Kendall Fellowship: Understanding Scientist Activism

Mónica Ivelisse Feliú-Mójer's picture


Kendall Fellowship: Understanding Scientist Activism

Center for Science and Democracy

Union of Concerned Scientists

Cambridge, MA or Washington, DC

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the leading science-based organization at the center of today’s most exciting and important policy debates, seeks candidates for our post-doctoral Kendall Fellowship in Understanding Scientist Activism and Movement Building. This is a two-year fellowship for a social scientist with research experience in studying social movements. 

The Union of Concerned Scientists is an independent national nonprofit that combines technical analysis and effective organizing and advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for stemming the tide of global warming, sustainable food policy and agriculture, clean energy and transportation, and reducing the threat of catastrophic nuclear war.

We seek a social scientist who can help the UCS Center for Science and Democracy develop a plan for sustaining our movement of scientists and science supporters. The Center helps scientists and science-based organizations engage in democratic dialogue and the public policy process. Over the past two years, our team has trained and mobilized thousands of scientists and other experts in the US to be involved in local and national policy- and decision-making. Our network has helped repel some of the most egregious recent attacks on science-based policy-making, setting the stage for a sustained movement for scientist engagement in public policy as a core element of our democracy. We wish to better understand the mechanisms that enable collective and individual advocacy in the science community, to help us create an enduring effort. 

The Kendall fellow will develop research on movement-building to address questions such as:

  • What tactics have or haven’t worked in the past (or today) to motivate scientists to become active in US social movements? What lessons can we learn from those examples? 
  • What are shared characteristics of the US scientific community that must be considered in building a stronger and more durable political movement to support of the role of science in our democracy?
  • How have scientists who are people of color, early-career scientists, and scientists within more esoteric disciplines engaged in this movement? What practices are successful? What are the barriers to more robust participation?
  • What styles of engagement with scientific societies and other partners have been most successful? What are the barriers to engaging, and sustaining engagement? 

Qualifications and Experience

  • Research experience, and nuanced understanding of the science of movement building
  • Excellent communication and collaboration skills with scientific and non-scientific audiences
  • Ability to foster partnerships with peer organizations
  • A doctoral degree in political science or a related field is preferred. A master’s degree with extensive independent research experience may be considered.


May spend extended periods at a computer. Some travel, up to one week per quarter, may be necessary.

UCS is an equal opportunity employer continually seeking to diversify its staff. In particular, we’re dedicated to broadening opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences and in environmental advocacy. We’re also committed to building an inclusive workplace culture where talented people of widely diverse backgrounds can thrive. We've adopted this commitment because we believe the inclusion of culturally diverse perspectives will improve our work and produce better societal and environmental outcomes for all, including historically disenfranchised communities. We are actively seeking people who bring diverse backgrounds and perspectives to join us in this work.

About the Kendall Science Fellows Program

The Kendall Science Fellows Program was established to honor Nobel Prize winning physicist Henry Kendall who was with UCS from our beginnings and was the long-time chair of our board. Kendall was known for his unique ability to shake up the status quo and catalyze new thinking, and UCS looks to Kendall Fellows to do the same. Priority is given to innovative and forward-looking proposals that are primarily scientific, technical, or analytic in nature but also show interest in the application of science to policy. Fellows will benefit from the opportunity to learn from the UCS approach to science and policy, and UCS will benefit from the new approaches and expertise of the Kendall Fellows.

Compensation, Hours and Location: This is a full-time, up to two-year position based in either UCS’s Washington, DC or Cambridge, MA office. The Fellowship will begin in Fall 2019. Kendall Fellowship salaries follow a special structure and are fixed at $72,000 for candidates with less than 3 years relevant post-Ph.D. experience and $82,000 for those with 3-8 years of post-Ph.D. experience. UCS offers excellent benefits and a rewarding work environment. Information about the organization is available at A listing of all open jobs is available at

To Apply: Please upload a cover letter of up to two pages that includes relevant background and experience and a brief description of your research concept on movement-building in the science community; a Curriculum Vitae and a writing sample. Please include salary requirements in the cover letter. Upload materials in Word or PDF format only. No phone calls, please. 

Following an initial screening, top candidates will co-write a more specific fellowship proposal in coordination with UCS staff for submission to the Kendall Science Fellows Program Advisory Committee by February 1, 2019. Final decisions on the award of this competitive fellowship will be made by the end of February 2019.

Deadline: January 6, 2019 or until filled. Review of applications will begin immediately.