SCL Civic Science Fellowship

Join the Science Communication Lab (SCL) as a Civic Science Fellow to help us improve our understanding of the role of documentary film in engaging the public with science.

Role Summary

At a time when societal divides can further hinder opportunities for diverse publics to connect with and effectively understand, shape, and use the nature, knowledge, and practice of science, it is essential to explore avenues for communication that make science accessible, highlighting its human aspects and many interconnections to broader society. Documentary film is one of the most popular means by which the public engages with science. But for all of its power and reach, this form of science communication has been insufficiently studied, diminishing its potential effectiveness. This is true for understanding its ability to have an impact on society at large and its reach to specific audiences of interest, particularly ones traditionally excluded from or underserved by science and science communication.

The scale of work necessary to understand the current landscape for science documentaries and the potential for innovation in their production and distribution and audience engagement efforts is immense. With the opportunity to advance this meaningful work, the Civic Science Fellow will contribute to the crucial early stages of understanding science film’s potential through leading a project to provide a more complete and data-driven picture of the world of science filmmaking and audience engagement. This work will benefit people across sectors of civic science, including scientists looking to communicate with the public, filmmakers interested in telling the stories of science, and science communication researchers and other practitioners who want to further understand the power of this medium.

The SCL Civic Science Fellow is an excellent position for someone with experience and interests in science communication and/or education research and evaluation, public engagement, and other aspects of civic science. The Fellow will have the opportunity to work with diverse partners, including scientists, educators, and filmmakers, among others. In addition to joining SCL, the individual will be part of the Civic Science Fellows program, led by the Rita Allen Foundation. Civic Science Fellows benefit from a network of Fellows at other institutions and civic science professional development, including leadership skills, and mentoring.

Responsibilities and Requirements

Responsibilities include:

  • Design and implement a research project with the goal of better understanding science film as a communication medium in service of civic science goals.
  • Write a public report (potentially a scholarly manuscript) of the findings to contribute to the advancement of civic science scholarship.
  • Design and -- to the extent time permits -- implement a distribution plan for sharing this work with filmmakers, science communication researchers, and members of the scientific community through talks, webinars, and discussion sessions.

Position requirements:

  • Master’s degree (or similar level of knowledge) or higher degree in a social science, science communication, other science field, or related field.
  • Experience in literature reviews and synthesizing across diverse bodies of research or disciplines. Write a public report (potentially a scholarly manuscript) of the findings to contribute to the advancement of civic science scholarship.
  • Qualitative and quantitative data analysis experience.
  • Experience in an aspect of civic science (e.g., science outreach, public engagement, science communication, participatory-based science research).
  • Existing work or demonstrable interest in investigating emergent, anticipatory issues in science and technology with social, ethical, and/or economic import.
  • Willingness to integrate research and practice, e.g., the science of engagement, collaboration, and related areas of exploration.
  • Prepared to develop, independently manage, and execute at least one project with the potential to contribute new knowledge and innovative ideas to the civic science field and the host institution.
  • Experience working with different stakeholders, including scientists, communicators, filmmakers, and educators, among others, and especially those from communities that have traditionally been underrepresented in scientific fields, with a commitment to broadening benefits.
  • Experience in program or project management.
  • Strong written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Ability to work independently as well as in collaboration with an existing team juggling multiple deadlines.
  • Possess initiative, be entrepreneurial, and think strategically and long-term.

Fellowship Terms

This is an 18-month full-time salaried position, with a start date of early March 2024 and a planned end date no later than September 30, 2025. The fellowship salary will be $80,000 per year plus benefits. Limited funds are available for travel and professional development. Applicants must be eligible to work in the US. This position can be remote within the US.

To Apply

Applications for the SCL Civic Science Fellowship are now closed. Thank you for your interest in this position. We'll be contacting candidates whom we need more information from in the coming weeks.

About Science Communication Lab

The Science Communication Lab (SCL) is a leader in the production of high-quality documentary science content. Our feature-length films Human Nature and Picture A Scientist were both critically acclaimed and nominated for Emmy Awards. Our short films, produced with an NSF grant, are designed for reaching audiences with a range of scientific knowledge and feature a diversity of voices. Our organization was founded by scientists and we are determined to apply a scientific approach to our efforts. Consequently, we put as much effort into researching effective science communication through film, evaluating our work, and engaging the public with our films and findings as we do in creating the film products themselves.

SCL is an equal opportunity employer. We have policies against discrimination, including for in hiring, employment or promotion, on the basis of race, religion, color, sex/gender, gender identity and gender expression, age, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, citizenship, handicap or disability, veteran or military status, political belief, pregnancy, genetic information or any other characteristic protected by law.

About the Civic Science Fellows Program

The Civic Science Fellows program is building a network of leaders committed to ensuring that all people shape and benefit from science, technology, and innovation. The program brings together scientists, scholars, community leaders, journalists, educators, media producers, public-interest organizations, and funders to seed new collaborations between science, diverse communities, and civil society. Envisioned as a Civic Science Lab, Fellows and the organizations that host them carry out pioneering work to co-create pilots, partnerships, knowledge, models, and new ways of working. Fellows and partners engage as part of a network of learning and action that spans organizations, disciplines, and communities—a growing effort to catalyze civic science culture change.