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Chief Science Officer

Boston, MA, USA | Non Profit Organization

  • Industry:
    Non-Profit / Social Enterprise
  • Position Type:
  • Functions:
    General Management
  • Experience:
    20+ years
Job Description:
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The Chief Science Officer is a senior-level position within the organization. They will lead and collaborate with the organization’s grantmaking team to create and maintain the organization’s biomedical research award program services, work to enhance program impact, and further diversify the organization’s funding base. They will also cultivate and maintain positive working relationships with current clients, grant applicants/awardees, and scientific reviewers.

The Chief Science Officer will work with staff to lead life sciences consulting projects including: scans of specific research and funding landscapes, evaluation studies to assess Award Program impact, and analyses that inform recommendations for future research investment. In developing new grant programs, the Chief Science Officer will engage with clients to design the scientific focus, eligibility, and size of the awards to maximize the impact of client funds. Furthermore, the Chief Science Officer will translate complex biomedical research reports into lay language for clients and other stakeholders. 

The Chief Science Officer will provide scientific oversight to 12 grant programs throughout the pre-award, application review, and post-award process. They also will work with staff to develop strategies to continually improve the grant administration process. The Chief Science Officer is a full-time exempt position based at HRiA’s headquarters in Boston, and will be expected to work on-site, though the opportunity for a flexible schedule or remote work will be available, as appropriate.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Chief Science Officer position consists of four main functions:

Leadership and Management

Contribute to shaping a vision for the biomedical research grantmaking services portfolio that aligns with the organization.

Serve as the technical lead on biomedical research grantmaking projects, including project planning, implementation, evaluation, and other related administrative responsibilities.

Identify and implement departmental goals and objectives in collaboration with the biomedical research grantmaking team.

Collaborate with staff to implement strategies to advance the organization’s priorities related to health equity.

Serve as an advisor to identify opportunities to strengthen collaboration between biomedical research and community health grantmaking teams.

Implement best practices to ensure high-quality grantmaking services.

Develop ongoing relationships with clients, key stakeholders, and potential funders.

Work with and advise grantmaking leadership team on internal and external opportunities and challenges.

Lead, manage, and/or contribute to projects, as needed and/or appropriate.

Program and Project Work

Contribute subject matter and/or technical expertise to projects and teams, including discussing current trends in the field and providing insights on innovative areas of research.

Provide exceptional client management services to current and potential clients.

Manage technical and operational content of multiple grants programs. Responsibilities include updating the research eligibility sections in the application guidelines, identifying new members for the Scientific Review Committees, and translating technical research reports into lay language.

Collaborate with staff to plan and implement scientific symposia for client grant programs.

Develop project management timelines and set priorities to meet program goals and deadlines. Work collaboratively in a team-oriented, fast-paced environment to ensure that all grant programs run effectively.

Work with the staff in preparing in-depth life sciences consulting reports about the current state of specific fields of research.

Conduct program evaluations and prepare reports commissioned by clients.

Business Development

Maintain strong relationships with existing clients including foundations and bank trust departments.

Identify and secure new clients from the nonprofit sector, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, law firms, and bank trust departments, among others.

Write proposals and lead proposal development processes for relevant opportunities and contribute to other writing teams where appropriate.

Develop and negotiate scopes of work and contracting with external consultants.

Work with senior grantmaking staff to develop, manage, and track grant program budgets.

Thought Leadership

Work with grantmaking senior leadership to identify and implement a strategic vision for the biomedical grantmaking portfolio.

Be a trusted, informed resource for staff, clients, and broader community.

B e an active member of relevant grantmaking networks such as Health Research Alliance, PEAK, Philanthropy MA.

 Submit and/or contribute to publications (e.g. journal manuscripts, practice beliefs, etc.) and/or conference abstracts, presentations, and workshops.

Document and share knowledge and best practices to replicate success.

Develop and provide content for website, newsletter, and/or other methods of marketing HRiA’s work and impact.

Candidate Qualifications

This role requires a strong commitment to client service and satisfaction. It also requires the ability to work and collaborate with a broad range of staff and stakeholders. The successful candidate will have the following qualifications:


M.D. or Ph.D. in the life sciences with prior research experience and a solid understanding of the fields of basic, clinical, and translational research.

A minimum of 20 years of relevant work experience in positions of senior leadership in health-related fields and/or research.

Excellent verbal and written skills; including strong presentation skills and the ability to translate complex technical language to the lay public.

Experience in developing, managing, and evaluating biomedical grant programs and grantmaking practices a plus.

Demonstrated success in developing, leading, and supervising complex projects and high performing teams.

Knowledge of emerging trends, challenges, and best practices in biomedical research, knowledge of health equity, philanthropy, and public health a plus.

Demonstrated experience writing, reviewing, and editing grants, journal manuscripts, practice briefs, and/or conference abstracts and presentations.

xperience working with and managing diverse clients and meeting or exceeding their expectations in quality and performance.

Successful experience in donor cultivation, funder/client relations, and securing large grants/contracts from a diverse portfolio of funders.

Ability to develop and manage budgets and timelines.

Fluency in Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook).

Personal Characteristics

 Dedication to social justice and a passion for achieving health equity.

A commitment to valuing diversity of thought, backgrounds, and perspectives.

Commitment to the advancement of biomedical research through maximizing the impact philanthropic support.

Creative thinking and willingness to consider and explore various options for achieving an objective or understanding and resolving a challenge.

Strong entrepreneurial skills and the ability to work and think strategically and creatively to cultivate current relationships and to identify and pursue new opportunities to increase impact.

Skills to manage, mentor, inspire, and supervise staff.

Ability to troubleshoot and exhibit resourceful and pragmatic problem solving.

Ability to work collaboratively with a wide range of people representing various backgrounds, levels of training, and career stages.

Ability to work independently, manage multiple responsibilities, and meet deadlines.

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