Director of Government Relations & External Engagement

Boulder, Colorado
$150,000+ Benefits
November 25 2020
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
Job Type

Job Title: Director of Government Relations & External Engagement
Location: Boulder, Colorado. In light of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and restricted access to UCAR facilities, UCAR may allow temporary remote work arrangements for newly hired employees. Eventual relocation to UCAR facilities in Boulder, CO is required for this specific position.
Type: Full-time, Exempt
Application Deadline: This position will be posted until Sunday, December 27th, 2020.
Relocation: Relocation assistance is available for this position.
Work Authorization: UCAR/NCAR will not sponsor a work visa (e.g., J-1, H1-B, etc.) for this position.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and various UCAR Cooperative Programs (UCP) – all in service of advancing knowledge, providing community-based resources, and building human capacity in atmospheric and related sciences.

In the Office of Government Relations, we bring science to bear on the policy and legislative issues of the day, focusing on key investment priorities critical to our nation and planet, and advocating for the role of science in formulating weather, water, climate, space weather, and associated Earth system research policies. 

We serve the atmospheric and Earth system science community by:

  • highlighting the value and implications of our science for policy and legislative issues;
  • identifying and advocating for research priorities critical to our nation and planet;
  • acting as a neutral, fact-based voice on Earth system research policies;
  • helping scientists effectively engage in the policy process; and
  • building consensus for initiatives that enhance the community's success and standing in Washington.

What You Will Do: The Director of Government Relations & External Engagement leads the implementation of UCAR goals through the development of strategic partnerships with government and industry groups aligning with NCAR/UCAR mission and strategic priorities. This position is the primary organization contact and internal advisor for legislative and public policy matters; is UCAR’s liaison to and fosters relationships with key members of government and Earth system science affiliate groups to promote NCAR/UCAR and its university member interests; ensures appropriate NCAR/UCAR participation in government forums and Earth system science affiliate group meetings; and works with policymakers, leaders of government and affiliate industry councils and lobbyists to influence public policy, monitor government initiatives and advocate for specific plans to advance NCAR/UCAR’s interests in Earth system science. 

The Director of Government Relations & External Engagement reports to the UCAR President and coordinates closely with UCAR’s external advisory groups, board of trustees, and member universities. This position directs the work of UCAR’s advocacy consultants as well as oversees the efforts of the UCAR Business Development Senior Manager and will work closely with NCAR and UCAR Community Programs leadership to coordinate efforts on evolving government relation and engagement priorities. Close coordination and effective communication with UCAR Communications, Office of General Counsel, UCAR Corporate Governance as well as other teams within the UCAR President’s Office and the office of the SVP/COO is essential. 


Develop, manage, and implement organizational strategy for representing NCAR/UCAR’s interests to policy makers

  • Develop, manage, implement, and articulate the organization’s priorities, vision, and strategic direction through a comprehensive annual advocacy plan.
  • Ensure alignment of the organization's government relations efforts to NCAR strategic and implementation plans as well as UCAR Community Programs’ strategic priorities.
  • Provide UCAR leadership with timely information on the political landscape so as to enable strategic decision making. 
  • Provide regular reporting of federal budget, policy development, legislative and leadership information that could affect the Earth system science community.
  • Lead advocacy and legislative campaigns and other federal policy initiatives that advance UCAR’s/NCAR’s organizational imperatives and the priorities of the Earth system sciences community in Washington D.C.
  • Provide essential communication of federal budget, policy, legislative, and leadership news; policy event information; and other federal government information critical to the future of the organization and the Earth system science community. 
  • Manage, organize, implement, major legislative and policy advocacy campaigns on behalf of UCAR/NCAR and the community. 
  • Track deliverables and direct the efforts of contract advocacy partners. 

Communicate NCAR/UCAR’s strategic goals to Congress and other federal science partners.

  • Communicate particular science research and programmatic support activities performed by UCAR/NCAR and its university members.
  • Develop and communicate UCAR/NCAR’s institutional understanding of the political and policy environment 
  • Draft oral and written testimony and provide training for scientists and UCAR representatives giving testimony before Congress or other agencies.
  • Organize staff congressional visits for UCAR/member university staff
  • Provide timely, targeted, and continuous communication of UCAR/NCAR/UCP and the university community’s priorities and positions to policy and decision makers across the federal government (e.g. weekly targeted lobbying, Board of Trustees visits to federal officials, UCAR/NCAR leadership visits to federal officials, Congressional Visits Days).
  • Provide policy oriented education, communications training, and other opportunities for UCAR/NCAR scientific leadership and other Earth system scientists to be effectively engaged with the policy making process.
  • Accompany scientific leadership of UCAR/NCAR on official visits to federal, state and local government officials. 
  • Organize and direct annual briefings on cutting edge UCAR/NCAR scientific research to policymakers in Washington, D.C. 

Represent NCAR/UCAR interests in government, industry, and community stakeholder forums

  • Develop and maintain strategic relationships with key federal and state legislators, policy makers, trade organizations, and science agencies to increase UCAR’s presence in Washington D.C. (showcase UCAR/NCAR/UCAR Community Programs science and scientific research support)
  • Lead strategically targeted advocacy and relationship building within the federal budget process to develop, secure, and grow major sources of federal funding for UCAR/NCAR and the university research community (e.g. NSF, NOAA, OMB, Congressional appropriators).
  • Gather insight and information from federal agencies to facilitate strategic decision making and advocacy for UCAR/NCAR and the community.
  • Seek opportunities to introduce and elevate Earth system scientists to positions of policy and political influence (e.g. nominations to important boards and commissions).
  • Participate in general science education and community advocacy targeted towards federal and local decision makers thereby raising the profile of UCAR/NCAR within the Earth system science community and beyond (Congressional briefings, Climate Science Day on the Hill, Weather Day on the Hill).
  • Participate on behalf of UCAR in advocacy coalitions with community partners sharing a common strategy, including member universities, science associations, science advocacy organizations, local, state and regional governing organizations., private weather, water and climate businesses, Non-governmental organizations. 

Supervisory Responsibilities:

  • Supervise the efforts of the Business Development Senior Manager. 
  • Oversee and/or mentor up to two Public Policy Fellows.

What You Need:

Education and Years of Experience:

  • Master’s degree in business, public policy, or public administration or related field. At least 10 years of experience working with legislators and policy makers and the knowledge of the Earth system science community or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Background in science is preferred.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

●      Expert knowledge of science and technology policy in the Washington, D.C. environment. 

●      Advanced skill in working with congress and federal agencies. 

●      Advanced skill in working with private and public officials at local, state, national and international levels.

●      Advanced skill in marketing scientific concepts and ideas. 

●      Ability to find new targets of opportunity outside of the federal sector, including state and commercial sectors. 

●      Advanced skill in developing business and marketing strategies. 

●      Proven ability to communicate priorities clearly and effectively to a wide variety of stakeholders, both internal and external.

●      Proven ability to work effectively in an organization committed to respect for diversity and inclusion and the ability to model and champion those values among staff. 

●      Strong interpersonal skills, ability to motivate a team and work in a highly collaborative environment.

●      Up to 25% travel may be required.

Applicant Notes:

  • Pre-employment screenings and background checks are conducted in conjunction with an offer for employment into risk-based positions. This screening may involve verifying or reviewing any of the following relevant information: restricted parties screening, employment verification, education verification, reference checks, verification of professional licenses, certifications, and Motor Vehicle Records. Risk-based positions require pre-employment screening, a criminal background check, and Sex Offender Registry screening (for positions working with vulnerable populations). UCAR complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
  • An Inclusion Statement will be required for all candidates to submit in this job application. This statement should address past efforts, as well as future vision and plans to advocate for and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the organization and/or field of work.
  • A cover letter will be required for all applicants.
  • Please note that while the position description details both minimum requirements as well as desired skills and experience, we want to remind applicants that you do not need to have all the desired skills and experience to be considered for this role. If you have the passion for the work along with experience in a related field, you are encouraged to apply. We can provide on-the-job training for the rest.
  • The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action employer that strives to develop and maintain a diverse workforce. UCAR is committed to providing equal opportunity for all employees and applicants for employment and does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, creed, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or pregnancy.
  • Whatever your intersection of identities, you are welcome at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). We are committed to inclusivity and promoting an equitable environment that values and respects the uniqueness of all members of our organization.