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Community Engagement Specialist, Accelerating Research Translation (ART)

Community Engagement Specialist, Accelerating Research Translation (ART)
    Fairfax, VA
    Research Staff
    Opening on: Apr 8 2024
        Add to favoritesFavorited View favoritesDepartment: Office of Research Innovation and Economic Impact

        Classification: Research Staff 12-month

        Job Category: Research Staff

        Job Type: Full-Time

        Work Schedule: Full-time (1.0 FTE, 40 hrs/wk)

        Location: Fairfax, VA

        Workplace Type: Hybrid Eligible

        Salary: Salary commensurate with education and experience

        Restricted: Yes

        Criminal Background Check: Yes

        About the Department:

        George Mason University’s Institute for a Sustainable Earth (ISE) puts Mason research and scholarship into action for a more just, prosperous, and sustainable world. It serves as networking organization designed to connect diverse faculty, staff, and students across all of Mason’s academic units with each other and with local, national, and global partners to build vibrant communities of research and practice and enable transdisciplinary research of consequence. The ISE community includes over 500 faculty and student researchers who conduct research in the natural sciences, social sciences, computational and data sciences, engineering, and humanities across all areas of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. ISE fosters partnerships focused on end-use research impact. Our growing network includes dozens of community-based organizations; local, Tribal, state, and regional governments; professional associations; research collectives; and international environmental organizations.

        Mason’s Virginia Climate Center (VCC) provides products and services to Virginia municipalities and firms to support adoption of climate risk prevention and mitigation strategies for wise resource management and sustainable entrepreneurship. Local decision makers gain access to an unprecedented range of observational data, environmental models, and experts in climate science, sustainability, and engineering solutions. VCC’s data-driven decision support helps save tax dollars and improve the livelihoods of Virginians, increasing resilience to severe weather, air pollution, drought, and floods, with an emphasis on the underprivileged communities that are most susceptible to adverse effects of climate change. The VCC initially focused its work in Northern Virginia and ultimately intends to scale this effort to serve communities throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. The VCC was originally supported by a federal (NOAA) Community Project Initiative sponsored by Representative Gerry Connolly.

        The ISE and VCC – in collaboration with the Center for Climate Strategies and the University of Kentucky – recently received a $6 million cooperative agreement from the National Science Foundation’s Accelerating Research Translation (ART) program to create university-wide programming that enables the rapid, low-cost translation of the science that local governments, community-based organizations, and local businesses need to support the development of sustainable, equitable, and climate-resilient communities. Drawing inspiration from the cooperative extension service, this project will establish a transformative new model for research translation; one that leverages the unique resources of higher education, in collaboration with community stakeholders, to support increasing resilience to climate change.

        This award will accelerate the translation of research into practice to create climate-ready communities throughout Virginia; establish and foster a culture of translating research through community engagement, technical assistance, and the co-production of research-informed products; and create a climate-ready workforce of scholars, practitioners, and leaders with the skills and expertise needed to put research on climate change into practice. These programs will be organized into three distinct but interrelated and integrated categories of activity: (a) facilitated and coordinated outreach and ongoing engagement with municipal and other community-based stakeholders; (b) community-focused research translation that is propelled by a modified lean launchpad program that supports the development of seed translational research projects (STRP); and (c) integrated training programs to create a climate-ready workforce.

        About the Position:

        The Community Engagement Specialist, Accelerating Research Translation (ART), works closely with the ART leadership team and the Institute for a Sustainable Earth (ISE) Associate Director for Strategic Engagement to strategically develop and maintain relationships with climate and resilience stakeholders from local governments, regional planning commissions, community-based organizations, and businesses across Virginia and facilitate their participation in the ART programs. The Community Engagement Specialist also supports the development and implementation of the ART programs that connect the university, faculty, and students with key stakeholders to put research into practice.


        • Serves as a point of contact for stakeholders interested in engaging in the ART programs; directs stakeholders to other ISE and VCC programs when needed;
        • Develops and maintains preliminary community profiles to inform future outreach;
        • Identifies and fosters strategic opportunities for external engagement and promotes ART programs with stakeholders across Virginia;
        • Works with faculty and partners, including the Center for Climate Strategies, to identify and recruit appropriate stakeholders for discovery interviews and secure stakeholder clients for participation in the STRP courses;
        • Identifies opportunities for and supports the co-design of experiential-learning activities (e.g. internships, capstone projects) for student participants with our external partners;
        • Develops an understanding of ISE, VCC, and ART-affiliated faculty and postdocs’ research and teaching interests and supports their engagement with external stakeholders participating in the ART programs; and
        • Performs other program-related tasks as needed.

        Required Qualifications:

        • Master’s degree in related field;
        • Demonstrated relevant experience in community engagement and/or partnership development (typically, at least 2 years);
        • Broad knowledge of climate or sustainability science and its role in policy and practice;
        • Outstanding interpersonal skills or social intelligence;
        • Demonstrated excellence in written and oral communication; and
        • Highly effective collaborator and team member.

        Preferred Qualifications:

        • Considerable relevant experience in community engagement and/or partnership development (typically 4+ years);
        • Experience working with climate and resilience stakeholders in Virginia;
        • Experience working to put research into action through public policy engagement and/or in commercial ecosystems;
        • Experience in a large, dispersed university environment;
        • Strong project management skills with experience managing multiple, simultaneous work streams;
        • Effective problem-solving and decision-making skills;
        • Demonstrates adaptability and resilience to change and complexity;
        • Ability to effectively coordinate and communicate with faculty, staff, administrators, sponsors, and stakeholders across multiple disciplines;
        • An understanding of policy and/or research translation processes; and
        • A strategic and creative innovator.

        Instructions to Applicants:

        For full consideration, applicants must apply for Community Engagement Specialist, Accelerating Research Translation (ART) at Complete and submit the online application to include three professional references with contact information, and provide a cover letter and resume.

        Posting Open Date: April 8, 2024

        For Full Consideration, Apply by: April 22, 2024

        Open Until Filled?: Yes

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