Chief Science Officer, The Medical Foundation

Brief Overview:

We are seeking a Chief Science Officer for The Medical Foundation to lead and collaborate with the organization’s grantmaking team to spearhead and maintain the organization’s innovative biomedical research award program services, enhance program impact, and further diversify the organization’s client funding base.

Position Description:

Health Resources in Action, Inc. (HRiA) is a non-profit organization working to improve and reimagine public health. We connect, consult, and collaborate to solve complex challenges of access and equity in our health and social systems. Together with our partners, clients, and collaborators, we create actionable solutions so that all people can thrive.

In 1957, The Medical Foundation (TMF) was created to primarily fund biomedical research in Massachusetts. Since then, we’ve been on a journey of evolution. We changed our name to Health Resources in Action (HRiA) to reflect our impact in the field of public health. Today, HRiA works with individuals, organizations, and communities to drive a policy and systems change approach to advance health and racial equity.

HRiA seeks sustainable solutions for complex problems using an anti-racist approach. We aim to be adaptable and flexible in meeting clients and partners where they are, offering our decades of knowledge and resources to collectively realize our dream of equitable, sustainable health for all. The foundation of this work is centered on our values:

  • Health and racial equity by identifying and addressing the root causes of health inequities, intentionally working to shift narratives and power imbalances and disrupt all systems of oppression.
  • Leading with heart by demonstrating our passionate commitment to our work, continuously challenging ourselves with humility and vulnerability while pursuing and holding ourselves accountable to our mission.
  • Collaboration by intentionally and respectfully leading, partnering, and following to strengthen relationships, uplift different voices and build trust.
  • Innovation by driving toward new strategies, questioning norms, and continuously learning and evolving to support the needs of our clients and communities.

HRiA offers exciting, engaging, and challenging employment opportunities for facilitators, trainers, researchers, analysts, policy specialists, grant managers, and more. People come to HRiA because of our commitment to advancing health equity and inspiring work; they stay for our wonderful clients, partners, and dedicated and dynamic staff. With our growing portfolio of high-impact work, person-centered policies, and generous benefits, our team continually invests in making HRiA a great place to work. Our diverse staff of over 270 people hail from 30+ states, with a homebase in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood.

For more information about the organization visit

Position Description

Health Resources in Action is seeking a highly talented and experienced Chief Science Officer (CSO) for the Medical Foundation (TMF), a department within the broader Grantmaking Cluster at HRiA which facilitates biomedical sciences grantmaking services.  TMF provides strategic advising of the design and administration investments in biomedical sciences to a range of clients and partners. With a team of nine staff members situated across the country, TMF works with private individuals, bank trusts, and family foundations to provide biomedical and life sciences consulting services, program evaluation, and customized grant programs designed to accelerate medical discoveries.  In 2022, we facilitated biomedical research grant programs that awarded over $27 million to outstanding investigators across the United States.

The CSO will have a deep understanding and experience in navigating the biomedical research systems, structures, and landscape that influence the effective design of philanthropic investments needed to advance health equity and wellness. The CSO will lead and collaborate with the organization’s grantmaking team to spearhead and maintain the organization’s innovative biomedical research award program services, enhance program impact, and further diversify the organization’s client funding base. They will also cultivate and maintain positive working relationships with current clients, grant applicants/awardees, scientific reviewers, biomedical research funders, and research and medical society leadership. The CSO should have strong skills in developing trusting relationships and the ability to bring stakeholders together in accomplishing a common goal.

The CSO will work with staff to lead life sciences consulting projects including: scans of specific research and funding landscapes, evaluation studies to assess award program impact, recommendations for future research investment, and executive coaching. In developing new grant programs, they will engage with clients to design the scientific focus, eligibility, and size of the awards to maximize the impact of philanthropic investments. The CSO will provide scientific oversight to long-standing grant programs and new investment strategies throughout the pre-award, application review, and post-award process. They also will work with staff to continually improve grants administration in alignment with the needs of the field and translate complex biomedical research reports into lay language for clients and other stakeholders. The CSO will facilitate review panel meetings for funding determinations, present to board members and Trustees from family foundations and bank trusts and serve as a senior leader representative of HRiA and its clients. Finally, the position will further the thought leadership of the organization in biomedical sciences grantmaking and bolster TMF’s role as a leader in the field and across the country. This is a senior-level position reporting to the Vice President of Grantmaking.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Leadership and Management

  • Contribute to shaping a vision for the biomedical research grantmaking services portfolio that aligns with the organization.
  • Serve as the technical lead on biomedical research grantmaking projects, including project planning, implementation, evaluation, and other related administrative responsibilities.
  • Identify and implement departmental goals and objectives in collaboration with the biomedical research grantmaking team.
  • Collaborate with staff to implement strategies to advance the organization’s priorities related to health equity.
  • Serve as an advisor to identify opportunities to strengthen collaboration between biomedical research and community health grantmaking teams.
  • Implement best practices to ensure high-quality grantmaking services.
  • Establish new and maintain existing relationships with clients, key stakeholders, and other biomedical funders, ensuring that deliverables align with project activities.
  • Work with and advise grantmaking leadership team on internal and external opportunities and challenges.
  • Lead, manage, and/or contribute to projects, as needed and/or appropriate.
  • Supervise team members, including a Senior Scientific Advisor and the Director of the Charles H. Hood Foundation.

Program and Project Work

  • Contribute subject matter and/or technical expertise to projects and teams, including designing investment strategies that advance innovation areas of research and align with current trends in the field, and translating research reports into lay language for board reports and presentations.
  • Serve as the lead contact for current and potential clients.
  • Manage technical content of multiple grants programs including updating the eligibility sections, application requirements, and review criteria in the application guidelines, identifying new members for the Scientific Review Committees, ensuring funded projects alight with programmatic research goals.
  • Collaborate with staff to plan and implement scientific symposia for client grant programs.
  • Develop project management timelines and set priorities to meet project goals and deadlines, while ensuring completion of high-quality work and deliverables.
  • Work with the staff in preparing in-depth life sciences consulting reports about the current state of specific fields of research, grant program evaluations, and other reports commissioned by clients.

Business Development

  • Maintain strong relationships with existing clients including foundations and bank trust departments.
  • Identify and secure new clients from the nonprofit sector, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, law firms, and bank trust departments, among others.
  • Write proposals and lead proposal development processes for relevant opportunities and contribute to other writing teams where appropriate.
  • Develop and negotiate scopes of work and contracting with external consultants.
  • Work with senior grantmaking staff to develop, manage, and track project budgets.

Thought Leadership

  • Bring a high-level understanding of the biomedical research landscape, the systems and structures that contribute to research progress.
  • Work with grantmaking senior leadership to identify and implement a strategic vision for the biomedical grantmaking portfolio.
  • Be a trusted, informed resource for staff, clients, and broader community.
  • Be an active member of relevant biomedical research grantmaking networks such as Health Research Alliance, PEAK Grantmaking, and Philanthropy Massachusetts, and attend relevant scientific and medical society meetings as needed for projects and programs.
  • Submit and/or contribute to publications (e.g., journal manuscripts, practice beliefs, etc.) and/or conference abstracts, presentations, and workshops.
  • Document and share knowledge and best practices to replicate success.
  • Develop and provide content for website, newsletter, and/or other methods of marketing HRiA’s work and impact.
This is a full-time, exempt position at 40+ hours per week. The salary range for this position is $170,000 to $220,000 and is commensurate with experience and credentials. Health Resources in Action offers an attractive benefits package including employer-funded medical, dental, vision, disability and life insurance, and employer contributions to a tax-deferred annuity. Additionally, employees enjoy flexible work schedules and other policies that promote work/life balance, vacation starting at four weeks, paid family and medical leave, 13 paid holidays, plus office closure time for the last week of December. HRiA seeks candidates nationally. The CSO will be required to travel for various programmatic activities, including regular Massachusetts-based events.

Candidate Qualifications:

This role requires a strong commitment to client service and satisfaction. It also requires the ability to work and collaborate with a broad range of staff and stakeholders. The successful candidate will have the following qualifications:

  • Dr. or Ph.D. in the life sciences with prior research experience and a solid understanding of the fields of basic, clinical, and translational research.
  • A minimum of 15-20 years of relevant work experience in positions of senior leadership in health-related fields and/or research.
  • Excellent verbal and written skills, including strong presentation skills and the ability to translate complex technical language to the lay public.
  • Experience in developing, managing, and evaluating biomedical grant programs and grantmaking practices and/or philanthropy a plus.
  • Demonstrated success in developing, leading, and supervising complex projects and high performing teams.
  • Knowledge of emerging trends, challenges, and best practices in biomedical research, knowledge of health equity, philanthropy, and public health a plus.
  • Demonstrated experience writing, reviewing, and editing grants, journal manuscripts, practice briefs, and/or conference abstracts and presentations.
  • Experience working with and managing diverse clients and meeting or exceeding their expectations in quality and performance.
  • Successful experience in donor cultivation, funder/client relations, and securing large grants/contracts from a diverse portfolio of funders.
  • Ability to develop and manage budgets and timelines.
  • Fluency in Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook).
  • Dedication to social justice and a passion for achieving health equity.
  • A commitment to valuing diversity of thought, backgrounds, and perspectives.
  • Commitment to the advancement of biomedical research through maximizing the impact of philanthropic support.
  • Creative thinking and willingness to consider and explore various options for achieving an objective or understanding and resolving a challenge.
  • Strong entrepreneurial skills and the ability to work and think strategically and creatively to cultivate current relationships and to identify and pursue new opportunities to increase impact.
  • Skills to manage, mentor, inspire, and supervise staff.
  • Ability to troubleshoot and exhibit resourceful and pragmatic problem solving.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with a wide range of people representing various backgrounds, levels of training, and career stages.
  • Ability to work independently, manage multiple responsibilities, and meet deadlines.

This description is intended to indicate the kinds of work duties that will be required in this position. It is not intended to limit, or in any way modify, the ability of any supervisor to assign, direct, and contract work of staff under their supervision. The use of a particular illustration describing duties shall not be held to exclude other duties, not mentioned, that are of a similar level or difficulty.

How to Apply:

HRiA is actively seeking to build a diverse and experienced staff. The organization encourages multiple perspectives and experiences, supports a multicultural environment, and strives to hire and retain a diverse work force that reflects the populations we work with and the communities where we work. Diversity is a core value of HRiA resulting in culturally competent services, materials, resources, and programs. Our hiring and business practices appreciate the strengths offered through different backgrounds.

HRiA is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment, its services, programs, and activities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status, or genetic information.

To apply, submit your cover letter and resume online to NPAG at  Resumes will be reviewed on a rolling basis and as they are submitted until the position is filled.

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