Senior Program Officer - Discovery Hubs & Network, Discovery & Translational Sciences

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Seattle, WA, United States

Group summary

Our Global Health Program harnesses advances in science and technology to save lives in poor countries. We focus on the health problems that have a major impact in developing countries but get too little attention and funding. Where proven tools exist, we support sustainable ways to improve their delivery. Where they don’t, we invest in research and development of new interventions, such as vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics. Our work in infectious diseases focuses on strategies to fight and prevent HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, enteric and diarrheal diseases, pneumonia and polio. We also support innovative research in Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health and Family Planning. These strategies are supported by functional teams Discovery & Translational Sciences, Vaccine Development & Surveillance, and Integrated Development & Regulatory. The Discovery & Translational Sciences program aims to create and improve preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic interventions that affect mothers, infants, and children. We do this by identifying and filling gaps in scientific knowledge, creating or implementing new technology platforms that can accelerate research in support of our goals, and investing in potentially transformative ideas. This may include: channeling resources into creating more practical (affordable, scalable, deliverable) versions of existing tools and developing transformative new tools where none exist, as well as speeding the translation of scientific discovery into implementable solutions, seeking better ways to evaluate and refine potential interventions before they enter costly and time-consuming late-stage clinical trials. Our areas of focus include vaccines, drugs, maternal & child health, contraception and control of disease-transmitting vectors.

Position summary and Responsibilities

To catalyze moving innovation to impact, Discovery &Translational Sciences ( D&TS) has recently formed a new initiative, the Discovery Hubs & Network (DH&N), which oversees an affiliation of three best in class and highly innovative centers of excellence (CoEs) or “Hubs” that are committed to working together to accelerate the identification and translational development of new solutions for global health. The CoEs include Stanford Institute for Immunology, Transplantation and Infectious diseases; Scripps/Calibr Drug Discovery Institute and the Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington.

The Discovery Hubs & Network domain, within Discovery and Translational Sciences team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is looking to add a flexible, experienced, enthusiastic Senior Program Officer to act as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence to our team. As an experienced entrepreneur with an appetite for innovation and risk, you will provide translational expertise and guidance to the Gates Foundation Discovery Hubs and the Network affiliates. Additionally, this position will provide mentoring and management assistance to a select portfolio of extremely high-risk grants, contract and equity investments across the Discovery Portfolio, based on your experience and abilities. You may also participate in mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs and technologists who wish to work on global health to help develop their understanding of global health problems and solution sets. With the assigned focus in mind, you must be an enthusiastic supporter of high-risk technologies and ideas coming from all possible locations, populations, and sources of innovation and be able to identify how these could be linked to, or take advantage of, the capabilities within the DH&N. To assist the Principle Investigators of the DH&N in identifying collaborative opportunities, the SPO will be expected to be highly interactive, savvy with networking and outreach to other academic, biotech and pharma partners.

Additional responsibilities may include assisting in due diligence activities with the strategic investment fund (SIF) team when they are making equity investments in the discovery space or in evaluating assets that may be transferred to the Gates Medical Research Institute located in Cambridge, MA. In addition, this role may review business strategies and active participation in planning sessions to define clear and measurable objectives for each company, monitor client progress and develop corrective strategies as needed.

Key responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Understand of the Foundation strategies and identify opportunities for acceleration and solutions to bottlenecks
  • Identification of technologies, talent and opportunities in the CoEs, and their surrounding research ecosystems, that could advance Foundation programmatic areas
  • Act as a liaison between the DH&N and Foundation teams including D&TS and the Program Strategy Teams (PST’s)
  • Co-manage and oversee a diverse portfolio of multi-center collaborative programs involving the CoEs that are directed at key bottlenecks in the discovery and development of drugs, vaccines, biologics and other interventions for global health
  • Facilitate translation of innovations in the CoEs into product candidates through liaison to the Gates Medical Research Institute
  • Identify collaborative opportunities for the CoEs through global outreach to strategically and thoughtfully build the CoEs’ network of partners
  • Develop a portfolio of cutting-edge tools and transformative early-stage innovations and technologies that could be applied to global health through the identification of opportunities within the DH&N

Reports to: The Deputy Director of Discovery Hubs & Network and the position is based in Seattle, WA

Leadership and Culture

We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment in which they thrive, will do phenomenal things.

Core Knowledge & Skills

We are looking for experienced entrepreneurs who enjoy the challenge of working on complex projects and collaboratively create solutions that have the potential for transformational change. We seek an experienced leader with a track record of driving innovation to impact.

Education and Experience

  • Life science Ph.D. and/or M.D. with 10 plus years of experience focused on Discovery/Translational space either within the Pharmaceutical or Biotech industry OR as an experienced independently funded academic principle investigator. Candidates will fewer years of experience will be assessed at the Program Officer (PO) level
  • A stellar track record of identifying, harnessing and parlaying successful innovations to impactful interventions.
  • Knowledge of R&D in one or more therapeutic area of vaccines, drug and/or biologics would be advantageous.
  • Deep understanding of research ecosystems (academic, biotech and pharma) and highly networked within those systems
  • Experience with overseeing and managing cross-functional teams, preferably covering the R&D value chain.
  • If from a Pharmaceutical background, experience with external R&D, strategic investment and alliance management is desirable

Additional Skills and Experience:

  • Demonstrated outstanding written and oral communication skills in positions requiring communications in a broad and diverse audience on a range of complex technical issues.
  • Experience in a role requiring collaboration as well as a demonstrated ability to work with flexibility, efficiency and diplomacy both individually and as part of a complex team effort; ability to work in a cooperative and collegial fashion.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully assemble, coordinate, and manage complex inter-group collaborations and partnerships, guiding such programs to meet programmatic and strategic goals.
  • Experience in the execution, conduct and/or management of performance-based contracts or cooperative agreements.
  • Excellent interpersonal and negotiation skills with the ability to solve problems with energy and a positive attitude.
  • Ability to organize/prioritize work and meet deadlines within a fast-paced environment with multiple and competing demands.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and build relationships to gain the respect and trust of others.
  • Solid understanding of the realities and complexities of matrix-based organizations.
  • Ability and willingness to travel domestically and internationally.
  • Demonstrated passion for the foundation’s values with a commitment to deliver results against the foundation’s mission.

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We’re committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. We also believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve—in race, gender, age, cultures and beliefs—and we support this diversity through all of our employment practices.

All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve the mission of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to:

* Race

* Color

* Age

* Religion

* Pregnancy

* Sex

* Sexual Orientation

* Disability

* Gender Identity

* Gender Expression

* National Origin

* Genetic Information

* Veteran Status

* Marital Status

* Prior Protected Activity

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