Director, Research Grants

Date: Jul 30, 2022

Location: Washington, DC, US, 20036

Company: American Chemical Society

The Office of Research Grants administers four separate research grant programs: the ACS Petroleum Research Fund (PRF), the Herman Frasch Foundation for Chemical Research grants in agricultural chemistry, and the Irving S. Sigal Postdoctoral Fellowships at the chemistry and biology interface. The primary responsibility of the office is to administer the ACS PRF, a program of grants-in-aid to nonprofit institutions, primarily colleges and universities, for advanced scientific education and fundamental research in the petroleum field. The mission of the Office is to administer the grant programs so that they conform to the guidance provided in their respective founding documents and at the same time have significant impact consistent with the vision for each grant program. The administration of each grant program should be as efficient and effective as possible.


The staff of the Office of Research Grants process approximately 1,200 proposals for grants-in-aid per year for consideration by the ACS PRF Advisory Board (AB), of which between 200 and 350 grants are recommended for funding for two or three-year periods. The ACS PRF AB meets twice each year, but the work timeline for each meeting extends for about a year; beginning with meeting arrangements, proposal receipt and processing, obtaining fair and effective external peer review, and continuing through post AB meeting processing. Thus, concurrent processes occur for at least three meetings at any one time within the office. For those proposals awarded grants, active grant management continues for two to five years. More than 1,300 grants are active either under an original grant agreement or by a no-cost time-extension. At any given point in the year, about $80 million in funding resides in active grants or commitments to grantees. In addition, the Director of the Office of Research Grants is a member of the Scientific Advancement team.


Position Summary

This position is responsible for the development, modernization and administration of the Society’s research grants programs, identified in the unit overview. Primary focus is the ACS Petroleum Research Fund, including strategic planning for and leadership of this program. In collaboration with the Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer for Investments, develops policies, options, and recommendations for investment of the ACS PRF Endowment and Reserve. The incumbent will serve as a highly visible ambassador to the academic research communities and institutions from which the grantees are drawn. This Director will manage a team consisting of an Assistant Director and grant program officers. Through the program officers, the incumbent will have responsibility for most of the Petroleum Research Fund grant budget. The ORG Director is a member of the Scientific Advancement Division and as such has shared responsibility with the Director of the Division, for implementing the Society’s plans and policies. The incumbent reports directly to the Director of Scientific Advancement. Dimensions: Staff: Direct Full-time Reports ~1-3 Indirect Full-time Reports ~9-11 ACS PRF Endowment: ~ $700 million 2022 Grants Budget: ~ $19.3 million 2022 Administrative Budget: ~ $4 million Herman Frasch Foundation for Chemical Research: ~ $2.5 million grant program/5-year period Irving S. Sigal Postdoctoral Fellowships: ~ $150,000/2-year period Work Design: Ensures the success of a major business unit or function. Has a significant impact on the organization’s policies, vision, and strategy. Develops and directs long-range plans in support of the organization’s strategy. Decisions are critical to organization-wide long-term success. Accountable for the organization’s policies. Participates in the development of the vision of the organization. Develops and implements strategies for functional area to support the overall organization strategy.

Position Accountabilities 

1. Leads, develops, and manages an integrated research portfolio supported by the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund and three other independent sponsored/endowed research grant programs.

2. Provides strategic guidance and leadership for the American Chemical Society Office of Research Grants and the ACS Petroleum Research Fund portfolio. Oversees administration of ACS PRF grants; has ultimate responsibility for accepting and approving variances to ACS PRF grant agreements, grant budgets, and grant terms and conditions; oversees administration of Herman Frasch Foundation for Chemical Research Grants in Agricultural Chemistry, and the Irving S. Sigal Postdoctoral Fellowships at the interface between chemistry and biology.

3. Works closely with the Director of Scientific Advancement to develop and implement the Fund’s vision and strategies, and maintains financial sustainability of all grant programs.

4. Manages the annual budgets and staff of the Office of Research Grants. Ensures staffing levels are commensurate with the workload.

5. Effective staff management to deliver solutions in a highly collaborative manner by partnering with stakeholders both within and external to the organization.

6. Clearly defines the role that the Office of Research Grants serves for the Society and defines its relationship with other Divisions and Units within the Society. Contributes significantly to building a positive image for the Society and the profession through promotion of accomplishments and successes of the Fund and other grant/fellowship programs.

7. Serves as the primary interface between the ACS Petroleum Research Fund and the scientific/engineering research community. Provides leadership within the community and ensures that the ACS PRF is providing support for the most optimal areas of research relevant to the Agreement of Transfer of Trust.

8. Serves as staff liaison to the ACS PRF Advisory Board; responsible for recommending candidates for the ACS PRF Advisory Board to the Chair of the ACS Board of Directors. Represents the Office of Research Grants within ACS governance committees responsible for oversight of the grant programs (Committee on Professional and Member Relations) and the ACS Petroleum Research Fund endowment (Committee on Pensions and Investments).

9. Serves as a member of the ACS Scientific Advancement Leadership Team. In this capacity, develops strategic goals for the team and the organization as a whole and participates in organization-wide initiatives and discussions. Advises and supports the Director of Scientific Advancement in interactions where high-level scientific judgment is required, for example, by serving as a representative at scientific meetings, reviewing studies for comment, and engaging in broader discussions on scientific advancement with multiple stakeholders.


Education/Experience/ Knowledge

​​​​​​​PhD in chemistry or related science; 12+ years of related experience, including academic teaching and research experience; knowledge of a broad area of science; significant experience in management of scientific proposals and grants. Leadership status within the community and significant management experience required. A proven track record of effective staff management, team building and collaboration both within an organization and with external entities, including international organizations.


Position Summary

Nearest Major Market: Washington DC

Job Segment: Research