Project Director on Race, Genetics, and Society, Center for Genetics and Society, Berkeley, CA

Project Director on Race, Genetics, and Society
Center for Genetics and Society, Berkeley, CA

$65,000 with health insurance for fellow August 1 or September 1, 2016


For 15 years, the Center for Genetics and Society (CGS) has led the way in public interest efforts to reclaim human biotechnologies for the common good. We bring a social justice, human rights, and public interest perspective to our work on human genetic and assisted reproductive technologies and practices, supporting those that are beneficial and opposing those that threaten to exacerbate inequality, discrimination, and conflict.

CGS is a nonprofit organization based in Berkeley, CA, and is fiscally sponsored by the Tides Center. We work with a growing network of scholars across a range of disciplines; with scientists, health professionals, legal experts, and policy analysts; and with advocates across a range of civil society sectors (reproductive health, rights, and justice; racial justice; disability rights; environmentalism; and others). Our work includes building collaborative relationships within this network, a comprehensive communications program, policy advocacy, and advocacy-oriented research. For more information, visit


The Project Director on Race, Genetics, and Society will plan, coordinate, and implement CGS’s programmatic work related to the impacts of genetic research, technologies, products, and services on social understandings of race and on racial justice, with the goal of tracking and contesting the re- emergence of race as biological rather than sociopolitical category. The work will focus on the use of racial categories in genetic research, the disproportionate consequences of forensic DNA databases and practices for communities of color, and the emergence of commercial products (for example, race-specific pharmaceuticals) and services (for example, ancestry tests) that claim to link genetics and race. The Project Director will work with staff, fellows, interns, and colleagues, and report to the Executive Director.

Responsibilities include:

  • Researching and writing articles, commentaries, blog posts, and social media posts on topics concerning race and genetics, and related topics;
  • Developing systems for monitoring and analyzing research studies and commercial products and services that make claims about race as a biological category;
  • Representing CGS and speaking at briefings, conferences, and other venues on issues concerning race and genetics, and related issues;
  • Participating in other CGS program work, including organizational strategic planning; and
  • Building and strengthening CGS’s relationships with advocates in racial justice and other public interest organizations (civil liberties, reproductive justice, LGBTQ rights, disability rights, human rights, environmental justice), and with scholars and scientists working on these topics.

Specific activities may include:

  • Managing the development and implementation of a website on race and genetics that will provide accessible explanations of the assertion that racial categories are socially constructed, in collaboration with a CGS colleague and others in CGS’s network of scholars and public interest advocates;
  • Working with CGS’s Senior Fellow and staff on a book project to investigate misuses and abuses of DNA forensics in the criminal justice system;
  • Working with CGS’s Senior Fellow and staff to plan and convene a meeting of scholars and advocates about a communications strategy to raise awareness about misuses of racial categories in genetic research, and the resurgence of biological and genetic definitions of race, building on the June 2015 working meeting, “Critical Theory and Scientific Methods;”
  • Writing press statements and speaking with reporters about news developments related to race and genetics; and
  • Supervising intern(s).



  • PhD in the humanities or humanistic social sciences;
  • Commitment to social justice, racial justice, and the public interest ;
  • Familiarity with the social and policy implications of human genetic technologies, and basic scientific understanding of them;
  • Ability to work with a fast-paced team within CGS and to collaborate across organizations; to develop relationships with key scholars and advocates in social justice and public interest fields; to take initiative; and to manage multiple priorities;
  • Excellent research, writing, and editing skills; and
  • Willingness to do some state, national, and international travel, up to a maximum of 10% of work time (about two days per month).


  • Aptitude for addressing cutting-edge complex political and intellectual challenges, and for strategic thinking about translating new challenges into organizing activities and programs;
  • Flair for public presentations and media work;
  • Experience monitoring and responding to policy developments (state, federal, and/or international); and

Experience in developing and managing innovative programs in the public interest sector.


This position is only available through the ACLS Public Fellows program. You may not contact the host institution to inquire about this position.