Program Officer, Life Sciences
Location: Philadelphia metro area, Pennsylvania, USA
Department: Life Sciences (Programs)
Reports to: Director, Life Sciences
Salary: Competitive salary and benefits package based on qualifications and experience
Travel: Domestic and international travel as pertinent
Deadline: Applications reviewed on a rolling basis
Organization and Position
The John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the biggest and most perplexing questions facing humankind. We support research and public outreach within disciplines ranging from astrophysics, evolutionary biology, and genetics, to philosophy, psychology, and economics. We encourage civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians, as well as between such experts and the public at large. In all cases, our grantmaking activity aims to spur curiosity and accelerate discovery, funding the best ideas and capitalizing on what we learn from them.
The Foundation’s Life Sciences department seeks to advance basic scientific research on fundamental questions in biology, particularly ambitious ideas that are undervalued by traditional funding sources. The department’s $60 million of active projects are located around the world and represent a range of topics including origin of life, its evolution, and humanity’s place and future within nature. Current strategic priorities include the science of purpose, cultural evolution, and intellectual humility. The Life Sciences department also manages the Genetics portfolio, which supports contrarian basic and applied biomedical research aimed at minimizing future poverty and sickness. It seeks to identify and support contrarian ideas that challenge established paradigms, and has as a current emphasis the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease.
To advance the Foundation’s mission and strengthen our team, the Foundation is seeking a Program Officer for Life Sciences. The Program Officer will work with the Director of Life Sciences to develop new initiatives that advance current and future strategic priorities. They will also recruit and review grant proposals, communicate with applicants and grantees regarding the application and review process, and collaborate with our evaluation team to determine the impact of our grants.
Areas of Responsibility
- Create new initiatives and programs, including in collaboration with the Director, Life Sciences, and Vice President, Natural Sciences.
- Review and analyze grant proposals, prepare funding recommendations, monitor grant performance, and manage the Foundation’s relationship with principle investigators.
- Evaluate the performance of grants and grantees in conjunction with the Foundation’s department of Planning and Evaluation, including on-site visits to active grants.
- Contribute to the development and implementation of strategic priority plans.
- Communicate the mission of the Foundation both internally and externally, especially to researchers, academic institutions, and in related networking opportunities.
- Identify and communicate with other funding agencies whose goals overlap with the Foundation’s interests in the life sciences.
- Organize and participate in conferences, workshops, and symposia relevant to the goals of the Life Sciences department.
- Participate in professional development opportunities.
Required Qualifications, Skills, and Abilities
- Graduate degree in chemistry, biology, and anthropological or health sciences (Ph.D. or M.D. strongly preferred)
- At least five years of professional experience in an academic setting
- A proven track record of excellence in writing and editing program-related content, proposals, papers, and presentations
- Skilled communicator able to work collaboratively with scholars and members of the academic community as well as in interdisciplinary contexts
- Ability to communicate with scholars and members of the academic community
- Ability to build relationships and to maintain professional networks
- Ability to understand the Foundation’s mission and core themes
- Highly organized with strong analytical skills
- Pertinent travel is required
Preferred Skills and Abilities
- Prior grantmaking experience
- Strong personal interest in the Foundation’s mission and core themes
- Demonstrated interest in at least one of the department’s current strategic priorities
- Experience in interdisciplinary academic research at the interface of science and society
We are committed to caring for our employees and their families through exceptional benefits. We pay for 100% of employee medical, dental and vision premiums, and generously contribute to family premiums. We provide life insurance, short-term disability coverage and long-term disability coverage at no cost to employees. We offer a 401(k) retirement savings plan with an employer match and additional discretionary contributions. Paid time off includes generous vacation, sick, and personal days. The Foundation offers a unique donation program, enabling employees the ability to direct a $5,000 donation to a mission aligned organization of their choice, with no employee donation required.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the role will be a remote-work position through at least January 3, 2021. The Foundation does plan to resume in-office operations when it is safe to do so (advanced notice will be provided), and the position will be based in the Foundation’s offices, located in West Conshohocken, PA.
West Conshohocken, PA, a short drive (~15 miles) from Philadelphia and within walking distance of a commuter train station into downtown Philadelphia. The offices are close to residential and commercial districts with multiple restaurants, as well as Philadelphia’s Main Line suburbs where Villanova University, Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College are located. The surrounding area has many walkable communities with an affordable cost of living and a robust variety of cultural and entertainment opportunities, including a vibrant food scene, five professional sports teams, world-class museums, galleries, gardens, and a broad array of music venues and other performing arts institutions. The offices are in close proximity to major highways, with New York City, the Jersey shore, the Pocono Mountains, and the heart of Pennsylvania’s Amish country all within a two-hour drive. The offices also provide easy access to Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (making New York City or Washington, D.C. an easy day trip) and to Philadelphia International Airport, an American Airlines hub serving destinations throughout the U.S. (more than a hundred routes), Caribbean (a dozen routes), and Europe/MENA (more than twenty routes).