Scientific Program Officer

Position Description:
A Scientific Program Officer (SPO) is an experienced professional with the ability to work for a dynamic, fast-paced organization. The SPO directs a portfolio of mechanistic and translational research awards in neuromuscular disease areas including the muscular dystrophies; motor neuron diseases; and neuromuscular junction disorders, inherited peripheral nerve disorders; congenital, metabolic and inflammatory myopathies, and channelopathies. This person will identify and address key research needs and initiate and implement high-impact research and scientific opportunities in neuromuscular diseases and demonstrate the effectiveness and impact of MDA’s research activities for patients, families, donors, and the professional communities MDA serves. Additionally, this person will provide leadership for MDA through interactions with federal agencies, international neuromuscular disease partners, drug development groups and pharma, as well as with patient advocacy groups and other neuromuscular disease stakeholders while meeting our core standards of excellence. The SPO reports to the Senior Vice President- Chief Research Officer and works closely with MDA’s Advocacy, Health Care Services, Medical Education and Healthcare Partnership teams to further leverage MDA’s clinical and research programs and infrastructure to accelerate therapy development for neuromuscular diseases.

Responsibilities:

1. Strategic Direction of Grant Programs
- Provide specialized scientific expertise to MDA in a particular portfolio of diseases
- Develop and direct a robust and diverse portfolio of grants that align with MDA’s strategic research priorities.
- Provide continued analysis of grant portfolios and guidance toward achieving MDA’s strategic research efforts.
- Interact with the neuromuscular community to assess research needs and opportunities.
- Serve as a disease expert in identifying appropriate scientific reviewers for all grant applications, recommend grants which may be the most impactful for achieving MDA’s mission.
- Prepare grant summaries and portfolio analyses
- Provide guidance to grantees and grant applicants around scientific grant issues, and work with Chief Research Officer and the rest of the scientific team on establishing and revising grant policies and procedures.
- Track grantee’s scientific progress, publications and patent/licensing activity.
- Organize, attend and participate in all grant review meetings for MDA’s research grant programs.
- Address the specific needs of the MDA Venture Philanthropy program
- Work collaboratively with the other scientists on the team

2. Provide Scientific Guidance for MDA
- Provide support to MDA advocacy and health care services initiatives that together comprise the MDA Mission Leadership Team
- Provide research news updates for dissemination through online and social media channels to keep the community informed of ongoing research and drug development and allow for MDA’s impact to be fully promoted.
- Provide scientific guidance and review for all disease-specific and research-oriented print and webpage content.
- Provide scientific guidance and participate in collaborative advocacy efforts between MDA and other patient-advocacy organizations.
- Identify opportunities for MDA to attract new sponsors/supporters, develop these relationships, and act as a resource for scientific material.
- Address scientific, research, and disease-specific questions that come in through the Resource Center.
- Develop content and co-lead the annual MDA Conference
- Develop or participate in MDA webinars as appropriate, to convey the scientific/medical background or importance of MDA’s efforts.
- Provide scientific guidance and input for MDA MOVR. These activities may include analysis of registry data for the registry report and other meetings, development/revision of disease-specific case report forms drafting and execution of the registry report, and the review of requests for access to registry data.

3. Scientific Engagement with External Stakeholders
- Establish/maintain relationships with pharmaceutical and biotech companies working in our space, keeping abreast of ongoing and new activity in drug development efforts, with an eye towards collaborative opportunities.
- Attend and represent MDA at national and international neuromuscular scientific meetings.
- Participate in external committees/advisory boards to provide MDA’s perspective to the wider community.
- Manage/maintain relationships with other disease foundations/organizations, and lead research-based collaborations. This may include contributions to larger consortium efforts such as research publications and white papers.
- Present research updates to the community at MDA sponsored meetings, as well as external meetings.

4. Perform other duties as assigned

Competencies:
- Communication Skills: Clearly and persuasively communicate, listen and seek clarifications; participate in meetings, write clearly and informatively. Initiative - Demonstrate ability to work independently and as part of a team; exhibit sound and accurate judgment, including prioritization and time management skills. Able to provide support to multiple team members simultaneously.
- Initiative: Measure self against a standard of excellence. Undertake self-development activities and learn new skills; seek increased responsibilities and ask for and offer help when needed.
- Professionalism: Work well in a fast-paced environment; treat others with respect and consideration; accept responsibility for actions. Understand business implications of decisions, align work with strategic goals, complete business-related tasks and develop strategies to achieve organizational goals.
- Project Management: Develops project plans; Coordinate projects; Communicates changes and progress; Completes projects on time and within budget; Manages project team activities
- Problem Solving Skills: Identify and resolve problems in a timely manner. Gather and analyze information skillfully and solicit feedback.
- Computer Skills: Advanced level proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite and Google Docs, ability to teach, coach and adapt to new technologies.

Qualifications
- Doctoral degree (with focus in neuromuscular diseases or related basic, translational or drug development science) and 5+ years of experience in research or health care fields.
- Ability to think broadly across scientific disciplines.
- Highly collaborative and strong consensus builder.
- Excellent interpersonal skills to represent MDA within the neuromuscular scientific community including at national and international scientific meetings and with other stakeholders including families we serve
- Comfort with public speaking and demonstrated ability to communicate complex scientific concepts to a wide array of audiences including the lay public, policy makers, members of Congress and Congressional staff.
- Knowledge of regulatory practices as they pertain to therapeutic development and industry.
- Excellent project management skills.
- Motivated by mission-driven organization whose aim is ultimately to save lives.

MDA is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.


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