Senior Officer, Science, Food Additives Campaign – Washington, DC

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Pew Health Group

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The Organization

The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improving public policy, informing the public and stimulating civic life. Based in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., Pew produces fact-based research and develops practical solutions to challenging issues.


The Pew Health Group

The Pew Health Group (PHG) seeks to improve the health and well being of all Americans. Based on research and critical analysis, the program advocates policies that reduce unacceptable health risk, focusing on areas that include consumer, medical and consumer product safety.


Food Additives Initiative

The PHG food additives initiative reviews the available scientific evidence on whether or not chemical additives to our food supply have substantial health risks, and seeks to evaluate whether current regulatory oversight is scientifically based and adequate to protect the public.  The project assesses policy solutions to address these concerns, and uses public education, nonpartisan research and other activities to further the objective of improving the scientific foundation for food additive regulatory policies.


Position Overview

This position, based in Pew’s Washington, D.C. office, will report to the director of the Food Additives Project. The director, Science, will be responsible for researching and drafting key scientific papers, and overseeing the drafting of scientific papers by contractors. The director also will be responsible in part for selecting, vetting, and working closely with the Task Force on Food Additives members, and for overseeing peer reviews of all papers. The director will also present science (along with authors) to the Task Force, agencies, Congressional staff, media, potential allies, and others, and oversee all scientific aspects of the project. Once the project is up and running, starting in late 2010 the director may spend up to 50% of his/her time working on other Pew Health Group projects. The position is funded through December, 2012, with the possibility of renewal depending on the initiative’s progress, board approval and continued funding.


The director will help design and implement research and analysis for the project, coordinate convenings, manage special projects, maintain internal and external communications and support other programmatic investments and budget activities.  The director may also undertake special projects aimed at improving the overall operation of the project and other projects in the PHG portfolio. 


  • Under the direction of the project director, develop, research and draft scientific reports, press releases and other products that are highly relevant to policy deliberations and easily understood by the public, media and policymakers.  Edit and proof draft documents for accuracy. 
  • Oversee the drafting of scientific papers by contractors.
  • Under the direction of the project director, assist in selecting, vetting, and working closely with Task Force on Food Additives members.
  • Oversee peer reviews of all papers.
  • Present science (along with authors) to the Task Force, agencies, Congressional staff, media, potential allies, and others, and oversee all scientific aspects of the project.
  • Assist program staff in processing contracts and subgrants for the food additive project and other projects in PHG’s portfolio.  Help ensure that contracts and subgrants to be submitted to the managing director and president are complete, accurate and timely. 
  • Collect and analyze data on food additive issues to support an interactive website targeted to policy makers and interested segments of the public. 
  • Work with the project director to facilitate and coordinate administrative aspects of food additive and other projects in the PHG portfolio, such as budgets, shared files, annual program plans, staff meetings and project public forums and convenings.  
  • Ensure that internal and external audiences are kept apprised of project updates through informal newsletters, mailings and other vehicles.
  • Develop and maintain an informed awareness of topics of interest in the PHG portfolio in order to most effectively carry out all of the activities listed above and participate in special research projects.
  • Contribute to and participate in tasks of project and PHG as assigned, as well as broader Pew-wide projects and/or committees as needed.


  • Advanced degree in medicine or science (an MD or Ph.D.).
  • Four to eight years of relevant professional experience, including demonstrated research, analytical and writing skills.  Experience in public policy preferred.
  • Experience writing clear and cogent materials that synthesize scientific and policy issues for internal audiences, policy makers, the media and public. 
  • Experience synthesizing and summarizing large amounts of information focusing quickly on the essence of an issue, as well as identifying, understanding and synthesizing different policy perspectives.
  • Experience working with academics, nonprofits and other entities conducting research and policy analysis, helping ensure the results are rigorous, policy relevant and timely and are communicated clearly and persuasively to target audiences.
  • Strong systems skills including Microsoft office products required; database and online research applications preferred. 
  • Ability to work professionally and collegially within a creative, fast-paced corporate culture that emphasizes excellence and teamwork.
  • Demonstrated time- and project-management skills, including an ability to meet multiple deadlines by maintaining a high level of organization.  Ability to set priorities and identify resources.
  • Ability to work independently with limited supervision.  Flexible and able to routinely juggle multiple competing priorities and work in teams of both support and senior staff to meet project goals.



Minimal overnight travel for occasional meetings and conferences.




Pew is an equal opportunity employer.

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