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Program Officer, Fellows

John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation
Chicago, Illinois
Competitive salary and benefits
Closing date
Oct 26, 2022

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Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering, Health Sciences, Other
Position Type
Full Time
Job Type
Organization Type
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The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. The MacArthur Fellowship is a "no strings attached" award in support of people, not projects. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000 to the recipient, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years.

The Program Officer, Fellows, will triage, review, and develop nominations for the MacArthur Fellows Program, with special responsibility for the sciences, mathematics, engineering, health, and some areas of public issues. They will identify and engage with nominators, evaluators and others from a broad range of fields and areas of interest. The incumbent also will identify and articulate foundational research and emerging trends in fields at the intersection of STEM and society.

Job Description

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Participate in refining and adapting the Fellows nomination, evaluation, and selection process

  • Identify and work with Evaluators and Nominators, accessing specific individuals in appropriate networks

  • Manage an active caseload of 70 to 90 nominees each year

  • Prepare a dossier, including a written brief, on 15 to 20 nominees each year for possible presentation to the Selection Committee 

  • Conduct preliminary screening of 400 to 500 nominees per year

  • Keep abreast of current developments and issues in relevant fields

  • Contribute to the development of lists of potential Nominators and Selectors

  • Represent the Foundation at related conference and meetings

  • Make presentations to the Selection Committee as needed

  • Develop and implement projects of special interest, providing leadership for collaborative efforts within the team


Other Duties and Responsibilities

  • Serve, as needed, in an internal advisory capacity to Foundation initiatives outside of the Fellows Program when expertise in science, engineering or mathematics is needed or desired

  • Perform other tasks as assigned

Willing and able to travel occasionally.

The position is based in Chicago, Illinois.


  • Some form of academic research at the graduate level is strongly preferred in fields at the intersection of STEM and society (including, for example, public health, science communications, science and technology policy, environmental sustainability)

  • Minimum of five years of relevant post-graduate work experience

  • Deep knowledge of current trends in science, mathematics, engineering, or public health

  • Appreciation of the nature and importance of creative work and proven ability to recognize it; able to differentiate the significant and durable from the trendy and fashionable

  • Demonstrated intellectual curiosity; well-developed critical thinking and analysis skills

  • Broad intellectual capacity, curiosity, and passion for an eclectic range of issues and subjects across the broadest array of areas, including those not yet defined

  • Outstanding writing, investigation, and speaking skills; able to organize and clearly convey complex problems/issues in written and oral format for both expert and non-expert audiences

  • Able to conduct written and oral communications with outside experts with total discretion

  • Proven ability to analyze and summarize complex data quickly, identify critical issues, and develop solutions to problems

  • Computer literate with a command of MS Word and Excel; able to work with complex relational databases

  • Comfortable with, and open to, people who hold diverse views and perspectives

  • Self-confident, diplomatic, with a collegial approach to work and holds high professional standards

  • Demonstrated commitment to the beliefs and goals of the Foundation

  • Well-organized and efficient at managing multiple tasks and meeting tight deadlines

  • Able to work in harmony with staff at all levels of the organization

  • Bilingual in English/Spanish is a plus


Physical Requirements and Work Environment:

The work environment is an office setting. Intermittent physical activities will include bending, reaching, sitting, and walking during working hours. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable a person with physical disabilities to perform the job.


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