Program OR Senior Program Officer, Reproductive Health Technologies
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)
Location: Seattle (United States)
H Hardship
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Added 6 months ago
Job Description

Group Summary

Our Global Health program harnesses advances in science and technology to save lives in resource-poor 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.

Team Summary

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, drugs, biologics, microbiome interventions, maternal & child health, reproductive and sexual health, and control of disease-transmitting vectors.

Position Summary

The foundation’s move to put women and girls at the center of development has underscored the critical need for transformational innovation in reproductive health technologies in order for the foundation to achieve its equity goals. Improved reproductive health is closely linked to other critical global health equity outcomes and is a bedrock for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

We are currently recruiting a Senior Program Officer (SPO) to join a new team within D&TS focused on Reproductive Health Technologies. The team will accelerate and broaden existing initiatives including vaginal microbiome interventions for the prevention of HIV acquisition and adverse birth outcomes, and the discovery of novel non-hormonal contraceptives (the latter, in support of the Drug Discovery team leading this initiative). The broader portfolio of the team is currently undergoing strategic definition, matching key burden and equity needs with the competitive advantages and overall goals of the foundation. Areas likely to be pursued include: (a) HPV/cervical cancer; (b) syphilis; (c) STI diagnostics; and (d) menstrual health products. In addition to playing a role in strategy development, you will be responsible for driving the development of a portfolio of innovative product candidates across the breadth of the (non-contraceptive portions of the) portfolio. 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. You will report to the Deputy Director, Reproductive Health Technologies, Discovery & Translational Sciences. The job requires primary residency out of Seattle, Washington.

Core Responsibilities

Collaborate in defining the Reproductive Health Technologies strategy in a creative, rigorous, data-driven, analytical manner. Conceptualize, articulate and shape priorities in reproductive and sexual health:

  • Monitor and track science and technology trends relevant to reproductive health discovery.
  • Catalyze opportunities based on the latest and most innovative thinking in reproductive health discovery.
  • Provide deep technical expertise for the reproductive health discovery program area and 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.
  • Be accountable for the identification and assessment of key portfolio risks, and the development and management of mitigation/contingency plans at the portfolio level.
  • Apply and evaluate milestone-based performance objectives and help to make go/no-go decisions about specific projects and product candidates.
  • 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 Discovery & Translational Sciences, 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.

Core Knowledge and Skills

  • A highly experienced professional with deep technical research background in reproductive biology/physiology, with a focus on the vaginal microbiome, contraception, infection pathogenesis and/or immunology.
  • A fundamental attitude of thriving on the challenge of working on complex projects and collaboratively creating solutions that have the potential for transformational change. Strong mission focus.
  • Experience in strategic planning and strategy implementation. An ability to design research initiatives that are scientifically rigorous and catalytic to policy and program change.
  • Ability to ask critical questions and forge new directions in the field of reproductive health. A willingness to explore data that question the prevailing wisdom is a must. Ability to identify priority areas for funding and to shape strategies, ideas and proposals into successful programs.
  • Proven ability to partner with others. 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.
  • Experience working on teams with diverse cultural and professional backgrounds.
  • Demonstrated excellence in scientific writing and data analysis, written and oral communication skills, and experience advocating and communicating with a broad and diverse audience.
  • 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.
  • The capacity to identify and activate interconnections with related areas in public health, product development, regulatory frameworks and policy.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively across traditional disciplinary boundaries in a highly collaborative manner.
  • Experience working in global settings and in networking and collaborating with global partners is a plus.
  • 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.
  • 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 goals of the Reproductive Health Technology team’s goals

Education and Experience

  • The ideal candidate should have an M.D., PhD, or other relevant terminal degree with deep knowledge, expertise and experience in Reproductive Biology or Physiology.
  • Minimum 10 years of basic/translational research experience in this field.
  • Strong record of scientific achievement as evidenced by publications in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Experience and evidence of innovation in the conception, design, review and management of strategies, initiatives and programs.
  • Experience in establishing and leading collaborative programs of fundamental scientific research linked to reproductive biology in the academic, Pharma or Biotech sector
  • Experience in product development is a plus.
  • Global health experience is highly desired.

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

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.

All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve the mission of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to:

* Race

* Color

* Age

* Religion

* Pregnancy

* Sex

* Sexual Orientation

* Disability

* Gender Identity

* Gender Expression

* National Origin

* Genetic Information

* Veteran Status

* Marital Status

* Prior Protected Activity

About BMGF


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is an American private foundation founded by Bill and Melinda Gates. The primary goals of the foundation are, globally, to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and, in the U.S., to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology. 

The foundation works with partners worldwide to tackle critical problems in five program areas.

  1. Our Global Health Division aims to reduce inequities in health by developing new tools and strategies to reduce the burden of infectious disease and the leading causes of child mortality in developing countries.
  2. Our Global Development Division focuses on improving the delivery of high-impact health products and services to the world’s poorest communities and helps countries expand access to health coverage.
  3. Our Global Growth & Opportunity division focuses on creating and scaling market-based innovations to stimulate inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
  4. Our United States Division works to improve U.S. high school and postsecondary education, and support vulnerable children and families in Washington State.
  5. And our Global Policy & Advocacy Division seeks to build strategic relationships and promote policies that will help advance our work. Our approach to grantmaking in all five areas emphasizes collaboration, innovation, risk-taking, and, most importantly, results.