Delta Plan, and strategic recommendations from the Delta Social Science Task Force. Example priority topics may include one or more of the following, but are not limited to:
- Initiating a research program and an associated scientific network centered on integrating the physical and natural sciences with the social sciences for the coastal region of the San Francisco Bay and Delta
- Investigating cost-effective methods to improve estuarine and adjoining freshwater Delta species’ habitats on working lands
- Generating and integrating social science data and information into both natural science and economic program and plan performance evaluations
- Integration of social sciences into climate change vulnerability assessments
- Investigating and documenting social and cultural values of Delta agriculture and integrating such information with economic production studies.
- Identifying and investigating environmental justice research topics within the Delta, in the Delta watershed, and in areas served by Delta water.
Applied Research and Education
- Develop collaborative programs of work in the human dimensions that are relevant to the Council, California Sea Grant, and Sea Grant Extension Program priorities (e.g., implement strategic recommendations of the Delta Social Science Task Force and research programs that advance the Science Action Agenda)
- Assess and prioritize Bay-Delta issues appropriate for UC/Sea Grant research, education and outreach program(s)
- Develop collaborations and pursue extramural funds to design insightful projects
- Develop and conduct research and extension (education and outreach) programs with meaningful impacts that address Bay-Delta science, policy, and management needs, community issues, California Sea Grant strategic objectives, and the Council’s strategic needs (e.g., activities responsive to the Delta Science Plan and the Science Action Agenda)
- Produce high-quality products such as educational workshops, multimedia materials, policy briefs, technical publications, and scholarly papers
- Mentor early career social scientists working in related fields as well as physical and natural scientists at the Council and its partner organizations (e.g., California Sea Grant State Fellows)
- Responsible to the Council’s Chief Deputy Executive Officer, with the Delta Lead Scientist as an advisor, and the California Sea Grant Director for program review
- Report to the California Sea Grant Extension Lead for program administration
- Maintain effective communication with Council’s Executive Team, Deputy Directors for Science and Planning, Council staff, the Delta Lead Scientist, SGEP colleagues and director, and the CASG Director and staff
- Demonstrate professional growth by improving skills and knowledge
- Participate in professional conferences, relevant working groups and advisory boards, and community organization meetings
- Participate in National Sea Grant Organization planning and projects as appropriate
- Submit monthly and annual progress reports and participate in monthly Califronia Sea Grant calls, and two in-person meetings per year
- Determine the needs of the Bay-Delta science enterprise by working with the Delta Science Program’s social science initiative leads and by consulting with individuals, groups, government agencies, and other academics
- Facilitate collaborations among and between the Council, California Sea Grant academics, and other university and agency scientists
- Collaborate effectively with colleagues and community partners in program development, implementation, and evaluation
- Develop and maintain effective communications with program- and area-based clients and represent California Sea Grant interests in discussions with agencies and organizations
- Collaborate with California Sea Grant Communications team to share information and knowledge with a broader audience, for example through press releases, blog posts, media interviews, or other outlets.
- Ph.D. or equivalent in a social science field related to the human dimensions of natural resource management, such as sociology, human ecology, economics, political science, public policy, urban and regional planning, behavioral sciences, anthropology, or related field with experience working on interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary teams
- Minimum of two years of professional experience in a position requiring understanding of water and environmental management or comparable expertise
- Capacity to manage demanding workflow and competing deadlines; initiate and complete projects with minimal supervision; and work effectively with diverse constituencies
- Strong oral and written skills, including ability to interpret technical information and relay it in nontechnical language to a lay audience
- Demonstrated success developing effective outreach materials for a variety of audiences, managing workshop logistics, and completing other duties associated with preparing for and delivering extension events
- Experience facilitating large public meetings and leading a group to consensus-based decisions
- Computer competence including database management, word processing, and social media
- A commitment to the mission of the Delta Stewardship Council and the goals and ideals of California Sea Grant
- Familiarity with California water, environmental resources, social landscape, cultural resources, stakeholders, tribes, and governing bodies
- Prior work experience in water, environmental, and cultural resource management and community planning
- Prior professional experience in applying human dimensions science to natural and cultural resources planning, management, and policy
- Formal training in conflict resolution and facilitation approaches and techniques
 Coequal goals means the two goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. The coequal goals shall be achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource, and agricultural values of the Delta as an evolving place. (CA Water Code Section 85054).
 The mission of the Delta Science Program is to provide the best possible unbiased scientific information to inform water and environmental decision-making in the Delta. That mission shall be carried out through funding research, synthesizing and communicating scientific information for policy-makers and decision-makers, promoting independent peer review, and coordinating with Delta agencies to promote science-based adaptive management. The Delta Science Program shall assist with development and periodic updates of the Delta Plan’s adaptive management program. (CA Water Code section 85280(b)(4)).