Science Program Officer, Physical Sciences

Los Angeles, California
$120k-160k DOE
Nov 16, 2020
Dec 16, 2020
Field of specialization
Geological, Physical, Theoretical
Work Function
Job Type
Full time

The Kavli Foundation is dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of humanity, promoting public understanding of scientific research, and supporting scientists and their work.

The foundation supports a community of excellence in neuroscience, nanoscience, astrophysics, and theoretical physics through prodigious Kavli Institutes, groundbreaking meetings and initiatives, prestigious million-dollar Kavli Prizes and supporting science communications and public engagement. 

Reporting to the director of physical sciences, the science program officer will partner with the president of the foundation and co-directors of science in monitoring, developing, and implementing the Foundation’s scientific programs.  These programs include the Kavli Institutes, Kavli meetings, scientific society programs, and other science-related activities of the foundation.  The successful candidate should bring to the position: scientific expertise in a Kavli science field (theoretical physics, astrophysics, nanoscience, or related fields) as well as broad interest in science and its societal impacts; the ability to gather and analyze relevant information; the ability to evaluate programmatic processes and challenges; the ability to build and sustain partnerships with scientific leaders; the ability through those interactions to identify unmet needs of the scientific community; the ability to develop and implement newly designed programs in those unmet areas; and to monitor programs in a timely manner.  The science program officer will be an integral part of a small staff that operates its programs.

Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Developing innovative strategy and programs: Working closely with other foundation staff and the scientific community, the successful candidate will develop strategy and programs in support of science and its societal aspects.    
  • Interacting, monitoring and evaluating selected Foundation programs: The science program officer will interact frequently with scientists involved with Kavli programs especially the Kavli Institutes, and will make periodic site visits. Such visits are to evaluate the particular program’s accomplishments, identify any current issues, and learn of plans for the future. The science program officer will conduct intensive data gathering, prepare write-ups about programs of the foundation and be responsible for project coordination.
  • Surveying relevant literature using scientific knowledge
  • Conducting interviews with many scientists to understand and develop programs
  • Participating in conferences, conference calls, and other events where relevant information is presented
  • Drafting written materials including detailed reports of information gathered
  • Interacting with external partners and participating on their committees as appropriate
  • Organizing, or helping to organize, scientific conferences
  • Perform special studies/projects as requested by the president and co-directors of science
  • Ability travel in conjunction with job responsibility; minimum 20% travel


  • Required: Ph.D. in Physical Sciences with a minimum of ten years of applicable work experience
  • Experience and understanding of academic organizational structures and decision-making processes
  • Ability to convene, facilitate, and develop trusted relationships among the foundation’s stakeholders
  • Familiarity with funding opportunities relating to higher education in science and its societal impacts
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to synthesize and analyze information
  • Ability to work as a member of teams consisting of both internal and external stakeholders
  • Detail oriented, must be able to effectively multi-task and have strong follow through and execution skills

Application process:

  1. Submit cover letter and resume to
  2. Complete Culture Index Survey