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VP Research Development

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
San Diego, CA
Closing date
May 16, 2024

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Pharmaceutical, Senior Management
Organization Type
Job DescriptionJob Description
Sanford Burnham Prebys is a preeminent, independent biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding human biology and disease and advancing scientific discoveries to profoundly impact human health.

Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, the Vice President of Research Development (VP) will work to support and strengthen the scientific competitiveness of Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (Institute) and advance the Institute's mission by advising on funding portfolios and assisting with grant proposal development for principal investigators (PIs) including faculty, research scientists, and trainees. The VP will work with Institute leadership to execute and improve upon existing strategies to maximize research funding. The VP will manage the process of identifying opportunities for new and recurring funding sources, both federal and non-federal, and communicate these prospects to the Institute community. Specific support provided by the VP includes advising and strategizing on grant portfolio mix, grant writing and editing, consultations, identifying and submitting funding applications, and training and development as required.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Research Funding Strategy
  • Work directly with the CEO/President, COO, and other members of the leadership team to develop strategies and identify opportunities to maximize support from government, corporate, foundation, philanthropic, and other sponsors to support Institute research and scientific support (core) programs.
  • Identify and monitor research trends relevant to the Institute, funding trends among external sponsors, faculty members' research expertise, and other data that affect Institute research activities.
  • Provide strategic, timely, and targeted funding information to Institute leadership to develop strategies to promote and enhance Institutes research funding portfolio.
  • Investigate opportunities for support from corporations, foundations and other sponsors in cooperation with Philanthropy Department and appropriate laboratories.
  • Provide high-level analytical support to leadership on a wide range of research data and policy and process issues via analyses and special reports.
  • Coordinate with the Communications Department to elevate the profile of Institute strengths and accomplishments to promote visibility and impact among external funding sources.

Research Proposal Development and Training
  • Advise and strategize with faculty and other researchers on grant portfolio mix based on Institute priorities and laboratory research goals.
  • Identify grant opportunities for program project grants, consortiums, center grants, training grants, and inter-institutional and interdisciplinary research funding, and other collaborations that match faculty research areas that have a strong funding potential and proactively notify relevant Institute PIs.
  • Provide strategic planning and organizational support for developing large-scale, interdisciplinary program and center-type proposals, training grants, federal construction grants, core support grants, etc.
  • Assist in the proposal development and document preparation for competing and ongoing grants and fellowships.
  • Edit, write and coordinate research and grant-related documents to support Institute research efforts.
  • Work with PIs to ensure timely submission of proposals to meet internal and external deadlines to maximize research funding potential.
  • Partner with relevant departments to conduct training sessions and workshops for PIs on grant writing strategies, funding opportunities, and proposal development.
  • Other duties may be assigned.

Education and/or Experience:
  • Ph.D. in the Biological Sciences.
  • Minimum of five years of demonstrated experience with successfully funded grant development, scientific writing and editing, or science foundation work in a biomedical research environment.
  • Experience writing and coordinating federal, state, industry and private grant proposals with multiple collaborators, including NIH R, P and U proposals.
  • Experience in performing complex analyses of policies and programs related to broad research funding initiatives.
  • Experience establishing and maintaining strategic alliances and partnerships between institutes and government agencies.
  • Extensive experience with external funding programs and requirements, including contract and grant policies and issues.
  • Experience in management.

Other Knowledge, Skills and/or Abilities:
  • Extensive knowledge of Federal guidelines (e.g., NIH, DoD, ARPA-H) guidelines as they pertain to grant proposals.
  • Knowledge of State guidelines (e.g., CIRM, Breast Cancer Research Program, and Tobacco-Related Disease Program) guidelines as they pertain to grant proposals.
  • Knowledge of Private Foundation guidelines (e.g., American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation) guidelines as they pertain to grant proposals.
  • Demonstrated leadership ability and management skills including for research activities, developing new policies and procedures, and promoting a positive and collaborative research environment.
  • Sound understanding of the role of research in a research institute and its connections with instruction, public service, and industry along with substantial experience in performing complex analyses on policies or programs related to research funding.
  • Extensive knowledge of contract and grant policies and issues and external funding programs and requirements, including knowledge of national and international trends in scientific research.
  • Demonstrated experience in writing and submitting research grant applications, particularly the program project type that incorporate multiple projects, PIs, and cores.
  • Strong editing skills with a keen attention to detail.
  • Demonstrated strategic and creative thinking skills to anticipate industry and research trends and to translate that thinking into cogent plans for a large and diverse institute.
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills to establish and maintain professional, collaborative working relationships with widely diverse groups, including faculty, executive management, senior academic and administrative officers, Institute philanthropy and communication departments, and external contacts.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills and strong interpersonal skills, including employment of grammatically correct English to express complex medical, scientific, and/or technical content concisely and logically and in understandable terms.
  • Excellent organization skills, especially as related to collection and communication of complex information.
  • Outstanding time management skills with the ability to successfully manage multiple projects with conflicting priorities to meet deadlines.
  • Ability to work independently or as a member of a team with minimal direction.

  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Must be willing to work an adjusted schedule to support research needs.
  • Successful completion of the Institute's background investigation.

Supervisory Responsibilities:



The expected hiring range for this position is between $190,000 - $250,000/year commensurate with experience.

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute is an Equal Opportunity employer - M/F/Veteran/Disability - committed to the hiring, advancement and fair treatment of all individuals. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, protected veteran status, or any other protected status as designated by federal, state or local law. For additional information about your rights as an applicant, click HERE.

As part of this commitment, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute will ensure that persons with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations for the hiring process. If a reasonable accommodation is needed, please contact our HR Partners at 858 646 3100 Ext 5127 or via e-mail at

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