The Team-Based Organizing Initiative

Published Dec 6, 2019 Updated Jul 7, 2022

View a recording of a recent information session to learn more about how to build local teams of science advocates.

Science. Community. Action.

The UCS Science Network and the American Geophysical Union are growing the capacity of advocates who believe in science as a means to solve pressing problems, support equity and justice, and build resilient communities. While taking action alone is undoubtedly important, taking action with other people magnifies the profile of your issues and increases your impact.

This distributed organizing initiative aims for leaders to be trained in key advocacy skills, connected with fellow local advocates, and leading actions that deploy science to protect your community’s health, safety, and environment.  

  • Interested in launching a new group? Join as a “Local Team”.
  • Part of a preexisting group with its own identity? Join as an “Allied Group”.

A core facet of being an effective leader is bringing people together as a team in meaningful action and building a collaborative community. Building this kind of team is hard work. We want to celebrate that learning space and recognize that leaders will have different experiences before and during the initiative. All types of growth and learning are encouraged.

Expectations for participation

  • Desire to build a sustained, organized team of scientists to advocate for policy change that reduces inequities and advances science-based solutions to societal challenges
  • Commit to minimum one-year involvement from your start date.
  • Maintain monthly calls with your assigned UCS/AGU coach.
  • Recruit at least five team members to actively work with you in your group.
  • Maintain regular meetings with team members to organize toward your goal
  • Encourage leadership and engagement from team members in your local group meetings and activities
  • Design and lead a minimum of two local advocacy actions each year towards your campaign goal and in alignment with UCS and AGU values.
  • Participate regularly in team leader trainings, workshops, or leader networking and strategy calls (at least once per quarter).
  • Attend annual Team-Based Organizing Summit and encourage participation from team members

Throughout the year you will have access to a wide range of UCS and AGU support and resources that you can take advantage of as needed:

Tools and trainings: comprehensive trainings on developing leadership and campaign skills will be encouraged for all leaders, and additional webinars on topics relevant to local advocacy will be shared when available. Templates, additional readings, and take-home activities will help you apply these lessons and share them with your fellow team members.

Coaching: monthly individual check-in calls with UCS and AGU staff, as well as consistent email support, will be available for all leaders. One-on-one coaching is an effective way to gain personalized support, share successes, receive guidance, and troubleshoot challenges.

Action opportunities: action alert email updates will summarize the latest action opportunities related to shared interests between your group, UCS, and AGU. We will also coordinate nationwide actions that all teams may opt into, with tools for local groups across the country to join forces around priority fights over issues of shared concern.

Network building: join an online community of other team leaders from across the country. Throughout the year we will share opportunities to learn and connect through video chats, calls, trainings, and in-person meetups. UCS and AGU will also help foster local connections with fellow scientists and science supporters in your area.

Funding and other resources: Your team will have access to apply for advocacy seed funds up to $400 to boost your work throughout the year, as well as the Science for Public Good Fund, with grants up to $1,000 to ignite creative local advocacy efforts. UCS and AGU staff are also proud to act as a referral for team leaders, and can provide examples for referencing this project on a resume or CV.


The team-based organizing initiative is designed to support scientists and experts like you in launching a new science advocacy group or increasing the skills and success of your existing group.

  • The main point of contact for each team or allied group must be Science Network eligible or a member of the American Geophysical Union in order to participate in this initiative.
  • If you do not qualify for our Science Network, you can join with other people in your community who are interested in building a local science advocacy team and are eligible, or connect with our Science Champions resources.

We welcome applicants with a range of experiences in advocacy and local organizing. Applicants are likely to be a good fit if they relate to the following:

  • Familiarity with the purpose of advocacy work
  • Interest in learning about how to advance science advocacy in their community
  • Commitment to prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in advocacy work, and learning about integrating equity into practices
  • Desire to increase the impact and effectiveness of group advocacy efforts
  • Some previous experience in volunteer roles or leadership positions
  • Interest in learning new skills and supporting others to learn new skills
  • Openness to new ideas and perspectives


We ask you to fill out a short, in-depth application form to learn more about you, your group, and your advocacy goals. Applications are due on July 31, 2022 and will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Fill out the application today.

We will respond within two weeks of your application to notify you of the next steps. If you have any questions, please reach out to Ortal Ullman.

Apply to the Team-Based Organizing Initiative.

As current or future leaders in your own communities, we want to support you in making even more meaningful differences locally and equipping you with the skills to bring others along with you!