Environmental Health Research Assistant

Posted by
Published 26 days ago

We seek a versatile research assistant for dual roles supporting Silent Spring Institute’s research and serving as the Node Coordinator for the Health & Science Node of the Cancer Free Economy Network. This position offers an opportunity to contribute to innovative science and to work with environmental health and justice leaders across the country.

Organization Overviews:

Silent Spring Institute is a scientific research organization and one of the nation’s leading authorities on cancer-causing chemicals in our everyday environments, with a particular focus on breast cancer prevention. We are a collaborative, high-energy staff of 25, including 20 scientists with expertise in epidemiology, toxicology, chemistry, social science, and communications. We lead National Institutes of Health-funded research, collaborating with investigators at Harvard, UC Berkeley, US EPA, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Silent Spring partners with environmental justice groups, documenting racial disparities in exposures to pollutants, and supporting impacted communities. In addition to conducting scientific research, we work to educate policymakers and the public, and to translate our science into policies that support prevention.

The Cancer Free Economy (CFE) Network is a national network of nonprofits, researchers, sustainability-oriented businesses, community leaders, and grassroots groups committed to lowering the incidence of cancer by shifting our economy away from creating toxic chemicals to healthier alternatives. CFE takes a systems approach to change, working with stakeholders towards a collaboratively-developed goal: Within our generation, we will lift the burden of cancers and other diseases by driving a dramatic and equitable transition from toxic substances in our lives, communities, and economy to safe and healthy alternatives for all. The Network does its work via working groups, or “Nodes,” one of which focuses on health/science issues and constituencies. As a leading member of CFE’s Health and Science Node, Silent Spring Institute has been involved with the Network from the initial stages, and this is an important commitment for the Institute.

 Key Responsibilities:   

A successful candidate will have excellent time management and communication skills, must be able to work independently with minimal supervision, and be a self-starter capable of working on multiple projects with competing deadlines. As part of the research team at Silent Spring and a staff member with CFE, this person will need to be in communication with supervisors at both organizations. The position will offer opportunities for leadership development and mentorship within Silent Spring and CFE, as well as opportunities to author peer-reviewed articles. Some travel, and evening and weekend responsibilities will be required, for example, at public events or in-person convenings. 

Silent Spring Research Assistant:

Specific responsibilities are tailored to the qualifications of each individual. 

·       Diverse tasks to support ongoing studies: develop and follow study protocols, operate sampling equipment, develop sample tracking systems, interact with study participants, schedule meetings, and prepare meeting summaries.

·       Conduct data management and quantitative analysis for environmental exposure data.

·       Develop individual exposure reports for study participants using the Digital Exposure Report-Back Interface (DERBI).

·       Provide research support, including literature review

·       Help to prepare presentations, manuscripts, and proposals for federal and foundation grants.

·       Speak about environmental health issues with community organizations. 

CFE Network Node Coordinator:

·       Collaboratively engage in the strategic thinking of the Node and Network (Node Coordinators serve on the Network Council), building relationships with Network staff and participants.

·       Champion the Node’s strategies and projects within the context of the CFE Network systems map, the strategies/activities of other Nodes and Hubs, and cross-Node projects.

·       Play a key role in carrying out the Health & Science Node’s strategies and projects.

·       Provide administrative support to the Node, including scheduling calls, developing and tracking project timelines, maintaining the Node’s presence on CFE’s internal member site, organizing in-person meetings, on-boarding new members into the Node, creating summaries of Node activities for the monthly CFE newsletter, and supporting fundraising and grant reporting.

·       Attend regular calls and meetings with other Node Coordinators and Network Strategic Director to share updates, align work, and assess progress.

·       Serve as a liaison between CFE and Silent Spring Institute.

Minimum Qualifications:

·       Applicants with a bachelor’s degree will be considered. Excellent academic record; math, statistics, biology, chemistry, and informatics coursework an asset.

·       Demonstrated skill, calm, and follow-through in managing multiple concurrent workflows and timelines.

·       Strong communications skills and ability to engage effectively with diverse constituencies; make presentations, facilitate meetings, and conduct one-on-one check-ins. 

·       Competent with Google Suite and web conference tools.

·       Commitment to careful and impartial research in a context of partnership between scientists and the public.

 Desired Experience and Skills

·       Relevant work experience with non-profits, foundations, and/or organizing.

·       R programming an asset.

·       Highly organized, with strong attention to detail. Understanding of basic research quality assurance practices. Willingness to thoroughly review materials for accuracy.

·       Ability to identify trusted sources and perform scientific literature searches.

·       Patient with process but also committed to follow through to complete projects. 

·       Proactive – enjoys being a driver of a process so others’ busy schedules don’t slow progress. Ability to play point person on projects, support others in their work, and coordinate processes for completing deliverables (rounds of document comments, meeting preparation, etc.).

·       Ability to take initiative, think strategically, work cooperatively with a diverse group of people, and share responsibility and credit.

·       High energy, creativity, curiosity, ability to work independently within a multidisciplinary team.

·       Outstanding writing and communication skills –ability to communicate complex topics and technical information to a range of audiences from advocates to scientists. 

·       Experience, sensitivity and commitment to addressing equity issues.

For more information, visit our web site at or the Cancer Free Economy at

Silent Spring Institute is an equal opportunity employer, and we encourage applicants from groups who are traditionally under-represented in STEM. We value diversity and an inclusive work culture, and we do not discriminate on the basis of actual or perceived race, religion, color, national origin, gender identification, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.

We seek a versatile research assistant for dual roles supporting Silent Spring Institute’s research and serving as the Node Coordinator for the Health & Science Node of the Cancer Free Economy Network. This position offers an…

Details at a Glance

  • Time Commitment
    Full Time Schedule


Temporarily Remote
Work must be performed in or near Newton, MA
Associated Location
320 Nevada Street, Newton, MA 02460, United States
Suite 302

How to Apply

To apply, send cover letter describing your interests and experience related to this job, resume, writing sample, and copy of academic transcript (unofficial copy is fine) via email to with “research assistant” in subject line.

To apply, send cover letter describing your interests and experience related to this job, resume, writing sample, and copy of academic transcript (unofficial copy is fine) via email…

Join Idealist

Sign up today to save your favorite jobs and get email alerts when new ones are posted.