Research Programs Officer (MJFF)

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 global funder of Parkinson’s disease research outside the U. S. federal government, having funded over $750 million 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 raising the Foundation’s profile with a broader audience will help us more efficiently reach and mobilize highly engaged stakeholders who are more likely to feel personally vested in helping speed progress toward a cure.

We believe that to find a cure for PD as quickly as possible, our capital needs to push research forward today—we therefore deliberately have no endowment. We instead start our fundraising from zero each year and seek to deploy funds raised as quickly and wisely as possible. MJFF raises over $90 million annually. Today, the Foundation has approximately 130 full-time employees who are based in New York City. This is an onsite position and is not conducive to telecommuting.

The Research Programs team ensures the foundation’s funding portfolios are programmed and managed to achieve the highest possible impact towards the foundation’s goals.  The Research Programs Officer (the Officer) serves as a business process and project management specialist on a team that oversees and manages the full lifecycle of an MJFF grant.  The Officer manages a heavy workload of grants, ranging from one-year to multi-year projects, with individual researchers and investigators, universities, private-public partnerships, and multi-partner consortia.  The Officer partners closely with the scientific staff to align delivery of scientific goals and business management procedures.  The Officer acts as the primary liaison between all internal and external business partners, such as legal, finance, communications and marketing, and between external grantee partnerships as appropriate.  The Officer is able to play a unique role on the programs team, defining and delivering strategic and tactical project management expertise and contributing towards the institutional goals of the foundation. 

Role and Responsibilities

  • Serve as the business lead between MJFF science team and grantees to design and manage the operational lifecycle of a grant or funded project.
  • Design, develop, manage, and communicate funded project plans, schedules, and related budgets, engaging internal and external stakeholders to meet deliverables on time and on budget.
  • 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.
  • Develop, analyze, forecast, and pro-actively track project budgets, appropriately problem-solving or escalating issues. 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.
  • 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.
  • Produce meeting materials and support as needed; chair meetings as needed to move work forward.
  • Actively contribute to strategic planning discussions and process around funding priorities and planning.
  • Lead and support program evaluation initiatives during and post-grant.
  • 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.
  • Lead or participate in tactical planning activities on individual projects and organizational initiatives.
  • Engage in the wider Foundation-community on staff-driven projects and initiatives.


  • 2-4 years of strong portfolio and/or client management experience
  • Superior project and time management and organizational skills with special attention to detail
  • Able to move easily between a leadership role and an analytical problem-solving role.
  • Pro-active written and oral communicator, able to group abstract ideas into a clear picture or narrative
  • Experience developing and managing complex budgets and tracking systems.
  • Experience in formulating and implementing processes and procedures.
  • Able to lead and be led in cross-functional environments.
  • Ability to think and act decisively on operational issues, and manage up appropriately.
  • Ability to analyze and evaluate situations objectively and recommend or take appropriate action.
  • An innate sense of pace and urgency while maintaining product quality
  • Excellent computer skills, including Excel, Word, and PowerPoint
  • Minimum bachelor’s degree, graduate degree preferred
  • Understanding and/or interest in the sciences; particularly motivated to engage with and learn the language of the MJFF science community.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should submit a resume and thoughtful cover letter describing their specific qualifications and interest in the position here. Submissions without cover letters will not be considered. Please, no telephone inquiries and do not contact our staff directly. Only applicants who best match the position needs will be contacted. 

The Michael J. Fox Foundation is an equal opportunity employer

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