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Associate Director, Research Partnerships

About Us:

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) was founded in 2000 with one clear objective: finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease in our lifetime. 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 worldwide, having funded more than $1 billion in research projects in academic and industry labs worldwide. We exist to put ourselves out of business, so we deliberately hold no endowment but instead spend what we raise quickly and efficiently; 88 cents of every dollar spent goes directly to research programs. 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 treatment ideas and tools in the hopes of building a robust pipeline of new treatments for patients. Today, the Foundation has about 155 full-time employees.

Within MJFF, Research Partnerships helps get to better Parkinson’s treatments faster by driving two key activities: 

  1.  increasing engagement and developing partnerships with various stakeholders, including biopharma, government, nonprofits and patients
  2. integrating the patient experience and viewpoint across the research spectrum. 


Position Description: 

To meet the needs of people with Parkinson’s, it is important to consider their lived experience with the disease and their preferences, and to make them equal partners in the development and delivery of treatment options.  There has been increasing interest in elevating the patient voice in therapeutic development and care in recent years.  The FDA has created a series of guidance documents about Patient-Focused Drug Development.  Industry groups are interested gaining a better understanding of the unmet needs and preferences of people with Parkinson’s as they develop therapeutics.  Patient involvement in research can lead to more patient-friendly clinical trials, faster trial recruitment and better retention.   MJFF is uniquely positioned to act as an advisor, convener, mobilizer, and creative problem solver to increase patient-centricity.    


MJFF is seeking an enthusiastic collaborator with strong project and relationship management skills who can develop and execute on both proven and novel approaches to increased patient-centricity in research and therapeutic development for Parkinson’s disease.


As an Associate Director, Research Partnerships, you will collaborate with internal teams across departments, Parkinson’s researchers, CROs, and patient advisors to ensure patients are engaged in the process of research and therapeutic development, elevating their voice as equal partners in the process.  As part of your role, you will help evolve MJFF’s best practices to meet the demands of a changing research landscape, consult with biopharma partners to accelerate their study enrollment and operationalize innovative pilot programs.  Primary responsibilities include: 

Project Management: Executing strategic action plans and actively managing deliverables

  • Solicit input and opinions from a variety of advisors and translate them into recommendations and actionable steps for MJFF (strategic perspective is critical here)
  • Design and get buy-in for project plans and execute them in an efficient manner
  • Perform due diligence on new strategies, tactics, and potential vendors; deliver recommendations to leadership and stakeholders, and implement on next steps
  • Manage inquiries and follow through on requests from biopharma, research centers, and the Parkinson’s community to engage with MJFF’s research engagement resources


Relationship Management: Develop relationships inside and outside of the Foundation and conduct outreach with stakeholders across the therapeutic development landscape and Parkinson’s patient community

  • Cultivate relationships with diverse external players at academic research centers, biopharma, and partner organizations
  • Build partnerships with stakeholders across the therapeutic development landscape in support of novel initiatives and pilot programs; leverage partnerships to grow the use of MJFF tools, resources, and best practices to enhance effectiveness of clinical trial design, recruitment, and retention 
  • Work across MJFF departments, and with community members, partner organizations and other advisors to develop and execute integrated strategies to maximize patient involvement and patient-centricity in research and therapeutic development
  • Represent MJFF as a leader in person-centered research at appropriate meetings, conferences, and other venues

Key attributes of an outstanding Associate Director are excellent decision-making and judgment, creative ‘out of the box’ thinking and strong project and time management skills. An innate sense of urgency as well as an ability to work productively and proactively – both independently and as part of a team – are key. This role reports to the Senior Associate Director of Research Partnerships.

Job Requirements:

An understanding of drug development and/or clinical research is not required. Some of our most successful team members come from backgrounds in other industries with a strong functional skill set. S/he must have a genuine curiosity about drug development, science and MJFF’s work and a consistent desire to learn.  The Associate Director role requires a strategic thinker who also wants to be hands-on to support aggressive goals in this arena. The ideal candidate will be flexible and solutions-oriented with a proven track record of managing multiple complex projects and important relationships simultaneously.  Excellent oral and written communication skills and presentation skills are a must.   Advanced degrees, such as an MA, MBA, MPA and relevant management or strategy experience are preferred. This will be a remote position to start; however, employees should expect to work out of our New York City office in the foreseeable future. The Associate Director must also be willing to travel as needed.


Ideal candidates will also possess:

  • Entrepreneurial mindset; proactive and action-oriented personality with proven ability to solve complex problems in a team-based approach
  • Sophisticated project management skills, ideally with 4 - 6 years’ experience managing complex projects, including ability to adapt style based on team dynamic
  • Expert internal and external relationship management skills with strong networking capabilities and integration with individuals from all levels of an organization; ability to understand individual stakeholder goals and objectives and managing up, down, and across
  • Ability to energize team members and galvanize support around shared goals
  • Ability to think big picture and strategically, while maintaining excellent attention to detail
  • Ability to balance multiple initiatives and prioritize activities
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills, including presentation experience
  • Comfort taking a new idea, formulating an execution plan, getting buy-in along the way, and then implementing the project from launch to results
  • Commitment to teamwork; ability to collaborate and manage projects with and through others; ability to influence action without direct authority
  • Willingness to adapt when necessary; comfortable with ambiguity and flexible to changing business dynamics and priorities


How to Apply:

Interested candidates should submit a resume and thoughtful cover letter.  We ask that you do not contact our staff directly and no phone inquiries please. Applicants who best match the position needs will be contacted.  Submissions without cover letters will not be considered.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation strongly encourages 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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