Science Program Officer, Physical Sciences

The Kavli Foundation is dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of humanity. The foundation’s mission is implemented through an international program of Kavli research institutes, initiatives and symposia in the fields of astrophysics and theoretical physics, nanoscience and neuroscience, as well as the biennially awarded Kavli Prize and a program in public engagement with science.

The foundation supports scientific research and catalyzes and enables opportunities to have greater impact in science. A signature of the foundation, and the Science Program, is our constellation of Kavli Institutes around the globe where scientists conduct curiosity-driven research in neuroscience, nanoscience, astrophysics, and theoretical physics. The Science Program, as with all programmatic areas at the foundation, takes an approach of convening experts across different disciplines to discuss and identify opportunities to advance science and practices to support the health of the scientific enterprise.
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.

Location: The Kavli Foundation Headquarter Office, 5715 Mesmer Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90230

Position Type: Full-time
Travel Required: 20%
​Direct Report: Director, Physical Sciences

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 10 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

  • Submit cover letter and resume to hr <at> kavlifoundation <dot> org
  • Complete Culture Index Survey