Chief Scientific Officer – Gulf of Maine Research Institute


The Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) is an independent marine research, education, and community institution located in Portland, Maine. We pioneer collaborative solutions to global ocean challenges. We investigate dynamic ocean systems, from marine life to environmental conditions to coastal economies. We leverage our regional significance as a testbed for adapting to environmental change. We are dedicated to the resilience of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and the communities that depend on it.

The Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at GMRI will lead a multidisciplinary team of world-class scientists conducting marine research to better understand and steward the Gulf of Maine ecosystem—from its physical dynamics to its human communities. The CSO will apply a systems approach to develop scientific priorities, conduct research, pioneer collaborative solutions to global ocean challenges, and help shape the conversation around climate change and ecosystem sustainability at the local, national, and international levels. Equally important, the successful candidate will be joining an entrepreneurial and energetic management team that embraces a collegial and collaborative culture around strategic planning, organizational policy development, and decision-making, and strives to achieve applied solutions and knowledge transfer through innovative, out of the box thinking.

Roles and Responsibilities:

1. Lead a team of world-class scientists conducting marine research to better understand and steward the Gulf of Maine ecosystem—from its physical dynamics to human communities. Key activities include:

  • Advance GMRI’s scientific excellence and leadership in the Gulf of Maine, national, and international arenas
  • Develop scientific priorities in response to emerging marine resource and environmental challenges and opportunities, and in alignment with the mission and strategic plan of the organization
  • Work with others to guarantee long-term stability of Research department budget and to develop and secure GMRI’s scientific funding base
  • Support, guide, and lead large-scale proposals that foster interdisciplinary collaboration across GMRI and with external collaborators
  • Provide oversight to the Oceans Data Products team and their use of innovative techniques and technology to leverage complex information data and develop products for decision-makers
  • Nurture a stimulating, productive, and safe environment for Research department through direct supervision of senior scientists and research management staff, mentoring, and department budget oversight
  • Work closely with the leads of GMRI’s other core program areas (Education and Community) and cross-cutting programs (Climate Center and Business Development) to deepen program impact and ensure synergy with Research team activities

2. Lead an active personal research program that is relevant and impactful in the Gulf of Maine bioregion and beyond, and that contributes to GMRI strategy. Key activities include:

  • Maintain an active research lab in appropriate balance with CSO duties
  • Publish high-impact scientific research
  • Communicate research results to scientific, management, and general audiences through peer-reviewed papers, presentations, and other media
  • Serve in leadership capacities on local, state, regional, national, and international scientific councils in the ocean/climate/fisheries domains

3. Contribute to the creative leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, and collaborative environment of a strong, evolving nonprofit entity. Key activities include:

  • Serve as member of GMRI Management team and, in that capacity, help lead the design and achievement of GMRI’s intended impact and strategy
  • Provide broad direction to and oversight of GMRI’s evolving strategic plan from a research perspective
  • Champion and model strategies to build diversity on GMRI’s research team, across our staff, and in the sciences more broadly, and to promote equity in who participates in and benefits from our work
  • Contribute to organizational policy and decision-making to support overall fiscal health and sustainability of the organization
  • Drive innovation by encouraging out of the box thinking to achieve applied solutions and knowledge transfer
  • Work with Development team to communicate Research team’s ongoing work and cultivate and steward key donors (private foundations, individuals, corporations) giving to both GMRI’s science capacity and general operations

4. Represent GMRI and its research programs externally to share knowledge, leverage relationships, and increase impact. 

Key activities include:

  • Work with Communications team to represent GMRI research activities to the general public and interpret science for a broad range of constituencies
  • Work with Chief Community Officer and Climate Center Director to contribute to regional climate science/fisheries discussions and decision-making
  • Report on research to GMRI Board of Directors and Science Advisory Committee

CSO Position Profile Requirements

GMRI is searching for candidates with vision, deep expertise, and demonstrated leadership capability to lead GMRI’s Research Team and share leadership of our entire organization during a period of enormous challenge and opportunity. Required qualifications include:

  • Ph.D. in relevant natural or social and behavioral sciences, and at least 10 years of postgraduate research experience; and
  • Distinguished record of research leadership, including experience building a successful research program, leading multidisciplinary research teams, recruiting and mentoring scientific and research staff, successful grant writing, and significant scientific achievement.

Additional preferred qualifications include:

  • Demonstrated transdisciplinary experience taking a systems approach to understand and address complex challenges and opportunities;
  • Experience operating effectively at the science/policy interface;
  • Experience communicating complex scientific information to a variety of technical and lay audiences, including media; and
  • Ability to provide organizational leadership, interact with research/administrative personnel in a leadership role and build consensus.

The final candidate may have the literal qualifications summarized above or an eclectic background that provides the insight, leadership, entrepreneurial bent, and management, communication, organizational skills required to excel in this position.

Diversity and Inclusion:

Gulf of Maine Research Institute has a long-standing policy and commitment to providing equal access and equal employment opportunities in all terms, conditions, processes, and benefits of employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status. GMRI’s employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status.

Applicants and employees are encouraged to voluntarily self-identify their race/ethnicity, gender, disability status and veteran status to assist GMRI in fulfilling various data reporting requirements of the federal government. This self-identification is completely voluntary, will be kept strictly confidential and separate from your application data, and used only to meet federal reporting requirements. Providing or declining to provide this information will not result in adverse action of any kind.

Salary and Benefits:

Gulf of Maine Research Institute offers a competitive salary and benefits package.

Application Instructions:

All applications must be accompanied by a cover letter and résumé. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the successful candidate has been selected.

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