Heather McInnis, Ph.D.

Project Director

Heather McInnis is a Project Director with the AAAS Research Competitiveness Program (RCP). In this role, she mobilizes scientific expertise and develops cross-sector partnerships to improve the science and technology research, innovation, commercialization, and capacity-building practices of federal and state government agencies, universities, corporations, foundations, and other research performers.

Much of Heather’s work involves providing direct assistance and peer review services to RCP clients. She designs and leads assessments of institutional and programmatic activities, scientific and technical advances, and public policy concerns to inform and foster strategic planning, program management and sustainability, portfolio development, interdisciplinary collaboration, and community discussion. Heather’s portfolio includes clients from federal, state, private and non-profit sectors engaged in research initiatives spanning basic to clinical and translational science, and focused on such diverse topics as food science, biomedical science, ecosystems services, marine science, renewable energy, water resources management, high energy physics, and public policy.

Heather obtained her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Oregon, and a M.S. in Quaternary Studies from the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine. Her interest in research capacity-building stems from her interdisciplinary training (climate change science, paleoenvironmental archaeology, and anthropology), and from her experience developing and leading international field research and training projects. Her doctoral research synthesized archaeological, paleoenvironmental, and ethnographic data to document and analyze the relationship between changing land and resource use, regional climatic fluctuations, and local environmental conditions at some of the earliest prehistoric coastal sites known in the southern coastal Andes. Her M.S. research used zooarchaeological analyses to help identify the earliest evidence for maritime adaptations in coastal South America: the results were published in the journal Science (Science 281:1830-1832).

Prior to joining AAAS, Heather worked for DePaul University in Chicago as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology where she taught undergraduate and post-graduate courses in environmental anthropology and archaeological science, and served as Faculty Adviser and Sponsor to several student organizations and honorary societies.