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Associate Director, Research Operations

The Associate Director, Research Operation, focuses on assisting in the business processes of MJFF’s Research Operations department, defining and delivering strategic and tactical project management and operational expertise to support a variety of operational projects.

About Us:
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) was founded in 2000 with one clear objective: accelerating meaningful therapeutic advances and, ultimately, a cure for Parkinson’s disease (PD). The Foundation applies extraordinary scientific, business and media assets to this singular focus—thus creating a unique and dynamic organization. Since inception, MJFF has quickly grown into the largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s disease research, having funded over $2 billion in research projects in both academic and industry labs worldwide.

Core to our philosophy is how we think of our capital and its risk profile relative to other stakeholders in the drug development pipeline. We work aggressively to de-risk various therapeutic strategies and tools in the hopes of building a robust pipeline of new treatments for patients. In order to achieve our mission of finding a cure for PD it is critical that we engage with, and bring together, members of the PD community including researchers, physicians, health professionals and most important, people with Parkinson's and their families.

We believe that to find a cure for PD as quickly as possible, our capital needs to push research forward today—we therefore deliberately hold no endowment or excessive reserves. We instead seek to deploy funds raised as quickly and wisely as possible. MJFF raises over $100 million annually. Today, the Foundation has approximately 250 full-time employees. We offer a collegial and collaborative environment where optimistic problem-solvers and entrepreneurial, resourceful individuals can thrive and make a tangible difference for millions of people living with Parkinson’s disease.

Position Summary:
The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) is seeking top talent for its Associate Director, Research Operations position. This Associate Director position is focused on supporting the business processes of MJFF’s Research Operations department and defining and delivering strategic and tactical project management and operational expertise. The position would oversee and support a variety of operational projects, varied based on the business needs of the departments’ multiple teams but with a split focus on leading the operational needs of the Policy department and supporting the learning and development needs of the Research Operations department. This role requires strong project management acumen with the ability to think big-picture, capture vision, implement long-term and short-term goals, objectives and operating procedures and approach strategy setting and execution with a collaborative spirit.

This is a full-time role with no expected recurring travel. The position designation is expected to be hybrid-flex with fully remote candidates being considered on a case-by-case basis.

Primary Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Leverage project management expertise to support successful development and ongoing management of complex, multi-stakeholder initiatives as they emerge and evolve.
    • Design, develop, manage, and communicate funded project plans, schedules and related budgets.
    • Actively contribute to strategic planning discussions and processes around departmental priorities and planning.
    • Ensure MJFF best practices and rigorous project management methods are employed in developing and executing projects.
  • Troubleshoot and problem solve as issues arise; exercise excellent decision-making and propose solutions for tough issues related to project administration.
  • Serve as project lead on a variety of projects within the Research Operations department as well as provide project and operational support on larger Business Unit or Foundation-wide initiatives.
  • Approximately 40-50% of the portfolio will focus on supporting the department’s learning and development curriculum and team culture. Some of these projects/responsibilities may include:
    • Researching and vetting best learning practices, scheduling and supporting the coordination of department trainings, onboarding trainings and training resources.
    • Supporting the coordination of larger department and business unit-level retreat.
  • Provide project support to any learning and development related projects within the Research Operations team.
  • Some administrative support required.
  • Additional 40-50% of portfolio will focus on serving as operational lead for Policy Department with responsibilities including:
    • Support and track Policy team’s lobbying compliance requirements inclusive of creating and sharing reports and forecasts with the Policy team leadership and Finance team as well as preparing and submitting quarterly congressional reports.
    • Create workflows and processes to scale and standardize Research Operations project and knowledge management strategies across the Policy Team’s projects.
    • Act as key coordinator for annual strategic program and project planning.
    • Develop and support cross-team and departmental communication streams.
    • Manage team operational budget, including annual budget planning and quarterly reforecasting.
    • Facilitate the processing for legal review and/or account setup of grant awards, contracts, supplements and other award instruments.
  • Routinely review and recommend best practices to improve workflow and systems efficiencies.
  • Facilitate the processing for legal review and/or account setup of grant awards, contracts, supplements and other award instruments.
  • Proactively communicate foundation processes and procedures to grantees, applicants and other external stakeholders.
  • Serve as backup and short-term absence coverage support for colleagues.
  • Engage in the wider Foundation-community on staff-driven projects and initiatives.

Qualifications and Skills:

  • Demonstrated project management skills, with 4-5 years of expertise in operations, supporting complex projects, knowledge of and experience in project management tools and methodologies and ability to effectively apply those skills across a wide variety of settings.
  • Excellent time and meeting management skills required; demonstrated ability to prioritize work and information at hand and manage multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to maintain exceptional attention to detail while considering how those details impact -the big picture.
  • Strong interpersonal and people management skills; ability to work productively both independently and as part of a team, including reporting to cross-functional managers.
  • Willingness to adapt when necessary; very comfortable with ambiguity and highly flexible to changing business dynamics and priorities.
  • Comfortable working within a matrix management framework and leading and/or supporting projects across a variety of departments, teams and stakeholders.
  • Interest in/knowledge of learning and development and organizational development concepts and practices preferred.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication and presentation skills.
  • Excellent Microsoft Office skills required, including proficiency with Microsoft Excel.
  • Comfortable and capable of managing multiple communication and collaboration tools and platforms such as Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and project management software applications.

Salary and Benefits:
The salary range for this position is $80,000 - $90,000. In addition to salary, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) offers a comprehensive benefits package, including:

  • 15+ options for medical insurance (with MJFF paying 90 percent of the premiums).
  • Competitive dental and vision plans.
  • 401(k) plan with 6 percent employer contribution.
  • Flexible spending accounts.
  • Employer paid life and disability insurance.
  • 18 days Paid Time Off (PTO); 12 Well-Being (Sick) Days; 2 Personal Days; summer Fridays (office closure at 2pm) and a summer holiday week over July 4.
  • Two ways of working: hybrid-flex, or remote work. We trust all employees to work closely with their manager and colleagues to determine when, where and how programs and projects get done..

Employees are also eligible for a discretionary bonus on an annual basis. MJFF provides staff and leadership cultivation through regular training courses and events.

Vaccine Statement: 
At The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF), the health and safety of our team and our community is a priority. MJFF has made the decision to require all staff receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment. Successful applicants for this position must be fully vaccinated by date of hire and proof of vaccine is required. Full vaccination is defined as two weeks after both doses of two-dose vaccine or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine has been administered. Anyone unable to be vaccinated, because of medical or religious reasons, can request a reasonable accommodation for consideration.

How to Apply:
Interested candidates should submit a resume and thoughtful cover letter describing their specific qualifications and interest in the position.

MJFF is an equal opportunity employer. We strongly encourage applications from individuals who will contribute to our efforts to build and support a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce. Diversity may refer to characteristics including, but not limited to, race, religion, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic circumstance, geographic background, ability and disability, political ideology and age.

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