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Executive Director of Research Initiatives

companyHarvard Medical School
locationWashington, DC 20037, USA
PublishedPublished: 1/21/2023

Harvard Medical School is seeking applications for the position of Executive Director of Research Initiatives.

Position Description

Harvard Medical School (HMS) seeks an experienced and creative scientific administrator as the next Executive Director of Research Initiatives in the Office for Research Operations and Global Programs. The Office for Research Operations and Global Programs (ROGP) oversees interdepartmental and inter- institutional research initiatives totaling ~$70M in annual funding across 280+ individual research projects, and is led by Dean David Golan. The Executive Director will work closely with Dean Golan, and will partner with leaders throughout the School to advance major initiatives on a wide range of topics.

The areas in which the Executive Director will focus include:

Strategic and Operational Support of Existing Initiatives

The Executive Director will advise and support two major initiatives, as well as other existing initiatives. The major efforts include the Therapeutics Initiative, which leverages translational research programs and partnerships to accelerate translation of the world-class fundamental science at HMS toward the medicines of tomorrow, and the Massachusetts Consortium on Pathogen Readiness (MassCPR), which brings together researchers across Massachusetts to address the current global COVID-19 pandemic and better position the country and the world for potential future outbreaks.

Development of New Initiatives

The Executive Director will lead the design and integration of scientific and operational components for new research initiatives. In collaboration with HMS departments and faculty, the Executive Director will spearhead the conversion from conceptual design into full-scale programs, including soliciting funding through proposals to prospective funders. As a program is launched, the Executive Director may work with faculty and staff to initiate an internal award process, oversee events such as panel discussions or press briefings, and write programmatic reports to funders or School leadership. The Executive Director is expected to have the aptitude to assess and set a course of action for highly complex environments and to demonstrate situational leadership and creative problem-solving. As part of this, the Executive Director will be expected to advise and support faculty as well mentor staff.

Strategy and Personnel Management

The Executive Director will work with the Office’s leadership team to set annual goals and strengthen the Office’s culture and values. As the office scope and operations expand, the Executive Director will contribute to assessing the organizational design and ensuring that individual teams are coordinated and working toward shared goals. The Executive Director will manage inter-team initiatives, mentor direct reports, and further integrate HMS diversity and inclusion goals into the Office’s strategy and operations.

Advisory Role

The Executive Director will serve as a resource for the entire HMS community, by participating in schoolwide committees and working groups. A key responsibility will be to cultivate and maintain relationships across all levels and impact areas beyond the Office; in particular, the Executive Director will inform and consult directly with the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine’s Office team. The Executive Director may also serve as a peer reviewer for award solicitation processes in coordination with review panels of academic and industry experts.

Basic Qualifications

  • Ph.D. or equivalent in life sciences or a related field.
  • At least 10 years of experience in complex scientific program management or related fields.
  • At least 10 years of supervisory/management experience.
  • A cover letter is required as part of the application process.

Additional Qualifications and Skills

  • Experience managing, in whole or in part, the scientific administration of a research center, program, and/or department.
  • Creative problem solver who is able to find flexible solutions to challenging administrative issues.
  • Able to thrive in a dynamic environment and bring structure to new and complex initiatives.
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • Ability to multitask and prioritize core activities appropriately to meet milestones.
  • Interest in developing and supporting a strong team.
  • Excellent communication skills and ability to work comfortably with diverse teams and multiple constituencies.
  • Responsive to tasks with fast turnaround times.
  • Experience with research grants.
  • Oversight and experience with complex research budgets are preferred.
  • A broad experience base would be helpful, including work in higher education, biomedical research centers, industries such as biotechnology or pharmaceutical, and/or consulting.

Additional Information

Harvard Medical School has retained Claremont Search Advisors to assist with this national search.  Nominations, inquiries, and applications (including Cover Letter and CV) should be directed in confidence to: Jane Ezersky, Claremont Search Advisors, at

This position is based in Boston and some in-person on-campus work will be required, and flexible/remote work is an option. Any remote work must be performed in a state in which Harvard is registered to do business (CA*, CT, GA, IL, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VA, VT, and WA). Individual flexible and remote work options for this role will be discussed during the interview process. *Note: Harvard employees working in California must be exempt.

The University requires all Harvard community members to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and remain up to date with COVID-19 vaccine boosters, as detailed in Harvard’s Vaccine & Booster Requirements. Individuals may claim exemption from the vaccine requirement for medical or religious reasons. More information regarding the University’s COVID vaccination requirement, exemptions, and verification of vaccination status may be found at the University’s “COVID-19 Vaccine Information” webpage:

Please note that we are currently conducting a majority of interviews and onboarding remotely and virtually. We appreciate your understanding.

Harvard University offers an outstanding benefits package including:

  • Time Off: 3-4 weeks paid vacation, paid holiday break, 12 paid sick days, 12.5 paid holidays, and 3 paid personal days per year.
  • Medical/Dental/Vision: We offer a variety of excellent medical plans, dental & vision plans, all coverage begins as of your start date.
  • Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with full vesting after 3 years of service.
  • Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive tuition assistance program, incredibly affordable classes directly at the Harvard Extension School, and discounted options through participating Harvard grad schools.
  • Transportation: Harvard offers a 50% discounted MBTA pass as well as additional options to assist employees in their daily commute.
  • Wellness options: Harvard offers programs and classes at little or no cost, including stress management, massages, nutrition, meditation, and complementary health services.
  • Harvard access to athletic facilities, libraries, campus events, and many discounts throughout metro Boston.

The Harvard Medical School is not able to provide visa sponsorship for this position.

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Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

We are committed to cultivating an inclusive workplace culture of faculty, staff, and students with diverse backgrounds, styles, abilities, and motivations. We appreciate and leverage the capabilities, insights, and ideas of all individuals. Harvard Medical School Mission and Community Values

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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