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Director, Physical Sciences, Sustainability & Engineering Research

JOB TITLE: Director, Physical Sciences, Sustainability & Engineering Research

DEPARTMENT: Physical Sciences, Sustainability & Engineering (19)

REPORTS TO:  Chief Scientific Officer, Scientific Programs & Awards


The Director, Physical Sciences, Sustainability & Engineering Research (PSS&E) will work with the Chief Scientific Officer of Scientific Programs & Awards and other members of the Academy team and its partner organizations (corporations, foundations, government agencies, individual stakeholders) to create and deliver a portfolio of activities in PSS&E. Examples of the portfolio include: consulting engagements, scoping exercises, research projects, scientific convenings, value-added public-private partnerships, and other sponsor-driven projects that address specific areas of interest among these stakeholders.


  • In close collaboration with other Academy staff, design, develop and successfully execute a portfolio of high-impact science and policy-related programs in PSS&E, including consulting engagements, scoping exercises, research projects, scientific convenings, and value-added public-private partnerships; prioritize outcome-oriented, high-impact programming focused on key scientific questions and critical issues.
  • Act as a subject matter expert across the organization on cross-disciplinary topics within PSS&E to help define and integrate the Academy’s approach and strategy in these areas.
  • Establish and cultivate close ties and effective partnerships with a network of leading researchers, organizations, and institutions in academia, government, and industry in relevant PSS&E areas.
  • Work in partnership with the Academy’s Development team to actively engage new and existing funding partners for the program. Identify budget gaps, define outreach strategies, and co-lead efforts to secure financial support for the program.
  • Professionally represent the Academy and effectively present current work to external audiences through speaking engagements, panel participation, social media visibility, and written leadership pieces for publication on or via third party channels.


In addition to the Essential Duties, responsibilities of the Director will include, but not be limited to:

Strategic Vision

  • Track current trends in relevant areas of PSS&E, including computer science, physics, chemical engineering, biomolecular engineering, environmental science, alternative energy, sustainability, and other related sciences, looking for areas where the Academy can play a substantive role.
  • Maintain awareness of policy, advocacy, and scientific activities across a broad range of scientific topic areas pertinent to PSS&E and the Academy’s overall strategy.


  • Identify relevant opportunities and draft targeted content for grant proposals to relevant foundations, academic institutions, corporations, government agencies, and other potential supporters.


  • Develop and monitor program budgets and the annual department budget; review cash/business forecasts, making timely corrections and adjustments as required.
  • Draft and negotiate consulting agreements, letters of agreement, and other contractual documents for review and signature by senior management.
  • Take all necessary actions to comply with policies, internal controls, accounting standards, and procedures.
  • Monitor and discuss financial obligations with sponsors and partners.


  • Assist the Marketing Department by recommending promotional partners for Academy events and drafting scientific copy for marketing materials.
  • Work with the Academy staff to ensure timely electronic and/or print dissemination of project publications.
  • Work collaboratively with support departments to ensure smooth program execution.
  • Perform other duties as required.


  • Oversee the Academy’s portfolio of PSS&E conferences, seminars, workshops and other convenings, providing supervision to scientific program manager(s) and advising them on the selection of appropriate topics and speakers.
  • Develop interdepartmental relationships through a supportive and collaborative team approach, fostering cross-program synergy, transparency, and coordination to promote a culture of high performance, quality, excellence, and continuous improvement.
  • Monitor program deliverables; identify and resolve (and escalate where appropriate) challenges/bottlenecks to success to ensure timely completion.


The Director will supervise one or more full-time Ph.D.-level scientific program managers with complementary expertise in one or more sub-disciplines of PSS&E fields.


  • A Ph.D. in a relevant scientific field (e.g., physics, engineering, computer science, environmental science) is required.
  • Minimum 7 years of experience in industry, research, academia, non-profits/NGO’s, or related setting is required.
  • Experience, ability, and comfort in dealing with complex scientific and technical information beyond own area of expertise.
  • A track record of successfully securing funding for and delivering high-impact science and policy-related programs. Must be able to identify funding sources and partners; strong grant-writing experience is required.
  • Proven project and program management skills; ability to work with multiple teams across departments and to manage multiple parallel projects with tight deadlines.
  • Outstanding interpersonal and relationship management skills; track record of having built trust and credibility with leaders in the field, including researchers, government representatives, members of private industry, and the policy community.
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills with both academic and nonacademic audiences; capability to actively listen and synthesize critical issues.
  • A smart, insightful, dynamic strategic leader; a “self-starter” with the necessary drive and stamina to respond to the demands of the Academy by “rolling up his/her sleeves” and working collaboratively to achieve results.
  • A collegial individual who is committed to the highest standards of research and scientific integrity; unquestionable personal integrity; exudes credibility and professionalism; quickly builds confidence in others.
  • Passionate and committed to the mission of the Academy.
  • Some out of state travel (5% per year) may be required to host offsite conferences.


The Academy operates during standard business hours Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm. Standard work week is 35 hours, unless otherwise noted.

*Academy employees will continue to work remotely through June 2021. 


Applications must include a resume, cover letter and desired salary.