Director, Physical Sciences

Reporting to the president, the director of physical sciences is responsible for the strategic vision and execution of activities within the physical sciences program and portfolio at The Kavli Foundation. This includes grantmaking, scientific convenings, creation and curation of impactful funding projects related to astrophysics and theoretical physics. The successful candidate brings practical expertise in astrophysics and theoretical physics 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. Key activities are summarized below.

Location: The Kavli Foundation Headquarters | 5715 Mesmer Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90230
Position Type: Full-time, Exempt
Travel Required: 20-30%

Strategy-setting and program management

  • Works with president to develop, facilitate and execute the foundation’s mission and the vision and strategic objectives for the physical sciences program.
  • Assesses opportunities that align with the foundation’s priorities while retaining the flexibility to act quickly and opportunistically.
  • Landscapes fields in and beyond physical sciences to assess areas for impact that align with foundation mission and goals.
  • Provides the president with in-depth analyses on key issues and opportunities related to the foundation’s physical sciences program.
  • Develops and implements a strategic portfolio, including budget allocation, evaluation and reports.
  • Manages one science program officer and works in collaboration with the life sciences and science and society directors and communications team on various projects/initiatives.
  • Hands-on, tactical role requiring direct interaction with all levels of staff to execute the strategic objectives and programmatic portfolio.

    Partnership and relationship management

    • Acts as an ambassador for the foundation’s physical science program, effectively articulating and communicating the various programs internally and externally.
    • Works in close collaboration with other departments within the foundation.
    • Manages relationships and commitments with external affiliates in physical sciences, including Kavli Institutes and enduring commitments such as endowments.
    • Creates and enhances meaningful partnerships with relevant stakeholders in the field nationally and internationally.
    • Represents the physical sciences program team and activities as part of the leadership team.


    • Ph.D. in a physical sciences field, preferably astrophysics, with 10-15+ years management experience, including management of teams and/or senior-level staff.
    • Ability to synthesize and provide in-depth analysis of basic research themes and trends in astrophysics and theoretical physics landscapes.
    • Experience leading complex program and projects, including funding, scenario models and reporting.
    • Experience with nonprofit funding organizations preferred.
    • Prior experience in convening, facilitating, and developing trusted relationships with internal and external stakeholders such as university presidents, deans, grantmaking organizations and government agency leadership.
    • Demonstrated experience and competency in organizational management and diplomacy.
    • Ability to travel within the U.S. and internationally; approximately 20-30% travel.

      How to Apply

      1. Submit cover letter and resume/CV to [email protected].
      2. All applicants must complete the Culture Index Survey.


      • Medical, dental, vision, basic life, STD/LTD voluntary buy up
      • 401(k) with match
      • Holiday/winter close
      • Vacation
      • Foundation-wide summer and fall breaks
      • Paid sick time
      • Wellness days
      • Floating holidays
      • Volunteer days

        The Kavli Foundation is an EEO employer.
        No phone calls or recruiters, please.


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