Director of California Sea Grant

Application Deadline: August 24, 2018
Contact— Doug Bartlett / /

Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), University of California San Diego (UCSD), seeks a vibrant, accomplished, and collaborative leader to serve as the Director of California Sea Grant (CASG).

The Director assumes overall responsibility for leadership and programmatic oversight of CASG, and has national, state-wide, and university-wide responsibilities. Working with a team that includes 18 staff members, 9 extension specialists and an extension director (each of whom holds an academic position), the Director secures financial support for the program and builds successful partnerships across numerous and diverse constituencies within and beyond the state of California. The Director facilitates high-impact research, outreach, fellowship and communications activities to increase the understanding of, responsible interaction with, and use of California’s ocean and coastal resources. The Director leads the CASG Management Team that also includes the extension director, business manager, and communications coordinator.


About California Sea Grant

California Sea Grant is the largest program within a national network of 33 Sea Grant colleges and institutions operating in all coastal and Great Lakes states. CASG sponsors and administers scientific research, fellowships, and panels of scientific advisors that contribute to the growing body of knowledge about coastal and marine resources. CASG draws on the talents of scientists and engineers at public and private universities throughout the state. Via sponsored research and the activities of its network of extension specialists, CASG helps solve contemporary marine-related problems especially pertinent to coastal California. CASG is administered by the University of California San Diego and is based at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla. It receives and administers federal funding from the National Sea Grant program (based within NOAA), and state support from the California Natural Resources Agency, in addition to receiving grants from multiple state agencies with which it partners.

Position Description

The Director provides leadership and programmatic oversight for CASG with a broad series of mandates which include supporting research, extension and outreach, work-force development, education, and communication throughout the state of California and nationally. The Director manages and provides technical direction for a highly complex program that has Extension Specialists and staff based throughout California. The Director is responsible for program-wide strategic visioning, articulating long-term vision and goals, managing ongoing operations of the program, and overseeing a large operational budget to achieve objectives.

The Director has primary responsibility to secure sufficient financial resources to support the many activities of CASG. Funding opportunities outside the normal stream of support, such as extramural sources and private foundations, are to be investigated, evaluated, and pursued, if deemed appropriate. This responsibility dictates regular and productive dialogue with federal agencies, state agencies, and private foundations and a consistent dialogue with the offices of state agencies. The Director also will maintain regular and productive dialogue with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the program’s principal federal sponsor of CASG. This includes meeting with NOAA program officers, serving on national committees, and serving in a leadership position in the dialogue with other federal agencies.

The Director oversees and serves as principal investigator for an annual core budget of $4 million, plus an additional $7-$8 million annually from diverse sources, in support of more than 75 competitively and concurrently awarded research projects, more than 100 graduate and postgraduate students and scholars, and ~28 University employees based both at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and throughout coastal California.

The position represents Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) and the University of California through collaborations and partnerships with the academic and research communities, and requires interacting with faculty and administrators at virtually every other university campus in California with an active interest in marine sciences. The position will engage with SIO Leadership which includes the Director, Deputy Director of Research, and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Marine Sciences. The position will also engage with the leaders of many non-university entities that include, but are not limited to, local, state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, not-for-profit research centers, and private foundations. The interactions with these organizations encompass all the critical steps in running a large and diverse program, which includes reviewing, selecting, and supporting a large number of research projects, overseeing three fellowship programs, including the large and comprehensive State Fellowship Program, ensuring that supported researchers are achieving the objectives of their studies, and securing partners for program extension and outreach, and education activities. All of these tasks are conducted via collaborations and thus the position requires much effort be invested in building a statewide and nationwide network of collaborators.

The Director represents California Sea Grant in many different settings that include state, national, and international meetings, workshops, symposia and small groups. The Director often provides leadership in all of these settings including, but not limited to, serving on steering committees, ad-hoc committees, serving as chair or co-chair and/or as a University of California representative. Many of these settings are California-wide but not restricted to one state. Also, the Director represents California Sea Grant on a regional (West Coast) basis and national basis.

This management-and-senior-professional (MSP)-level staff position will be filled as a permanent, 12-month, full time (100%) position subject to annual review according to UCSD policies. The Director will also need to qualify for an (unpaid) academic position in the UCSD Academic Administrator series that will qualify him/her to submit proposals, receive and manage grants, and lead the review of CASG’s academic employees.

Supervisory Responsibilities

The Director directly supervises five staff and has ultimate supervisory authority for the entirety of CASG (~28 persons).

Working Conditions

The Director works in a standard office setting on the SIO campus but travels frequently locally, regionally and nationally for meetings.  Work hours in excess of 40 hours/week are common.

Education Required for this Position

  • Advanced Degree in a field relevant to the Sea Grant mission and/or equivalent experience/training.
  • Preferred Education – Terminal degree in a field relevant to the Sea Grant mission.

Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Extensive experience in the sciences or a field related to the core mission of Sea Grant. This includes demonstrated achievements in research including the capacity to evaluate, understand, describe and communicate scientific and technical observations, publications and other intellectual contributions from university faculty and other researchers.
  • Expert oral and written communication skills with a broad community of other researchers and scientists, industrial partners, program managers, and funding agencies.
  • Management experience in academic and/or government agencies. Innovative leadership and management skills to effectively and collaboratively lead a complex organization towards enhanced research, services, and programs.
  • Ability to manage collaborations between academia, industrial and/or governmental agencies.
  • Significant experience and proven record of success in securing external funding.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and implement innovative programs or research agenda.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience in recognizing the intellectual contributions, technical strengths, societal merit and long-term impact for preeminent, multidisciplinary, programs of excellence at universities, and in communicating the program’s primary mission and accomplishments to a broad audience including scientists, non-specialists and the public.
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and creatively, to anticipate research trends, and to translate that thinking into cogent action plans for a large and diverse program.
  • Demonstrated breadth of understanding of academic, interdisciplinary and disciplinary activities including the value of contributions in marine sciences that include both natural and social sciences.
  • Proven track record of successful relationship building with federal, state and local agencies, foundations, non-governmental organizations and corporate entities.
  • Demonstrated experience in communicating scientific findings and impacts beyond a narrow specialty and in packaging science and technology discoveries in ways that can be understood by those outside a given specific field of specialization, including providing materials that can be understood by a wide segment of the public.
  • Extensive prior experience and a proven ability to work with ease in statewide and national setting to represent the program and to work in an unbiased fashion with many stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated commitment to conducting and administering scientific research and science communication.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Ph.D. in marine or environmental science, or J.D. degree with an environmental law specialty, or equivalent.
  • Leadership experience in an institution of higher education, government or non-profit agency.
  • Knowledge of the Sea Grant mission at either a state or federal level.
  • Knowledge of California’s ocean and coastal resources and issues.

Background Check

The successful candidate is required to complete a background check.  Any offer of employment is contingent on the background check.

Application Instructions

Interested applicants must apply online at the UCSD Job Bulletin.  For questions about this position, please contact Dr. Doug Bartlett, Chair of the Search Committee, at  

Required Applicant Documents:

  • Cover letter that outlines qualifications for this position
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Responses to questionnaire contained within the online application

Review Date

To ensure full consideration, applications must be received via the UCSD online submission portal no later than Friday, August 24, 2018, by 11:55 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

Apply Now

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status, gender identity or sexual orientation. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see: