Dana-CNLM Civic Science Fellowship

Applications now open!


Aligned with the mission of the University of California, Irvine Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (UCI CNLM) to engage in science that benefits society and reflects societal needs, we are seeking a Civic Science Fellow in partnership with the Rita Allen Foundation and the Dana Foundation. The aim of the Civic Science Fellow’s work will be to explore the ethical and societal implications of sleep neuroscience in partnership with the Santa Ana community.

The Fellow will be funded by the Dana Foundation and will participate as a member of the 2024-25 cohort of the Rita Allen Foundation’s Civic Science Lab, where they will engage with other Fellows in a learning program and community. During training, the Fellow will co-create projects, partnerships, knowledge, and models that promote bidirectional engagement between science and society. Their focus will be on advancing understanding and building inclusive civic science partnerships, particularly with marginalized communities, and sharing this knowledge broadly. The Fellow will work with diverse partners including scientists, communicators, community leaders, and organizations to strengthen bidirectional relationships between UCI and the community, advancing justice, equity, and inclusion in science.

The Civic Science Fellow will report to Dr. Manuella Oliveira Yassa, the UCI CNLM Director of Outreach and Education, and collaborate with an interdisciplinary team. Their work will bridge sleep neuroscience research at the CNLM and society, with a specific emphasis on fostering trust and enabling bidirectional engagement with the Santa Ana community, which consists of 76% Hispanic individuals and shares strong existing partnerships with UCI. The Fellow will engage with a network of thought partners, mentors, and collaborators at UCI and in the community to design and implement evidence-based methods for exploring these issues.

Responsibilities and Requirements

Support Implementation of CNLM’s Civic Science Initiative (75%)

  • With the CNLM team, design, plan, and execute an 18-month project that will explore the ethical and societal implications of sleep neuroscience in partnership with the Santa Ana community.
  • Effectively and respectfully engage with individuals from communities that have historically been underrepresented in scientific fields, with a commitment to broaden the benefits of science.
  • Develop qualitative and quantitative evaluation tools and metrics to measure the impact of the Fellow’s effort on various stakeholder groups.
  • Participate in workshops and conferences to present as a Civic Science Fellow.
  • Contribute to publications related to their work as a Civic Science Fellow.
  • Write public reports of their findings to diverse audiences to contribute to the advancement of civic science scholarship.
  • Integrate research and practice (science of engagement, collaboration, and related areas of exploration).

Cohort Participation (25%)

The Civic Science Fellow will participate in the 2024-25 cohort of Civic Science Fellows, a program led by the Rita Allen Foundation. The Civic Science Fellows are emerging leaders from diverse demographic, cultural, and professional backgrounds. They are thought leaders, bridge builders, change agents, and communicators working to learn about community priorities and scientific research and bring those worlds together on equal footing to create fundamentally new ways of solving problems. The Fellows spend 18 months experimenting with new evidence-based approaches in science communication and community engagement to co-create strong, diverse, and inclusive connections between science and civic life. Fellows are also provided with dedicated project and career development support and a wide range of networking and learning opportunities, through their participation in the cohort.

Experience and Skills Required

  • Advanced degree preferred.
  • Background in neuroscience or neuroscience-related discipline.
  • Background relevant to civic science, including (but not limited to) experience in biological, or social science, media, journalism, communications, arts, formal or informal science learning, community organizing, community-engaged scholarship, public policy.
  • Existing work or demonstrable interest in investigating the emergent, anticipatory issues in science and technology with social, ethical, and/or economic importance.
  • Experience and/or willingness to integrate research and practice.
  • Bilingual spoken and written proficiency in English and Spanish as the Fellow’s work will engage primarily Spanish speaking community members.
  • Experience in quantitative and qualitative research and data analysis.
  • Proficiency in software for quantitative and qualitative data analysis and data visualization.
  • Demonstrated ability to interpret quantitative and qualitative data sets using statistical tools.
  • Exceptional written and public speaking skills and the ability to prepare reports and presentations to various stakeholders. Particularly important is the ability to communicate scientific information effectively with expert andlay audiences.
  • Experience in community engagement, particularly with marginalized communities.
  • Strong written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team with multiple deadlines and responsibilities.
  • Demonstrated ability to build strong relationships with teammates and various stakeholders, including scientists, community and organizational leaders, and community members.
  • Initiative to develop, independently manage, and execute projects with potential to contribute new knowledge and innovative ideas to the civic science field, the university, and the community.

Fellowship Terms

This is an 18-month contracted position, with a start date of March 1, 2024, and a planned end date of August 31, 2025. $85,000/year salary plus UCI Postdoctoral Fellow benefits.

Application Process

Interested candidates can learn more and apply at cnlm.uci.edu/civicscience. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. If it is determined that you might be a good fit for the role, we will contact you with next steps. If you need assistance or accommodations in the application process due to a disability, please contact us at memory@uci.edu or (949) 824-5193. The hiring process will include interviews which will take place remotely.

Supporting Partners

The Dana Foundation advances neuroscience that benefits society and reflects the aspirations of all people. By exploring connections between neuroscience and society’s challenges and opportunities, the Foundation works to maximize the potential of the field to do good.

Learn more about the Dana Foundation at dana.org

The Rita Allen Civic Science Fellows program is building a network of leaders committed to ensuring that all people shape and benefit from science, technology, and innovation. The program brings together scientists, scholars, community leaders, journalists, educators, media producers, public-interest organizations, and funders to seed new collaborations between science, diverse communities, and civil society. Envisioned as a Civic Science Lab, Fellows and the organizations that host them carry out pioneering work to co-create pilots, partnerships, knowledge, models, and new ways of working. Fellows and partners engage as part of a network of learning and action that spans organizations, disciplines, and communities—a growing effort to catalyze civic science culture change.

Learn more about the Rita Allen Foundation Civic Science Fellowship Program at ritaallen.org/civic-science/fell