Our Global Health program harnesses advances in science and technology to save lives in low and middle income countries. We focus on the health problems that have a major impact in developing countries but get too little attention and funding. Where proven tools exist, we support sustainable ways to improve their delivery. Where they don’t, we invest in research and development of new interventions, such as vaccines, drugs, biologics, and diagnostics. Our work in infectious diseases focuses on strategies to fight and prevent HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, enteric and diarrheal diseases and pneumonia. Our work in maternal, neonatal and child health focuses on ensuring that women and newborns survive and remain healthy before, during and after childbirth, and ensuring optimal growth, neurodevelopment and resistance to disease, by identifying and addressing underlying biological vulnerabilities. We also support innovative research in reproductive health. These strategies are supported by functional teams that focus on Discovery & Translational Sciences, Vaccine Development & Surveillance, and Integrated Development.
The mission of Discovery &Translational Sciences (D&TS) is to catalyze innovation for the discovery and translation of transformative solutions to global health and development inequity. As such, the primary role of D&TS is to enable the foundation to achieve its ambitious goals as articulated in the objectives of the program strategies in Global Health, Global Development and Global Growth & Opportunities. For this, we exploit a unique advantage of the foundation in general and D&TS in particular: the ability to invest in high-risk and/or long-timeline initiatives with potential for truly disruptive change. We channel resources into creating more practical (affordable, scalable, deliverable) versions of existing tools, develop transformative new tools where none exist, and speed the translation of scientific discovery into implementable solutions, seeking better ways to evaluate and refine potential interventions before they enter costly and time-consuming late-stage clinical trials. Key functions in support of this mission include identifying and filling gaps in scientific knowledge, creating or implementing new technology platforms that can accelerate research in support of our goals, investing in potentially transformative ideas, continuous surveying of an ever-changing scientific and technological innovation space, and the fostering of an effective ecosystem of global health innovation, funding and partnership to advance the foundation’s mission. Our areas of focus include vaccines, biologics, drugs, microbiome interventions, and reproductive and sexual health.
Position Summary & Responsibilities
We are currently recruiting a Senior Program Officer (SPO) to join the Therapeutics team. You will work closely with the Deputy Director and other team members to shape and execute the foundation’s discovery program aimed at identifying and evaluating new therapeutics that address global health needs. You will have depth and breadth of experience and knowledge in the field of drug discovery. You will help to create a productive and collaborative culture of innovation in and translation of basic research into practical health solutions and be passionate about solving problems and addressing questions relevant to our mission.
Conceptualize, articulate and shape priorities in specific drug discovery areas:
- Monitor and track science and technology trends relevant to drug discovery. Provide analysis of opportunities based on the latest and most innovative thinking in the field.
- Collaborate with Deputy Director in strategic planning and initiation of projects/programs.
- Provide technical expertise for the drug discovery program area and have ability to represent the foundation both internally and externally.
Develop and manage grants and contracts portfolio to meet strategic objectives:
- Identify and select partner institutions and shape scope and strategy for selected grants and contracts to meet selected strategic objectives.
- Develop strategies and contribute to review of grant proposals and write proposal summaries.
- Apply and evaluate milestone-based performance objectives and help to make go/no-go decisions about specific projects and product candidates.
- Review interim and final reports; write final evaluation.
- Work with product development partnerships and other key external partners to enhance implementation of program strategy and tactics.
- Serve as a partner and resource to grantees to facilitate accomplishment of objectives.
Contribute to foundation knowledge capture, evaluation, learning, and dissemination:
- Keep manager and colleagues informed of progress of grant portfolio.
- Synthesize and document learnings across related grants and contracts.
- Develop reviews, summaries and informative reports for team, program and foundation leadership (e.g. Presidents, CEO, Co-Chairs and other foundation leadership) that summarize key activities, progress and issues, around grant portfolio.
- Partner with various programs to share learnings and expertise.
- Support monitoring and evaluation activities as defined within Therapeutics, the Global Health division and the Foundation.
Represent the foundation and program to the external world related to position responsibilities:
- Speak and participate in public events, forums and meetings.
- Serve on boards and working groups.
- Leverage opportunities to disseminate the knowledge and products developed by grantees in order to extend their impact.
- Represent foundation interests in building networks for the program.
The role will report to the Deputy Director, Discovery Therapeutics and requires primary residency out of Seattle, Washington
Leadership and Culture
We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment in which they thrive, will do phenomenal things.
Core Knowledge & Skills
We are looking for people who enjoy the challenge of working on complex projects and collaboratively creating solutions that have the potential for transformational change. We seek an experienced professional with a deep understanding of the principles of drug discovery.
Education and Experience
The ideal candidate should have a PhD or other relevant terminal degree with deep knowledge, expertise and experience in:
- Pharmacokinetics, drug metabolism or related discipline.
- Drug discovery, with relevant industrial experience in the evaluation of small molecule therapeutics.
- Minimum 10 years of experience working in relevant field, preferably gained in the Pharma or Biotech sector.
- Strong record of scientific achievement as evidenced by publications in peer-reviewed journals.
Coupled with experience in one or more of the following areas preferred:
- Strong research, analytical, critical thinking skills as well as the ability to organize and synthesize information are required. Proactive and flexible nature with reliable follow-through and great attention to detail.
- Demonstrated outstanding written and oral communication skills in positions requiring communications to a broad and diverse audience on a range of complex technical issues.
- Experience in establishing and leading collaborative programs integrating fundamental scientific research and lead generation in the academic, Pharma or Biotech sector.
Additionally, you will have:
- Experience in a role requiring collaboration as well as a demonstrated ability to work with flexibility, efficiency and diplomacy both individually and as part of a complex team effort; ability to work in a cooperative and collegial fashion.
- Demonstrated ability to successfully assemble, coordinate, and manage complex inter-group collaborations and partnerships, guiding such programs to meet programmatic and strategic goals.
- Experience in the execution, conduct and/or management of performance-based contracts or cooperative agreements.
- Excellent interpersonal and negotiation skills with the ability to solve problems with energy and positive attitude.
- Ability to organize/prioritize work and meet deadlines within a fast-paced environment with multiple and competing demands.
- Demonstrated ability to lead and build relationships to gain the respect and trust of others.
- Solid understanding of the realities and complexities of matrix-based organizations.
- Ability and willingness to travel up to 30% domestically and internationally.
- Demonstrated passion for the foundation’s values with a commitment to deliver results against the foundation’s mission and the contraceptive technology goals
As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We’re committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. We also believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve—in race, gender, age, cultures and beliefs—and we support this diversity through all of our employment practices.