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2024-193 Director, Ocean Plastics Science


Ocean Conservancy works to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create evidence-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it.


The Director, Ocean Plastics Science leads Ocean Conservancy’s efforts to advance policy-relevant research on ocean plastics, microplastics and plastic pollution. The Director, Ocean Plastics Science reports to the Vice President of Conservation, Ocean Plastics (VP) and works closely with the Chief Scientist, to oversee our portfolio of ocean plastics and microplastics research initiatives. They will supervise team members, research consultants, and academic partners working on ocean plastics research and oversee logistics relating to internal program management. In partnership with Resource Development, the Director, Ocean Plastics Science plays a key role in securing sustainable funding and maintaining funder relationships in support of our ocean plastics research. A major component of the position includes serving as Ocean Conservancy’s subject matter expert on ocean plastics among diverse media outlets, policy makers and the public.


  • Drives the development and implementation of Ocean Conservancy’s ocean plastics science strategy focused on policy-relevant science to inform solutions.
  • Represents Ocean Conservancy at key ocean science, policy and other convenings by presenting on ocean plastics science and the Trash Free Seas® (TFS) portfolio of evidence-based solutions.
  • Leads research team to conduct primary research on ocean plastics and publish findings in the peer-reviewed literature.
  • Collaborate and manage research partnerships with leading scientists, academic research institutions and/or consultants to advance scientific insights and conservation outcomes in a manner that are environmentally and socially just.
  • Leads coordination with communications department staff to communicate ocean plastics science in a variety of formats including blogs, action alerts, comment letters to federal or state agencies and peer reviewed publications.
  • Cultivates and fosters partnerships (in collaboration with resource development) with the governmental, philanthropic, and corporate funding community to support the ocean plastics work and broader TFS program.
  • Supervises work and performance of the Manager, Ocean Plastics Research and at least three outside consultants.
  • Works collaboratively with Chief Scientist and broader Ocean Conservancy Science team to explore frontiers in ocean research.
  • Works with Resource Development and Finance department to ensure timely and efficient completion of all financial and administrative matters, including program budgets, tracking and reporting of financials, funder proposals/reports and work plans.
  • Tracks monthly financial statements and helps prepare annual program budget.


  • Five to ten years of professional or scientific experience; prior research on ocean plastics highly desirable.
  • In-depth knowledge of marine/coastal ecosystems, human impacts and threats to oceans/coasts, and ecosystem protection and management.
  • Demonstrated project management skills, including the ability to lead or participate in activities and projects that include diverse stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with diverse teams; integrate across disciplines; and work collaboratively with a wide variety of stakeholders and communicate about complex science.
  • A high-level performer who remains attentive to details and adheres strictly to deadlines and deliverables while keeping a larger vision in mind.
  • Demonstrated ability to distill and effectively communicate substance of scientifically complex issues to stakeholders, the public and the media; pproficient in science communication to cross-sector audiences.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication (written and oral) with past success in leveraging scientific research to inform/influence policy change and/or political will.
  • Proven multi-tasking skills with the ability to see the big picture and remain attentive to details, deadlines, and deliverables.
  • Highly responsive and collaborative with an appreciation of the benefit of a multi-disciplinary team approach; willing to take on a variety of tasks to further the program goals.


  • Advanced degree in a relevant scientific discipline such as marine science, oceanography, marine resource management.


Ocean Conservancy is committed to equity in its pay practices and posts expected salary ranges for each of its positions. Compensation will be commensurate with the candidate’s specialty skills, years of experience, location, and unique background. The expected salary range is $101,210 to $148,844. We would welcome the opportunity to connect with potential candidates whose salary requirements may be outside of the expected range.


If you think you’d be a great fit for the job and are interested in joining Ocean Conservancy’s team, please apply here.


Ocean Conservancy embraces a hybrid work environment, which allows our staff the flexibility to work virtually and in-person while building strong connections across the institution.

Equal Opportunity Employer

Ocean Conservancy provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

We encourage applicants who have a diverse level and range of relevant skills and experiences to apply. A 100% match is not required. We want to support employees’ career growth and in return, our employees help Ocean Conservancy grow into a stronger, more inclusive organization.


Candidates located in the following states will be considered: AK, CA, DC, FL, MD, OR, TX, VA, WA, WV



Reports To

Vice President of Conservation, Ocean Plastics


Full Time

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