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Assoc. Director, PhD Research Programs

The Michael J Fox Foundation For Parkinson's Research
New York, NY
  • Expired: over a month ago. Applications are no longer accepted.
Job Description

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 $1 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 170 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. 

Within MJFF, the Research Programs team supports the Foundation’s mission of accelerating development of new and improved PD therapies through its focus on three key activities:

  • Developing the strategic research agenda and priorities for MJFF scientific initiatives
  • Selecting and funding the most appropriate research projects that warrant MJFF support
  • Management of research awards through peer-to-peer partnerships

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. 

Position summary

The Associate Director, Research Programs plays a key role in executing the MJFF research agenda. With an understanding of key concepts in biomedical (preferably neuroscience/neurological) research and/or translational research. The Associate Director will be responsible for managing a variety of activities critical to our mission. These include identifying, reviewing, funding and managing grants and grant programs; leading strategic initiatives; coordinating strategic program assessments and workshops; engaging with key opinion leaders and stakeholders; and interacting with the donor/patient community.

The position requires a motivated, strategic scientist with a hands-on, detail-oriented, flexible, and solutions-seeking workstyle. Successful candidates will be comfortable working in a collaborative team environment, be highly capable at delving into projects to support aggressive team goals and have the ability to manage and prioritize multiple projects simultaneously.

The position will be expected to have a hybrid flex work schedule with at least part-time in MJFF’s office in midtown New York City. Standard business hours are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Foundation supports flexible and remote work schedules.

Primary roles and responsibilities:

  • Shaping of MJFF PD scientific “point of view” in critical areas of Parkinson’s disease research and drug development
  • Developing and rapidly executing strategic action plans to address critical field challenges that consider both internal team and external advisor input and creatively position MJFF to have clear impact
  • Managing strategic plans at all stages from concept development, review process, grants contracting and milestone management, troubleshooting and problem solving as issues arise
  • Developing strong relationships with research community and key opinion leaders
  • Reporting to a Director, Research Programs, and regularly with senior management and other MJFF staff on programmatic activities and progress

Ideal candidates will possess:

  • Graduate degree (PhD) in Neuroscience, Pharmacology, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry or related discipline with ideally 1-4 years of postdoctoral or related experience
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively across internal and external teams
  • Excellent relationship management, interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills
  • Excellent attention to detail and ability to prioritize and manage multiple complex tasks while maintaining composure under demanding deadlines
  • Flexibility in approach and willingness to adapt when necessary
  • Strong passion for science and the therapeutic development process
  • Excellent independent decision-making and judgment skills
  • Creative, “out of the box” thinking
  • Strong project and time management skills with an innate sense of pace and urgency to get the job done
  • Ability to work productively and proactively, both independently and as part of a team
  • Flexibility and willingness to move from project to project based on Foundation and team needs
  • Strong interpersonal skills: ability to manage (often without authority) and be managed
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including ability and confidence in speaking to both profession/technical and lay audiences
  • Excellent computer skills, including mastery of Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Travel (domestic and international) for meetings and conferences may be required 

*There are three open positions for this role. Applicants with computational science/bioinformatics knowledge and/or expertise in working with large, multi-omics datasets to identify biomarker targets or to understand disease subtypes will be preferred for one of the three open positions.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should submit a resume and thoughtful cover letter describing their specific qualifications and interest in the position. Applicants who best match the position's needs will be contacted.

MJFF is an equal opportunity employer. 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.

The Michael J Fox Foundation For Parkinson's Research


New York, NY



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