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Open Positions

Program Associate, Research Operations (two positions available)

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 (PD) research worldwide, having funded more than $800 million 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 145 full-time employees.

Within MJFF, Research Programs helps support the Foundation’s mission of developing new and improved Parkinson’s therapies through its focus on five key research funding approach: 1) basic disease and translational science to identify and characterize PD biology; 2) identification and validation of biomarker candidates and tests to measure Parkinson’s pathology and symptoms; 3) transform promising early-stage ideas into practical therapies with tangible patient benefit; 4) assemble cohorts of people of interest to PD research and drug development (e.g., prodromal, genetic, newly diagnosed); and; 5) creating and distributing critical Parkinson’s research tools (e.g., antibodies, assays, animal models).

Job summary
This Program Associate position is focused on supporting the business process of the foundation’s funding portfolios by playing a unique role on the Research Programs team, defining and delivering strategic and tactical project management expertise. The Associate oversees and manages a portfolio of grants, ranging from one-year to multi-year projects, with individual researchers and investigators, universities, private-public partnerships, and multi-partner consortia. The Associate partners closely with the scientific staff to align delivery of scientific goals and business management procedures. The Associate acts as a primary liaison between external grantee partners and MJFF business partners.

Primary Roles and Responsibilities

  •  Leverage project management experience 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 process around funding priorities and planning.
  • Ensure MJFF best practices and rigorous project management methods are employed in developing and executing projects
  • Relationship management of external partners, which include other research funders, key opinion leaders, individual researchers and investigators, universities, and private-public partnerships.
  • Coordinate and manage MJFF project committees, working groups, and multi-partner consortia by working closely with internal and external collaborators to develop agendas, coordinate logistics, prepare materials for discussion, circulate minutes, chair meetings as needed and support execution of next steps.
  • Troubleshoot and problem solve as issues arise; exercise excellent decision-making and propose solutions for tough issues related to project administration
  • Serve as the business lead between MJFF science team and grantees to design and manage the operational lifecycle of a grant or funded project.
  • Oversee grants to individual Investigators, universities, and other specialized partners; manages relationship and project delivery lifecycle from proposal process through post-award to close out.
  • Lead and support program evaluation initiatives during and post-grant.
  • Acts as liaison between internal and external stakeholders with internal links in the grants management process, including research partnerships, finance, and other administrative support systems to ensure smooth operational management of the grants process.
  • Facilitate the processing for legal review and/or account setup of grant awards, contracts, supplements, and other award instruments
  • Provide support, narrative, and act as a resource of knowledge for issues occurring throughout the lifecycle of a grant.
  • Leverage grants management software and related applications to track and communicate project progress, and to drive continual process improvement initiatives.
  • Pro-actively communicate foundation processes and procedures to grantees, applicants and other external stakeholders. 
  • Routinely review and recommend best practices to improve workflow and systems efficiencies.
  • Serve as back up and short-term absence coverage support for Officer colleagues.
  • Serve as educator, trainer, and partner for new hires and existing colleagues on context and understanding around program portfolios.
  • Engage in the wider Foundation-community on staff-driven projects and initiatives.

Job Requirements
Strong candidates must have demonstrated project management experience, deep understanding of grant management framework, excellent communication skills, and experience developing and implementing new processes where there is no existing roadmap. Work experience within non-profit research and healthcare sector is preferred, but not required. This is a full-time on-site position located in New York City. The Program Officer must also be willing to travel as needed.

Ideal candidates will also possess:

  • Demonstrated project management skills, with 2-3 years- experience supporting complex projects; knowledge of and experience in project management tools and methodologies strongly preferred
  • Excellent time management skill required; demonstrated ability to prioritize work 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 team, including reporting to cross-functional managers
  • Excellent written and verbal communication and presentation skills
  • Excellent Microsoft Office skills required, including proficiency with Microsoft Excel. 
  • Working knowledge of Blackbaud grantmaking or Smart Simple preferred but not required.
  • Comfortable and capable of managing multiple communication and collaboration tools and platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Share Point, and project management software applications
  • 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.

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