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Program Director - Green Chemistry Initiative, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
Palo Alto, California
$290,000 - $375,000
Closing date
Aug 7, 2024

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Field of specialization
Green Chemistry
Work Function
Administration, Management-General, Research-Basic
Job Type
Full time


Gordon and Betty Moore established the foundation to create positive outcomes for future generations. Guided by this vision and the Statement of Founders' Intent, the foundation fosters path-breaking environmental conservation, scientific discovery, and preservation of the special character of the San Francisco Bay Area. We strive to make significant and durable impacts on the world.

Together, we work to honor the vision of our founders and serve as stewards of the resources they have entrusted to us. We establish specific strategies based on advice from experts, identify partners who share our goals and measure results along the way. We build relationships and fund work in areas where we hope to make significant impacts; and we know that working together expands our ability to drive meaningful change.

We believe there can be no lasting change for the good if that change is not just and widely shared. Comprehending and incorporating values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in pursuing goals and refining strategies is vital to achieving our desired outcomes. These values weave through what we do and shape how we operate.


The foundation is seeking an individual to lead the newly approved “Green Chemistry Initiative: Sustainable Molecular Transformations,” a seven-year, ~$90 million effort that seeks to transform the trajectory of selected areas of basic research in chemistry to align with the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry[1] – with the aim of creating the enabling conditions that will help scientists accelerate progress towards solving critical sustainability challenges.  The initiative was designed based on recommendations from the foundation’s science advisers and in close consultation with the green chemistry community.  It will focus on supporting research around four core questions:

  1. The study of molecular reaction dynamics. How can we measure reaction pathways to visualize all reaction steps and intermediates rather than just starting and ending materials?
  2. Understanding and control of electrostatic (non-covalent, or “weak force”) molecule interactions. How can electrostatic forces be used as design principles to manipulate and synthesize matter without significant energy input?
  3. Measurement and reaction control in complex mixtures. How can we reliably monitor and control all phases of chemical reactions in complex mixtures?
  4. Development of new toxicology measurement tools and standards. How can we a) measure toxicity at the same rate and scale as chemical instrumental analysis and b) openly share measurement data to create new standards for the field?

This position reports to the Chief of Programs.


  • Lead strategy refinement and implementation of the initiative by managing a small team of staff to:
    • Create a pipeline of competitive research proposals supporting investigators and teams conducting high-risk research in chemical dynamics, electrostatic/weak force interactions, and mixtures.
    • Develop and implement a model for scientific collaboration that reduces multidisciplinary silos, strengthens international partnerships, and builds connections across the fields of chemistry, material science, engineering, toxicology, and biology.
    • Support basic research for developing, testing, and validating novel predictions in experimental processes, tools and materials, and new instrumentation and equipment for measuring and controlling reactions.
    • Identify and support dissemination of novel theories, processes, tools, and materials, including developing and sharing an open-access toxicology platform.
  • Stay abreast of the state of knowledge in a fast-evolving field.  Maintain a professional network that enables the initiative to surface the most exciting opportunities that are ripe for investment while understanding the funding landscape well enough to assess the value that the foundation’s resources can contribute.
  • Assess strategic trade-offs implicated by proposed investments of grant and other Initiative resources, and continuously monitor and adaptively manage progress towards greater scientific impact, including through formal internal measurement, evaluation, and learning plans and systems.
  • Represent the initiative in external forums and collaborations with foundations or other key partners.
  • Hire, lead, and manage a small team and ensure their work is well-structured, collaborative, coordinated, and of the highest quality.
  • Manage the team's overall operations, including grant budget allocation and cash flow, operating expenses, annual objectives and reporting, board reports, and other foundation-level communications.
  • Manage critical foundation processes pertinent to the initiative, including planned strategic reviews and external evaluations, annual objectives-setting and quarterly reporting, board reports, and other foundation-level communications.
  • Contribute to the overall management of the Science Team and serve on the foundation’s Senior Management Team.
  • Manage and develop a high-performing team. Lead by example, maintaining a climate that attracts, retains, and motivates top-quality people.


The ideal candidate will be a recognized and well-connected thought leader in both basic chemistry research and the dynamic sector of green chemistry.  They will have a thorough command of the evolving basic and applied chemistry research landscape and the funding entities that support it.  They will demonstrate well-honed judgment skills for assessing the relative risk, ripeness, and catalytic potential of different pathways for advancing knowledge in the field and with line of sight to green chemistry applications.  They will have shown an openness to and facility with working across disciplines to advance discovery, ideally with experience in one or more of the most relevant fields (chemistry, material science, engineering, toxicology, and biology).   While we understand that there are multiple paths to develop a specific expertise, we expect that this candidate will likely have the following:

  • A Ph.D. or equivalent in Chemistry or another relevant field and deep subject matter expertise in one or more disciplines directly relevant to the goals of the Green Chemistry Initiative.  This could be achieved through a mix of coursework, laboratory and field work, publication and scientific communication, or other avenues of meaningful engagement in the substance and network of the Green Chemistry community.
  • At least fifteen years of research experience advancing one’s own ambitious chemistry-focused research agenda. Experience should also include at least ten years of experience developing and managing a diversity of grants and awards in basic chemistry research and green chemistry. This could include working with high-caliber individuals, managing multidisciplinary teams, equipment, and instrumentation, engaging in community-building efforts, and using approaches aligned with important programmatic deliverables and higher-level outcomes. Experience in funding research is a plus. A demonstrated track record of success in managing a team of professionals.

Desired Competencies


  • Thinks critically to identify, define, and analyze problems.
  • Absorbs new content quickly and effectively, putting the content in context, adapting proven approaches to the situation in question, and identifying strategic leverage points for moving the science forward while maintaining a continuous line of sight to maximize scientific impact in the face of constraints and trade-offs.
  • Provides practical and innovative solutions as real-time issues arise.
  • Demonstrated ability to design and implement large projects. Sets realistic goals and objectives, learns from evidence, and adapts to improve.  

Relationship Management

  • Demonstrates empathy and integrity with both internal colleagues and external partners, engaging with them in a manner that is both appropriately nuanced and direct as necessary.
  • Provides thoughtful and responsive support to team, foundation colleagues, grant and other external partners, while balancing fidelity to strategy, legal requirements, and foundation policies.  

Project Management and Quality of Deliverables

  • Delivers high-quality products in a timely and efficient manner: setting appropriate goals, developing thoughtful work plans, mobilizing the necessary resources, drawing effectively on staff skillsets and strengths, and conducting quality control as needed.  


  • Adept in communicating with both technical experts and non-technical colleagues.
  • Delivers high-impact written and oral presentations, acting as an experienced and credible spokesperson for the Initiative.

Leading and Managing

  • Empowers others to use their talent and capabilities to take thoughtful risks to drive impact and make change, providing consistent direction and feedback to develop staff, help them reach their full potential, and ensure high-quality contributions.
  • Enthusiastic and experienced in driving change and creating excellent, high-functioning work environments. Strong leader who inspires and positively motivates others and can maintain a sense of perspective and humor even in stressful situations.
  • Excellent judgment and creative critical thinking skills.
  • Creative results-oriented problem solver.
  • Open-minded, collegial, and able to develop relationships based on trust, confidence, and respect. Open to considering a diverse range of viewpoints. Builds effective coalitions to move the agenda forward and proactively solicits others’ views before making key decisions.
  • Unquestionable ethics and integrity.
  • Passion for the foundation’s mission, values, and attributes.
  • Willingness to support and promote the foundation and colleagues through a commitment to enhancing the foundation’s considerations of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.


Our ideal candidate will demonstrate the following attributes that describe how we at the foundation strive to do our work with each other and our partners.

  • Committed to Excellence - We bring our best to all we do.
  • Passionate - Inspired by the vision of our founders, we are passionate about our work.
  • Collegial - We are part of a team striving toward common goals.
  • Open and Honest - We act with integrity, putting the good of the foundation first.
  • Humble and Self-Aware - Emulating our founders, we bring a sense of humility to our work.


The Moore Foundation provides a generous total compensation package that includes a competitive salary and a wide range of benefits to support your life, health, and well-being.

The expected salary range for this position is between $290,000 and $375,000 per year. Our job titles and salary ranges may span more than one career level, and the salary offered to a candidate will be determined based on factors such as the position's scope and responsibilities, job-related knowledge and skill set, depth of experience, certifications and/or degrees, and our practice of upholding salary equity within the foundation.

Our health benefits include employer-paid medical, dental, and vision insurance options for employees and dependents; a mental wellness program; paid parental leave; employer-paid disability and life insurance benefits; and pre-tax flexible spending accounts for medical and dependent care expenses.

Other benefits include six weeks of paid time off per year and ten paid holidays; a 401(k) retirement savings plan with a foundation contribution of up to 10% and a Roth 401(k) option; a matching gifts program for qualifying charitable contributions; hybrid work arrangements and a home office stipend; and a commuter benefits program.

To support you in achieving your career goals, the foundation offers a professional development program to all benefits-eligible employees that includes an annual financial benefit of $5,000 and paid time off to participate in educational programs.


This position is based at the foundation’s main office in Palo Alto, CA. Candidates must be based in or willing to relocate to the San Francisco Bay Area. Under the foundation’s residency policy and hybrid work arrangements, employees must reside within a reasonable driving distance of the foundation’s Palo Alto office and work onsite a minimum of four days a month, the weeks of May and November board meetings, and on periodic occasions throughout the year when foundation business needs require. A fully remote work option will not be considered for this role. Candidates must be currently legally authorized to work in the United States.


The Moore Foundation requires that all employees be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations as defined by the CDC, subject to reasonable accommodations for medical or religious reasons. Any employment offer will be contingent upon satisfactory proof that you comply with this requirement.


Martha Montag Brown & Associates, LLC has been retained to conduct this search. Interested and qualified candidates should apply by emailing a resume and substantive cover letter to All correspondence will remain confidential.





  [1] The “12 Principles of Green Chemistry”, established in 1991, offer an accepted holistic framework for scientific progress toward sustainability and align with environmental stewardship, safety, and economic viability


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