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Mar 14 / BARD CEP

Science and Democracy Research Intern – Cambridge, MA

Organization: Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)

Position Title:  Science and Democracy Research Intern

Location: Cambridge, MA

Hours & Compensation: Forty hours per week. Monthly salary of between $1,733 and $2,080 based on level of education.

Position Dates: Three-month position.

Application Deadline:  April 7, 2013 or until filled.

Organization Overview:

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet’s most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.

What began as a collaboration between students and faculty members at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969 is now an alliance of more than 400,000 citizens and scientists. UCS members are people from all walks of life: parents and businesspeople, biologists and physicists, teachers and students. Our members understand that scientific analysis—not political calculations or corporate hype—should guide our efforts to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.

Our experts work on some of the most complex and daunting problems in our history: stemming the tide of global warming, finding sustainable ways to feed, power and transport ourselves, and reducing the threat of catastrophic war. Our achievements over the decades show that thoughtful action based on the best available science can help safeguard our future and the future of our planet.


The Science and Democracy Research Intern will conduct original research on a variety of topics for the Center for Science and Democracy (CSD) at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), focusing on how science is used in policy making. The intern will aid the CSD research team in developing analyses and reports that further the CSD mission of advancing the role of science and evidence in the democratic process. Possible research topics to be explored include communicating scientific information during emergency situations such as extreme weather events; health, environmental, social and economic impacts of hydraulic fracturing; and food safety and agricultural policy. Because the CSD is a new initiative at UCS, the intern will have the ability to help shape the direction of their projects and will have considerable input into the types and content of CSD’s analytical products.

The broad scope of the Center for Science and Democracy will enable the intern to learn about a range of topics within science policy. The intern will gain knowledge of the policy making process, the role that science plays in that process and barriers that inhibit evidence-based policy making. In addition to an in-depth understanding of their specific research focus, the intern will gain general research and communication skills by working closely with their mentor and the CSD team, which includes scientists, legislative experts, and outreach specialists. The intern will gain skills on policy analysis tools and strategies, oral and written communication, and organizational and time management. Finally, the intern will gain an understanding of the structure and function of a science-based nonprofit and the role that research and analysis plays in this setting.


The intern will be responsible for assisting in research tasks including scoping, writing, analyzing, and developing public-facing materials based on their research. Most tasks will be computer-focused; however, the intern will frequently participate in team meetings and idea-brainstorming sessions, and will have opportunities to present and discuss their research with the CSD team and other UCS staff. The intern will report regularly to their mentor and other research staff and collaborate with CSD staff to develop products, such as mini-reports, fact-sheets, white paper, etc., from their assigned tasks.


Candidates should be able to demonstrate strong research skills, and a keen interest in exploring diverse topics in the science policy realm. An understanding of science policy is desirable, though not required. Robust written and oral communications abilities, considerable self-motivation, attention to details, and solid organizational skills are necessary for this position. Applicants should be able to demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively both through written and oral capacities. Candidate should have the ability to work independently as well as in teams. Most of all, candidate should possess a passion for improving the way in which science informs policy making, and an interest in working in the public interest.

Individuals from demographic groups underrepresented in science and environmental advocacy and from public universities are especially encouraged to apply. College students and recent graduates are eligible to apply for this competitive internship.

How to Apply: Please submit a cover letter, salary requirements, how you learned about the position and resume via email to internship@ucsusa.organd include “CSD Research Intern” in the subject line. Email materials in Word or PDF format only. No phone calls please.

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