Chief Scientist

Washington D.C.
April 22 2019
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Chief Scientist

The Optical Society is recruiting for a Chief Scientist. The Chief Scientist contributes to the scientific health of the organization by providing in-depth technical advice and guidance for OSA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and other OSA departments to ensure programs reflect and incorporate the latest advances in the optics and photonics community.  As a member of the Executive Team, the Chief Scientist works collaboratively with and provides specific guidance to internal and external stakeholders engaged with scientific and technological content at meetings, external communications, and technical and market presentations.  The Chief Scientist supports global partnerships by identifying markets, building relationships, and negotiating strategic agreements. The Chief Scientist and staff provide a centralized operation for all OSA stakeholders to have access to funding agencies nationally and internationally that support optics and photonics with the goal of increasing support for OSA programs. The Chief Scientist is also responsible for new business development involving forefront areas in optics and photonics, including, but not limited to, meetings and programmatic activities with the aim of enhancing revenue for OSA and increasing its technical profile.


1. Technical Advice, Guidance, and Strategic Leadership

Serves as lead technical advisor by identifying technical areas and funding opportunities for workshops, meetings, forums, and publications. Conduct primary and secondary research to support OSA’s interaction with its stakeholders. Provide education, guidance, and strategic recommendations to OSA CEO, staff, committees, and councils on domestic and international initiatives that promote, enhance, and strengthen awareness of optics and photonics as an enabling technology and its impact on the global economy. Collaborate with OSA Divisions to deliver technical content for OSA managed and co-managed meetings, industry-focused programming, and member benefits and services. Represents OSA at OSA scientific conferences, technical advisory steering committees, and other scientific meetings.

2. Development of Global Partnerships

Supports global partnerships by providing in-depth background and research on current and potential partners and markets with demand for OSA products and services. Participates in long- and short-term strategic and tactical planning to research, create, launch, and evaluate new programs or partnerships. Builds and maintains relationships and communications with external organizations such as companies, scientific societies, universities, and other potential partners through face-to-face meetings, presentations, and reports.Assesses collaboration opportunities by gathering and synthesizing market intelligence and trends of interest to the optics and photonics community.

3. Funding Development 

Establishes and develops key relationships with the funding agencies that support optics and photonics with the goal of expanding funding of OSA programs. Serves as advisor on domestic and international government policies affecting OSA’s constituents and the broader scientific community. Acts as lead, centralized scientific interface for introductions and Principal Investigator status for all grants and foundation funding. Leads outreach efforts to improve visibility with global funding offices.

4. New Business Development

Oversees the development of new business plans with the intent of creating technically oriented programs (meetings or other activities) that return net revenues to OSA. Researches fields that are ripe for development, brings new technical topics to the attention of OSA staff, and provides comprehensive business plans for evaluation by CEO and Executive Team.  Assists Senior Business Development Director with incubators, through initial meetings and ensuring continuous grant funding. 


  1. Provides guidance on technology displays for expositions at various photonics related meetings.
  2. Provides guidance on best practices for scientific meetings.
  3. Works with meeting committees to identify or invite high-level speakers. Provides assessment and analysis on the technical group scope.
  4. Continuously improve technical knowledge by attending professional development and technical enhancement activities.
  5. Provides input for all Strategic Planning Committee activities in order to maintain scientific integrity of OSA while advancing technological thrusts to ensure that OSA technical programming includes new and emerging optics and photonics content.
  6. Provides scientific presentations for OSA Executive Team when requested.


  1. Technical degree in the field of applied physics and/or engineering required.
  2. 15 years senior level management experience, including budgeting, planning, and executing programs.
  3. Knowledge of technical, educational, society, commercial, and governmental/bureaucratic issues within the broader optics community.
  4. Demonstrated experience working effectively in academic, corporate, and other environments.
  5. Experience in analyzing and strengthening programs and relationships.
  6. Experience in global corporate and advocacy interactions.


  1. Strong interpersonal skills with ability to work without direct authority. Ability to work with diverse staff to support OSA programs, volunteers to encourage and support their participation in OSA activities, and with various constituencies to build strong global partnerships.
  2. Strong communication skills, both oral and written. Ability to develop engaging presentations that present complex scientific and technical issues and tailor presentations to the knowledge base of the audiences.
  3. Understanding of optical science and engineering research and development.
  4. Excellent planning and project management skills, with a keen attention to prioritization, execution, deadlines, and efficiency.
  5. Ability to adapt to a rapidly changing situation and fast-paced environment.
  6. Ability to travel domestically and internationally.

OSA offers a competitive salary and benefits. Please send your resume and cover letter with salary requirements to

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