Director of Operations, Systems Chemistry Group

Northwestern University
Evanston, Illinois
November 16 2018
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Job ID: 34856
Location: Evanston, Illinois

The Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences is reimagining traditional arts and sciences education in ways that prepare our students for success in an ever-changing, complex world. The College is the most comprehensive of Northwestern's 12 schools, offering 47 majors to approximately 4,300 undergraduate students. Our goal is to develop in students a Northwestern Mindset – a flexible, adaptable view of the world that seeks to understand the pressing issues of today and transform them into the promising new opportunities of tomorrow. Staff who work in the College think creatively, work collaboratively, and are dedicated to building a strong community.

The hallmark of our distinctive educational model is diversity in all of its manifestations. We are committed to maintaining and enhancing the breadth and depth of our course offerings and to ensuring the intellectual and experiential diversity of our faculty and students. In short, we believe that diversity is an essential value that lies at the heart of our community and one that needs to be actively encouraged and pursued.

Job Summary:
The Director for the Systems Chemistry Group oversees the operations of this research grouping, which includes the labs of Sir Fraser Stoddart and Douglas Philp located in the Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University. The Director will assess and manage the programs and plans of the Systems Chemistry Group to ensure excellence at all levels through proactive interfacing with the PIs who comprise the Systems Chemistry Group. The Director manages current initiatives and long-term planning in support of the education, research and outreach missions of the Group. The Director fosters the spirit of collaboration spirit between the Group and partners both internal and external to the University.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Executing the strategic plan of the Systems Chemistry Group in partnership with its senior leadership. Providing advice to the senior leadership regarding the best utilization of human capital, financial resources, and laboratories in order to accomplish this mission.
  • Overseeing the general day-to-day operations of the laboratory. Determine the staff organizational structure and supervise the recruitment, hiring, training and performance management of support staff. Define and streamline internal operations with the goal of enhancing the efficiency of project execution within the research laboratory across all research staff. Proactively track, share and report operational metrics, e.g. the number of students devoting their time to different research areas, research funding breakdown by organization and coordination of travel by group members to conferences.
  • Support and engage with research operations outside of Northwestern, in academic/non-profit/for-profit institutions. Ensure compliance with the policies and procedures of the University as well as external entities through continuous monitoring and implementation of regulations, both internal to NU and external. Manage and organize the intellectual property originating within the Systems Chemistry Group. Aggregate and assimilate results and key findings in research output in a manner that facilitates reporting.
  • Manage and coordinate fundraising, such as research grants or technology partnerships, through interaction and collaboration with academic and industrial partners. Develop intellectual property strategy, uncover and report any commercialization opportunities, and oversee potential for commercialization in partnership with the University's Innovation and New Ventures Office. Organize and/or attend academic professional conferences/workshops to foster collaboration and networking opportunities. Manage a dedicated annual budget to support these activities.
  • Manage the fiscal and compliance-related responsibilities of the Systems Chemistry Group. Collaborate with the department's finance team to plan expenditures and ensure the overall financial health of the organization. Review financial reports and statements. Ensure completion of effort certifications.
  • Take a leading role, working with other staff, in developing the outward facing identity of the Systems Chemistry Group, including the website for the Stoddart and Philp research groups. Support the transition of new affiliates into the command center and research laboratory.

Performs other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's Degree plus additional formal training in business and the sciences.
  • 7+ years' work experience with progressively larger responsibilities, or equivalent of education and experience, e.g. MBA and 5 years of experience. Work experience should include 3+ years of management experience.
  • Experience in higher education, research laboratory, or related industry.
  • Ability to travel domestically, estimated at 5 to 6 times per year.
  • Available for occasional evening and/or weekend events.

Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)

  • Proven communication, interpersonal and analytical skills.
  • Proven aptitude in project management. Ability to work under pressure, prioritize and meet deadlines.
  • Demonstrated competency in organization management and financial stewardship.
  • Proactive, energetic, innovative.
  • Ability to work independently and yet is an accomplished team player.

Preferred Qualifications: (Education and experience)

  • Master's degree in business.
  • Master's degree or PhD in a related scientific field.
  • Prior knowledge/experience in the private and/or public energy/sustainability sectors.
  • Previous management experience in a university environment.
  • Previous experience in collaborative partnerships or joint ventures.

Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)

  • Working knowledge of basic intellectual property principles.

Apply online at

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.


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