Leaders for Sea Change Program 



As climate change accelerates, the challenges facing the Pacific coast of North America are growing in scope and scale. Fish ranges are moving across political borders, the effects of acidification and hypoxia are intensifying, rapid ecological and social changes are exacerbating the vulnerability of the already vulnerable, and more. COMPASS is building a strong network of ocean scientist leaders, from early career to senior scientists, to tackle the most urgent and accelerating of these crises. By strategically engaging with community leaders, journalists, resource managers, and policymakers, these leaders will advance durable, innovative solutions for managing, conserving, and protecting the myriad ways that people connect with and value the ocean.


From ecologists working with First Nations in British Columbia, to human geographers working with fishing cooperatives in Baja, to oceanographers studying the whole of the California Current: if you are a social, natural, or physical scientist working at the nexus of climate change and the ocean across the Pacific coast of North America (Canada, United States, and Mexico) who is eager to grow into a new sense of possibility as a leader, gain the skills needed to make your vision for ocean solutions a reality, and be a part of a thriving and supportive network of peers, we invite you to apply to Leaders for Sea Change.

Leaders for Sea Change is a year-long program that will prepare you to advance meaningful change within yourself, your community, and society. At one of our world-class in-person retreats, you will gain strategic communication skills you can apply right away, and the confidence to use them. You'll also set specific goals for the changes you want to see in the world, identify your roles in contributing to those changes, and plan out meaningful, strategic actions over the course of the year. After the retreat, we’ll continue our partnership with you, providing ongoing learning and support, and linking you with opportunities to create real change. Throughout, you’ll build connections and relationships that are lifelong and transformative.

Download PDFs of these application materials below.


In English: http://bit.ly/2020LFSCapp-english

En español: http://bit.ly/2020LFSCapp-espanol



For over 20 years, COMPASS has been a pioneer in the effort to bring science into public conversation. We’ve trained thousands of scientists and provided the strategy and connections to make real change possible. We believe in a future where credible and timely science is essential to solving our greatest environmental and societal challenges, and where scientists who engage reflect the diversity of society as a whole. The challenges of ocean change demand solutions that are equitable, inclusive, and just. Our mission is to champion, connect, and support diverse science leaders to improve the well-being of people and nature.


COMPASS is growing a network of ocean leaders who can bridge disciplines, spatial scales, and science and society. We are building on the successes of the Wilburforce Fellowship in Conservation Science and the Scientist Sentinels: Civic Engagement and Leadership Program to design Leaders for Sea Change. This program, generously supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Sitka Foundation, will inspire bold new scientific leadership to bring forth innovative solutions along the Pacific coast and beyond. 


Benefits Of Becoming A Leader of Sea Change 

  1. A mutually supportive network of 20 motivated, inspirational leaders, eager to support one another to advance solutions for a future where people and the Pacific ocean thrive together

  2. A transformative, five-day in-person retreat with world-class experts in journalism, decision-making, and cross-cultural engagement, who support you to hone your skills for effective and impactful engagement and navigate your way to the relationships that will drive change

  3. Guidance and skills to identify strategic engagement opportunities where your knowledge is relevant, applicable, and impactful

  4. A supportive environment where you feel empowered to step into new roles and continue to develop as a leader, connected to your purpose and to your cohort

  5. Ongoing support for achieving your goals through virtual gatherings, mini-workshops, individual coaching, and webinars, building upon the immersive experience of the in-person retreat

Who Should Apply & Eligibility


We are committed to building a cohort that encompasses a diverse blend of perspectives, fields of study, geographies, backgrounds, and career stages. We value multiple identities, voices, values, and ways of knowing, and seek applicants at the graduate level, or beyond, who embody and express the many ways of being a scientist. We are looking for participants who are excited to invest the necessary time and energy to fully participate in the 12-month program, from the 5-day in-person retreat to coaching, small group peer mentoring, and additional web-based interactions (approximately 4 hours/month). A spirit of open-mindedness and generosity, in addition to a willingness to contribute to a collaborative, mutually supportive network of your peers, is highly desirable.


All natural, physical, and social scientists working at the nexus of climate change and the ocean across the Pacific coast of North America (Canada, United States, and Mexico) are eligible for this program. Applicants can be from any affiliation (academia, government, industry and NGOs).


All Leaders for Sea Change components will be facilitated in English. We request that you have strong conversational skills in English so that you are able to fully participate in the program.  

How To Apply


Please fill out this application form by April 30, 2020 with the following information. All application materials must be submitted in English. 

  • Contact information

  • Academic background and affiliation

  • Brief personal biography (100 words or less) which includes your focus area

  • Keywords (e.g., ocean acidification, trophic cascades, social vulnerability)

  • Resume or short CV (include as link, if available online, or please email as an attachment to opportunities@COMPASSscicomm.org with the subject header: 2020 Leaders for Sea Change—Your Last Name).

  • Two references (who are able to speak to why you would be a good fit for this program); please have them submit their comments via this brief form: https://forms.gle/AL8BUBod2a6W52NN9)

  • Responses to the following short-answer questions​​​

    1. ​In 100 words or less, describe your research, including its geographic scope, scale, and relevance to climate change.

    2. What do you hope to gain from this program, both personally and professionally?

    3. As a Leader for Sea Change, how would you put the skills you’ll gain and the network you’ll build to use? 

    4. Please briefly share a meaningful experience you’ve had engaging with non-scientists (e.g., journalists, decision-makers, resource managers, local communities) or other efforts you’ve made to strengthen the role of science in society.

Retreat Details


If selected, you will receive accommodation for 4 nights (Dec 7-11, 2020) at Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California, during your attendance at the in-person retreat. All meals during this time will also be covered. We request that you cover your travel expenses to the retreat, if possible. However, we are committed to making sure travel funding is not a barrier to participation, and travel funds are available if needed. Please don’t let the cost of traveling to the retreat keep you from applying!


Call for applications will remain open until April 30, and we will notify those selected by June 30.


Additional questions? Check out our FAQ page.

Need more info? Please contact opportunities@COMPASSscicomm.org.

Leaders for Sea Change is generously supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Sitka Foundation.

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