Research Program Director

Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania
$70,000 to $80,000
September 01 2021
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
Job Type

Research Program Director 

Our Vision is to cure childhood cancer, one cup at a time. If your Vision is to use your critical-thinking skills and remarkable talents to make a difference in the world, then join Team Alex, and let’s work together to give kids fighting cancer the childhood and future they deserve!


About Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation

Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of 4-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Scott, who was fighting cancer and wanted to raise money to find cures for all children with cancer. Her spirit and determination inspired others to support her cause, and when she passed away at the age of 8, she had raised $1 million. Since then, the Foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement. Today, ALSF is one of the leading funders of pediatric cancer research in the U.S. and Canada raising more than $200 million so far, funding over 1,000 research projects and providing programs to families affected by childhood cancer. For more information, visit


Position Description

The Research Program Director is integral in our ability to fulfill our mission of changing the lives of children with cancer and their families.  The Research Program Director oversees the Foundation’s prestigious and competitive research programs to ensure that the best and most-promising childhood cancer research is funded with the end goal of bringing new and better cures to children with cancer.  ALSF is one of the largest funders of pediatric cancer research in North America, funding science from “bench to bedside” at more than 100 institutions.  The Research Program Director will bring their science and clinical knowledge to help prioritize and execute an impactful research grants program that fills gaps in funding toward cures. 

The Research Program Director is responsible for effectively guiding the strategy and administration of all grant categories within the Early Career, Accelerator and Quality of Life research programs. In addition to oversight of full grant cycles from pre to post-award, they will lead continuous process improvement and documentation efforts to facilitate best grantmaking practice. The Director will also be responsible for new grant program development, as needed. 

The Research Program Director will oversee grant outcomes and impact assessments and work strategically across teams at ALSF to ensure that grant impact is communicated regularly with stakeholders. The Director will also be responsible for ALSF Resource Sharing initiatives and will promote open science practices within the pediatric cancer research community.  

This position reports to ALSF’s Chief Programs Officer and also works closely with the ALSF executive team and Scientific Advisory Board.



ALSF is headquartered outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Our team is currently working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic but will return to in-person work when it is has been deemed safe to do so. Therefore, we are seeking a candidate based in the Philadelphia area. 


Specific Responsibilities include (but not limited to):

  • Help establish ALSF’s future funding strategy by providing scientific perspective and staying knowledgeable about trends in research.
  • Providing scientific expertise during the funding process, providing input on how new grants fit into ALSF’s mission and ensuring gaps in funding are addressed. 
  • Ownership of the grantmaking program from pre to post award, with an eye toward continuous process improvement and documentation.
  • Leading and managing the Grants Team, including three direct reports, in moving grant cycles forward, meeting deadlines, and guiding all aspects of pre and post-award maintenance.
  • Working with team on preparation and execution of various researcher summits hosted by ALSF. Providing guidance on agendas, speakers and trends in research. 
  • Development of new and impactful grant programs.
  • Managing the Crazy 8 Initiative, a $25 million commitment to find cures for intractable childhood cancers – manage the grant process, oversight of projects, and lead the planning of a yearly Crazy 8 Summit.
  • Leading ALSF Resource Sharing initiatives – reviewing Resource Sharing Plans, overseeing the Resource Sharing Policy, taking ownership of the Resource Sharing Portal and being responsible for compliance with these initiatives.
  • Measuring grant outcomes and impact and translating that impact to ALSF stakeholders through emails, blogs, social media, etc.
  • Overseeing all research-focused web and email content, including the Researcher E-news and information about grant programs, grantee project pages, research news and researcher resources.
  • Speaking with funded researchers about their projects and discoveries and developing the ability to translate their work into layman’s terms.
  • Establishing and managing relationships with the ALSF Scientific Advisory Board, reviewers, researchers and other stakeholders as necessary.
  • Providing other members of ALSF staff with scientific input and editing content for scientific accuracy and clarity.
  • Developing a scientific understanding of childhood cancer by reading the literature and on occasion attending scientific meetings.


  • Advanced degree (PhD, MD or MD/PhD) in a scientific field with a thorough understanding of biomedical  and translational research.
  • In-depth understanding of grant cycles and the intricacies of cyclical processes.
  • Exceptional oral and written communication skills, with the ability to translate impactful science to a lay audience.
  • Demonstrable commitment to the principles of open science preferred.
  • Strong leadership skills and ability to drive results.
  • Well-organized with the capability to handle multiple concurrent projects.
  • Ability to analyze current workflow and then implement and document effective processes and procedures.
  • Flexibility to acquire additional competencies and skill sets as mandated by the changing needs of the organization.
  • Able and willing to work non-traditional hours including evenings and weekends as needed.
  • Experience with Grant Management Software or relational databases.
  • Stellar positive attitude and ability to inspire others

The successful candidate will thrive in ALSF’s fast-paced, unique environment and will have the opportunity to make significant contributions to our continued growth. This full-time opportunity offers a competitive salary and benefits package.

If you are interested in joining Team Alex, please submit a resume and an amazing cover letter describing your experience, interest and why you are the right fit for this position, including your salary requirements. In the interest of expediting our process, only candidates who submit cover letters with resumes will be considered.


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