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Director of Research

Job Location

Any TWS office preferred. Remote locations may be considered.


Type of Job



$108,000 to $134,000

Published By

Publisher Name

Published Date

Mar 22, 2023

About the job

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Salary Range:$108,000.00 To 134,000.00 Annually

Location: Any TWS office preferred. Remote locations may be considered. Salary will differ based on location.

For Example:

Boise, ID: $108,000
Albuquerque, NM: $115,000
Denver, CO: $121,000
Washington, DC: $127,000
Oakland, CA: $134,000

To Apply: Please submit resume or CV & cover letter by April 9th


General Description

The Research Director’s main objective is coordinating and conducting ecological research that advances the strategic goals of The Wilderness Society. The Research Director ensures that ecological research is of the highest quality and informs science-based advocacy across the organization. In addition to internal duties, the incumbent represents the organization externally as a national leader in conservation and ecological science. We seek a broadly trained ecologist or conservation scientist with expertise in one or more of a variety of topics including (but not limited to) ecological connectivity, climate change assessments, carbon storage and fluxes, biodiversity and wildlife habitat analysis, spatial conservation planning, recreation impacts to wildlife, landscape ecology, or other topics.


The Research Director plays a critical role in establishing and reinforcing an inclusive organizational culture that is grounded in trust and accountability to shared goals and outcomes. TWS has made diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic priorities for the organization. This leader will integrate these priorities throughout our science, from expanding our partnerships to considering an equity lens to all facets of research. Across our team, we aspire to be campaign oriented, nimble, collaborative, innovative, transparent, and supportive of staff – our greatest asset.


Essential Duties & Responsibilities

  • Coordinates and conducts ecological research that is aligned with organizational goals, manages a team of ecologists, and works closely with other program staff to integrate science into campaigns.
  • Directs national-scale ecological research and ensures that strategic campaign goals are met across the organization.
  • Works independently and in teams to complete complex research projects that impact multiple components/processes/projects across TWS.
  • Works within multidisciplinary teams (including experts in policy, communications, and community organizing) to co-develop research questions and share results and insights throughout the organization.
  • Produces scientific reports, white papers, peer-reviewed papers and science and policy briefs needed to inform protection, restoration, and stewardship of wildlands.
  • Helps develop policy recommendations based on scientific information.
  • Serves as the Director of The Wilderness Society Gloria Barron Scholarship Program
  • Serves as internally and externally respected expert and communicates research, analytical findings, and policy recommendations to government agencies, elected officials, conservation partners, the media, and other audiences.
  • Provides technical guidance to colleagues in the TWS Science team, other TWS staff, and external partners.
  • Participates in organizational committees and conferences.
  • Supports the development of funding proposals.
  • Manages contract research and other means of augmenting analytical capacity.
  • Travels to attend short-duration meetings, give presentations, and visit specific project sites.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.


Experience, Competencies, and Education

  • Ph.D. in ecology, wildlife biology, forestry, landscape ecology or related field and at least ten years of experience leading ecological research projects, some of which may include time spent in a Ph.D. program.
  • Established record of exceptional research productivity.
  • Well-organized with strong attention to detail and a demonstrated ability to manage multiple research projects simultaneously.
  • Experience leading and managing teams representing a rich mix of talent, backgrounds, and perspectives. This includes a track record of successful recruitment, cultivation, and retention of highly skilled staff across race and gender.
  • Familiarity with a variety of North American ecosystems.
  • Working knowledge of GIS concepts and principles.
  • Knowledge of conservation issues on public lands and how they relate to natural resource management and federal public land policy.
  • Experience working in multi-disciplinary teams and with diverse groups in and outside the conservation community.
  • Exceptional communication skills and demonstrated ability to translate complex ecological information into terms that can be understood by a non-scientific audience.
  • Ability to handle highly complex assignments.
  • Ability to work with diverse stakeholders and interact in a group setting.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently, think creatively, and write convincingly.
  • Passion for and commitment to wildland conservation.
  • Demonstrated ability to organize and analyze multiple spatial and tabular datasets with proficiency in writing code (e.g., in R or Python) for reproducible results.
  • Understanding of federal environmental laws.
  • Ability and willingness to travel nationally when necessary.


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.   Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl; talk or hear.  The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.   Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision.



Work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.  While performing the duties of this job, the employee is not exposed to adverse weather conditions.  The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.


This job description is intended to convey information essential to understanding the scope of this position and it is not intended to be an exhaustive list of experience, skills, efforts, duties, responsibilities or working conditions associated with the position.


The Wilderness Society offers a competitive salary and benefits package, including: health, dental, vision, life and disability insurance; sick and vacation leave; a sabbatical program; and a retirement plan.  TWS is an equal opportunity employer and actively works to ensure fair treatment of our employees and constituents across culture, socioeconomic status, race, marital or family situation, gender, age, ethnicity, religious beliefs, physical ability, veteran status or sexual orientation.


TWS has instituted a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all staff reporting to a TWS office or engaging in in-person work meetings.  There is an exception to the vaccine mandate for any staff who have an objection because of a medical or religious reason.  We will do our best to devise reasonable accommodation that respects your objection while balancing the competing demands of your specific position.


As an organization, we aspire to being inclusive in the work that we do, and in the kind of organization we are.  Internally this means working as a team that listens to different points of view, recognizes the contributions of every employee and empowers each employee to bring their whole selves to work every day.  Externally this means ensuring that public lands are inclusive and welcoming, so that our shared wildlands can help people and nature to thrive.  We are committed to equity throughout our work, which we define as our commitment to realizing the promise of our public lands and ensuring that all can share in their universal benefits.


To learn more about our commitment, please see

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