Key Details

Location: Fully remote, with ability to communicate regularly across Central European to US Pacific time zones, as well as occasional global engagement

Hours per week (average): 40 hours, generally available 9am-5pm local time. Some early morning, evening, and weekend hours may be necessary. Occasional post-pandemic travel to meetings, conferences, etc. (estimated at 3-4 trips per year).

Term: 2 years, beginning in September, 2021

Overtime Status: Exempt

Compensation: $80,000/year salary plus a comprehensive benefits package that includes 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance, an employer match on 401(k) contributions, and paid holidays, vacation, sick, and volunteer time off.

Civic Science Fellows Program Background

A network of partners has developed the Civic Science Fellows Program to catalyze widespread, inclusive engagement with science and its societal implications. The program embeds emerging leaders from diverse backgrounds in highly networked organizations that engage at the many interfaces of civic science, where science and society intersect. Together, we seek to build new connections and structures to ensure that science is an inclusive, accessible space for public problem-solving and discovery.

Civic Science Fellows are hosted by organizations and networks working to forge civic science opportunities with diverse communities. They include community, media, scientific, and philanthropic organizations. Host partners work with fellows so they may actively contribute to the intellectual life and work of these organizations, while advancing understanding and action across networks as well.

Position Background

The ORFG is seeking a fellow to help develop, launch, and oversee an Open & Equitable Model Funding Program to address inequities in the research community.  The ORFG has come to the belated realization that we need to be much more actively engaged in building a just, inclusive world.  Given our remit, we aspire to leverage open research practices to create a more transparent, welcoming, and collaborative research ecosystem. This has the potential to close knowledge gaps and level the playing field for researchers around the world. Paywalls and siloed systems serve as barriers between the “haves” and the “have-nots” in the research community. This wall often presents itself at the first point of exploration, limiting the potential audience to well-funded researchers with strong professional networks and robust institution-sponsored subscriptions, excluding many who might bring new and differing perspectives to the research process.  Open activities can be a necessary, though by no means sufficient, tool to lower these barriers.

In 2020, the ORFG launched an Equity & Open Science Working Group, which includes representatives from five ORFG members, as well as seven scholars, scientists, and activists working at the intersection of open research and marginalized communities.  The working group has determined that to rapidly and visibly champion a more equitable and open research environment, philanthropies should leverage the best asset they bring to the research conversation – their grantmaking capabilities. The ORFG, in collaboration with the Health Research Alliance, has created the rough framework of an Open & Equitable Model Funding Program, co-created from the ground up with traditionally underrepresented communities and based on principles of equity, social justice, and open research.

Recognizing that the potential for bias and inequity exists across the entire grantmaking life cycle, the Open & Equitable Model Funding Program will pilot interventions across all the steps of program development (beginning with RFA development and eligibility criteria), guidance for applicants, application review (including but not limited to the selection and training of reviewers), implementing enhancements to the program (mentoring, advocacy, professional development, etc.), to the evaluation of the success of the awardees (using metrics that measure open research practices, for instance, not simply journal impact factors) and finally dissemination of the evaluation of the programs piloted by the cohort.

The ORFG, in conjunction with the Health Research Alliance, intends to fully develop the Open & Equitable Model Funding Program.  Central to the success of the program will be the development of a funder cohort to co-create and test the model.  We envision a group of four to eight philanthropies that engage with the working group to hone the model program, tailor it to their communities, and, ultimately, to launch at least one funding call based on the enumerated principles.  Using this community of practice model, the participants will learn from each other and develop a shared set of results that will ultimately further strengthen the model program.  As befits an open research project, the working group and the cohort will co-develop methods to disseminate their findings so that funders, researchers, and engaged citizens alike can benefit from the project. Ultimately, we hope to develop a series of cohorts as the first steps to inculcating the program’s tenets across a range of funder programs.

Position Summary

The ORFG Civic Science Fellow will serve as the project lead for the Open & Equitable Model Funding Program. In collaboration with ORFG and HRA leadership, as well as an external advisory board, the fellow will build off the efforts of the Equity & Open Science Working Group to identify opportunities for intervention within a typical funding program. The fellow will analyze each of these opportunities and suggest strategies for optimizing them in ways that increase both openness and equity. Once a “Model Funding Program playbook” has been developed, the fellow will work with ORFG and HRA leadership, as well as the external advisory board and Working Group, to recruit philanthropies willing to test the Model Funding Program. The fellow will convene this cohort, anticipated to include four to eight philanthropies, to hone the playbook and move it from the theoretical to the applied. This will include leading regular group discussions and one-on-one meetings; developing general and bespoke resources for cohort members, their leadership, and prospective grantees; rapidly convening subgroups to address unforeseen issues with the Model Funding Program’s rollout and ongoing operations; and generally maintaining day-to-day oversight of the project. Additionally, the fellow will coordinate the training of Model Funding Program grant proposal reviewers in conjunction with project partner PREreview, with the fellow providing operational support to PREreview’s functional expertise.


At the conclusion of the fellowship, the fellow will be responsible for at least the following deliverables:

  1.  Playbook for Open & Equitable Funding Programs. The project will identify and road-test a series of interventions across the grantmaking lifecycle that are intended to fundamentally improve the transparency and inclusivity of the funding process.  Drawing on the experiences of the initial cohort, the fellow will create an annotated guidebook that assists philanthropies as they seek to assess the best way to implement all or part of this program in the future.  Specific aspects of the playbook may include an examination of key decision points during the design, implementation, and oversight phases; resources to address outstanding questions; and ways to assess program efficacy.

  2. Community of Practice Assessment.  Philanthropies that adapt and adopt the model funding program may benefit from ongoing engagement with their peers.  This will help them address grantee questions, operational oversight challenges, and other shared considerations.  It may also make cross-funder assessment of the program’s successes and challenges, as well as its suitability for other funders to adapt, easier.  The fellow will assess the extent to which this engagement would benefit from formal or informal structure, as well as the most efficient way to carry this work forward after the conclusion of the grant.

  3. Grant Reviewer Training Guide.  As a core component of the project, PREreview will train a heterogeneous cohort of grant reviewers to incorporate a nontraditional range of considerations into their evaluations.  A byproduct of this effort will be the creation of a more diverse, socially conscious, and well-trained pool of grant reviewers.  This can potentially pay dividends for funding programs beyond the relatively narrow band of the Open & Equitable cohort.  The fellow will collaborate  with PREreview to articulate some lessons learned from this aspect of the project that can be generalized to improve the diversity and quality of grant reviews across an array of funding programs.

As part of the larger Civic Science Fellows network, it is expected that the fellow will spend approximately 25% of their time (~10 hours/week) on shared learning and networking activities outside of their direct work with the ORFG, including periodic convenings.  Additionally, the fellow will agree to attend, as possible, periodic remote learning and networking opportunities and video conferences and, if deemed possible and safe, an eventual in-person convening.

Required Education, Experience, Knowledge, Skills and Ability

  • Deep knowledge of the research ecosystem, preferably with direct experience working with philanthropies, universities, and/or government agencies

  • Direct engagement with open science, open access, open data, and/or research infrastructure projects

  • Demonstrated experience with diversity, equity and inclusion concepts, and the ability to articulate such concepts to enhance others’ understanding

  • Proven track record of success engaging with underrepresented groups

Valued and Non-Essential Education, Experience, Knowledge, Skills and Ability

  • Demonstrated understanding of cultural values and norms of various communities, particularly of traditionally marginalized communities of color

  • Demonstrated track record in challenging and influencing peers to approach all work with an equity lens

  • Sensitivity toward and understanding of specific barriers that may lead to lack of access and engagement

  • Experience in coalition building

  • Background of managing change throughout a distributed system of entities and teams

How to Apply

Complete the online application by July 28, 2021.

Hiring Statement

The Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) is an initiative of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), which is a project of New Venture Fund (NVF), a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. NVF is committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and enables each of us to realize our potential. NVF’s work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and all other classifications protected by law in the locality and/or state in which you are working.