Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.

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Staff Scientist - Health & Environment Program

Staff Scientist - Health & Environment Program

Job ID 
# of Openings 
Job Locations 
US-CA-San Francisco
Posted Date 
Health Program [307000]

More information about this job


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is one of the nation's most effective environmental action organizations. We use law, science and the support of 2.4 million members and online activists to protect human health as well as the planet's wildlife and wild places. Our staff of close to 500 lawyers, scientists and policy experts work out of offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing. For more than two decades, NRDC has been leading the scientific charge to reduce exposures to toxic chemicals that cause disease. NRDC’s efforts have resulted in major reductions in diesel emissions from school buses and trucks, critical legislation to limit mercury pollution, removal of some of the most toxic pesticides from the market, bans of endocrine disrupting chemicals in toys, and promotion of sustainable agricultural practices. Health and Environment Program scientists, lawyers, and advocates investigate the largest sources of toxic contaminants, identify safer alternatives, and then deploy their unique skills to pressures regulators, legislators, the courts, and businesses to reduce emissions of harmful pollution.


Position Summary:


NRDC seeks a scientist (PhD, MD, DrPH, ScD, etc. preferred) to join the Health and Environment Program. The individual in this position serves as a scientific expert and policy advocate on issues related to the impact of toxic chemical exposures on human health. Work is focused on improvement of government regulation and policy, litigation, and legislation, as well as changes in products sold in the private sector. The work entails occasional travel to Sacramento, CA and Washington D.C.


  • Provide scientific and technical expertise and data analyses and advocacy to reform the regulation and oversight of toxic chemicals through:

-  State and federal legislation, administrative regulation and policy

    consumer campaigns, and litigation.

  • Work to ensure the safety of consumer products and food, via policy-relevant research, oversight of government policy and legislative efforts, market transformation, and consumer education.
  • Identify new advocacy issues and opportunities based on emerging scientific research and/or contaminants of concern. Promote improved strategies for the use of biomonitoring and risk assessment in chemicals policy.
  • Develop and strengthen NRDC relationships with scientists and experts in the fields of environmental health, toxicology, exposure assessment, risk assessment, community-based research, and environmental justice to utilize relevant information for policy, advocacy and legal work.
  • Potentially manage physician and undergraduate, master’s level, and pre-doctoral student internships at NRDC.
  • Create clear and compelling written and visual communications to scientists, policymakers and the general public, including blogs, fact sheets, comments for public hearings, reports and presentations.
  • Serve as a general environmental health policy expert, advocate, and spokesperson as needed for the Health program and other programs in the institution.
  • Participate in fundraising activities including meeting with donors and foundation staff, speaking at donor events, and contributing to proposals and reports to funders.


  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills.
  • Ability to work with other environmental, health-affected and community groups and people from a wide array of cultures, backgrounds and scientific and technical understanding.
  • Ability to keep current on scientific research relevant to responsibilities of this position.
  • Superior analytical skills and attention to details, such as would be required to review and critically comment on a risk assessment or similar technical report.
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively in teams and interest in working with lawyers and policy advocates to critically review and draft regulatory language, legislation, or other policies.
  • Careful project management skills and the ability to meet deadlines and demands for numerous projects in a fast-paced environment.
  • Demonstrated commitment to nonprofit/public interest advocacy and environmental public health.
  • Demonstrated sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds and orientations.
  • Commitment to building and maintaining a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work culture.
  • A minimum of two years of experience in a related field.
  • Experience in applying science to policy decision-making highly desirable.
  • Preferences for doctorate, or equivalent degree, in medicine, public health, toxicology, or a related field. Candidates with master’s degree and significant experience may also be considered.


NRDC is committed to workplace diversity and inclusion. We are equal opportunity employers and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a pleasant working environment. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale and commensurate with experience.


To apply, please visit and upload your application materials through our online portal. Your application materials should include a cover letter, resume and writing sample. Please no phone calls, emails, faxes or in-person resume drop-offs. Please reference where you saw this posting. NRDC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


For further information about NRDC, please visit Our Home Page and Environment and Health Page.