The UCS Science Network is growing the capacity of advocates who believe in science as a means to solve pressing problems, support equity and justice, and build resilient communities. While taking action alone is undoubtedly important, taking action with other people magnifies the profile of your issues and increases your impact.
A core facet of being an effective leader is bringing people together as a team in meaningful action and building a collaborative community. Building this kind of team is hard work. We want to celebrate that learning space and recognize that leaders will have different experiences before and during the initiative. All types of growth and learning are encouraged.
This year-long leadership development opportunity aims for leaders to be trained in key advocacy skills, connected with fellow local advocates, and leading actions that deploy science to protect your community’s health, safety, and environment.
- Interested in launching a new group? Join as a “UCS Local Team”.
- Part of a preexisting group with its own identity? Join as an “Allied Group”.
Throughout the year you will have access to a wide range of UCS support and resources that you can take advantage of as needed:
Tools and trainings: three comprehensive trainings on developing leadership and campaign skills will be encouraged for all leaders, and additional webinars on topics relevant to local advocacy will be shared when available. Templates, additional readings, and take-home activities will help you apply these lessons and share them with your fellow team members.
Coaching: individual check-in calls with UCS staff up to one hour a month, as well as consistent email support, will be available for all leaders. One-on-one coaching is an effective way to gain personalized support, share successes, receive guidance, and troubleshoot challenges.
Action opportunities: action alert email updates will summarize the latest action opportunities related to shared interests between your group and UCS’s critical work and research. Twice a year, we will coordinate an “all hands on deck” National Action, with tools for local groups across the country to join forces around priority fights over issues of shared concern.
Network building: join an online community of other team leaders from across the country. Throughout the year we will share opportunities to learn and connect through video chats, calls, trainings, and in-person meetups. UCS will also help foster local connections with fellow scientists and science supporters in your area.
Funding and other resources: Your team will have access to apply for advocacy seed funds up to $400 to boost your work throughout the year, as well as the Science for Public Good Fund, with grants up to $1,000 to ignite creative local advocacy efforts. UCS staff are also proud to act as a referral for team leaders, and can provide examples for referencing this project on a resume or CV.
Expectations for participation
- Commit to minimum one-year involvement from your start date.
- Maintain ongoing communication with team members and UCS staff.
- Recruit at least five team members to actively work with you in your group.
- Design and lead a minimum of two local advocacy activities that protect the role of science in our democracy and align with UCS values.
- Participate in at least one team leader training per year on topics ranging from building a diverse and inclusive team to effective campaign planning.
- Lead team to participate in at least one UCS national action per year.
- Encourage leadership and engagement from team members in your local group meetings and activities.
The UCS team-based organizing initiative is designed to support scientists and experts like you in launching a new science advocacy group or increasing the skills and success of your existing group.
- The main point of contact for each team or allied group must be Science Network eligible in order to participate in this initiative.
- If you do not qualify for our Science Network (meaning you are working toward or have completed a Master’s degree or higher in the hard sciences, social sciences, or economics), you can join with other people in your community who are interested in building a local science advocacy team and are eligible, or connect with our Science Champions resources.
We welcome applicants with a range of experiences in advocacy and local organizing. Applicants are likely to be a good fit if they relate to the following:
- Familiarity with the purpose of advocacy work
- Interest in learning about how to advance science advocacy in their community
- Commitment to prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in advocacy work, and learning about integrating equity into practices
- Desire to increase the impact and effectiveness of group advocacy efforts
- Some previous experience in volunteer roles or leadership positions
- Interest in learning new skills and supporting others to learn new skills
- Openness to new ideas and perspectives
We ask you to fill out a short, in-depth application form to learn more about you, your group, and your advocacy goals. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
We will respond within two weeks of your application to notify you of the next steps. If you have any questions, please reach out to Hannah Silverfine.
As current or future leaders in your own communities, we want to support you in making even more meaningful differences locally and equipping you with the skills to bring others along with you!