BrightFocus Foundation is a premier source of private research funding to defeat Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. Through investing in an ongoing research portfolio of  more than 220 awards, we are working toward cures for the medical conditions we all fear most: loss of mind and loss of sight. Our public awareness efforts share the latest research findings and best practices with families impacted by these diseases.

Our talented, dedicated team brings together a wide range of talents and disciplines to advance our mission of ending diseases of mind and sight. We hope you will consider joining us at BrightFocus.

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Department: Scientific Affairs

Position Title: Director of Scientific Programs, Neuroscience

Supervisor: Vice President, Scientific Affairs

Position Summary

The Director of Scientific Programs, Neuroscience (DSPN) is responsible for the scientific execution of the annual BrightFocus research pre- and post-award programs for Alzheimer’s Disease Research (ADR), which includes both the ‘core’ and ‘special opportunities’ grants, as well as any other separate ‘lane’ of grants or other scientific granting medium that are assigned by the VPSA. The primary responsibilities of the DSPN are to ensure a high level of scientific accountability within the BrightFocus award programs, and to foster strong relationships with the scientific community. The DSPN is responsible for supporting communications and fundraising efforts by leveraging these relationships to meet program goals of the organization. In addition, the DSPN will work with internal stakeholders to pivot messaging and help further develop BrightFocus’ role as a thought leader and trusted resource. This includes informing senior leadership and management about opportunities and any potential issues. On occasion, the DSPN may be asked by VPSA to participate in BrightFocus organization-wide/inter-departmental initiatives and activities.

Duties, Responsibility and Functions

Primary Responsibilities:

The DSPN works closely with the Director of Scientific Programs, Vision Science (DSPVS) and the Scientific Program Grants Manager (SPGM), as overseen by the Vice President of Scientific Affairs (VPSA), to ensure the smooth operations of the grants process of all BrightFocus scientific programs, and to ensure that the experience by and delivery of support to applicants and reviewers is consistent.

Core Award Program

  • Pre-award
  • Implement research initiatives related to the foundation’s annual award program.
  • Work closely with Scientific Program Grants Manager (SPGM) to coordinate proposal submissions, including assistance with plan, design and implementation of all application templates, instructions and online forms for submission of proposals.
  • Serve as point of contact for all applicants and applicant institutions with scientific questions regarding suitability of projects for BrightFocus funding mechanisms.
  • Recruit and nominate new scientists to the ADR Scientific Review Committee, as required.
  • Review
  • Communicate review cycle related information to internal stakeholders (e.g., website, development, public affairs, strategic partnerships, finance, etc).
  • Perform preliminary scientific review of proposals prior to formal merit peer-review. Financial budgets and supporting information in application are reviewed for appropriateness to the proposed science specific aims.
  • Responsible for managing the annual award program scientific peer-review process, with attention to identification of any conflicts of interest between applicants and reviewers. The DSPN is responsible for ensuring that required professional opinions are provided for all proposals submitted through the annual award program.
  • Work with leadership of Scientific Review Committee to determine appropriate expertise required to review proposals.
  • Represent BrightFocus during in-person meetings of the Scientific Review Committees.
  • Post-Review
  • Contract negotiations: Negotiate Intellectual Property agreements between funded institutions and BrightFocus as it relates to approved ADR awards. Work in concert with SPGM to ensure proper merging of Terms and Conditions and Intellectual Property agreements.
  • Responsible for all aspects of scientific progress report evaluation, and follow-up with grantees for matters like milestones, impediments and requests for readjustment of specific aims. The DSPN receives, evaluates and reports on quantitative and qualitative progress of all projects during the award and following termination (i.e., publications, intellectual property, subsequent funding, grantee testimonials, etc.). Prepares impact assessment data of the programs for the Vice President of Scientific Affairs (VPSA).
  • Ensure recommended projects are not duplicative of other funding support, by electronic methods as well as communication with related funding agencies. Questions from applicants about the science of the reviewer critiques will be handled by the DSPN.
  • Responsible for recommending appropriate administrative actions related to research outcomes.
  • Responsible for the final approval for Grantee requests for complex post-award changes regarding specific aims, changes in key personnel, and other requests. The administrative aspects of these requests are executed by the SPGM.

Special Opportunities, Partnerships and Other Scientific Granting Medium

  • Work with the VPSA and President & CEO to develop scientific grants program special awards, partnership opportunities, and other scientific granting medium that falls outside of the traditional core award program. The DSPN will then carry out pre-award, review and post-review in a fashion like that carried out for the core award programs, recruiting and nominating new subject matter experts as required for purposes of project vetting.

Scientific Liaison Duties

  • Under direction of the VPSA, the DSPN is the primary contact for the portfolio of current and former ADR BrightFocus investigators, continuing the cultivating of those recipients as future volunteers of the organization
  • Develop and maintain relationships with grantees, academic research community, and other mission-related organizations.
  • Develop and manage the relationships with the SRC Co-Chair volunteers to seek their guidance and support for the ADR program
  • Travel to academic conferences or other venues in order to conduct research on ADR BrightFocus projects and build expertise in neuroscience research areas. It is expected that the DSPN will obtain cross-training to become familiar with the current state of vision research associated with BrightFocus’ other programs, Macular Degeneration Research (MDR) and National Glaucoma Research (NGR), including traveling to and representing BrightFocus at vision scientific conferences, as directed by the VPSA.
  • Serve as a scientific liaison to internal staff, keeping internal stake holders apprised of developments in BrightFocus-sponsored awards, and review select documents, web pages, direct mail copy, and other forms of external communication, for scientific rigor, as needed.
  • Work with internal colleagues to leverage their knowledge of neuroscience to identify and recommend opportunities for BrightFocus’ communication and messaging about science and researchers.
  • Occasionally serve as spokesperson for foundation, as required by the VPSA and organizational needs.

Other Duties

  • Assist VPSA in reports to the Board of Directors regarding progress.
  • Works closely with the VPSA to identify and recruit expert speakers for panels, conferences and meetings, and other BrightFocus organized and sponsored events.
  • Special projects, as directed by the VPSA

Secondary Responsibilities:

  • Represent Scientific Affairs on various committees, as designated by VPSA
  • On occasion, may be asked by VPSA to participate in BrightFocus organization-wide/inter-departmental initiatives and activities
  • Other duties as assigned by VPSA


  • Ph.D., preferably in a scientific field related to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, with minimum 6 years related experience.
  • Detailed knowledge of scientific research, as relates to BrightFocus programs.
  • Ability to translate scientific research into value for internal and external stakeholders.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills required.
  • Ability to garner the respect and support of all levels in the organization, scientific and academic communities.
  • Successful experience in planning, prioritizing, organizing, and follow through.
  • Proven experience with public speaking on scientific topics
  • Experience with performing on collaborative projects
  • Experience in managing multiple projects simultaneously, meeting deadlines, and ensuring successful implementation
  • Experience with volunteer/scientist management/coordination
  • Familiarity with computers and grants management database software and cloud-based systems
  • Strongly prefer non-profit grants management experience.
  • Ability to travel

Key Competencies

  • Attention to detail
  • Initiative
  • Reliability
  • Thrives in a collaborative, customer service-based environment
  • Flexibility to interact and collaborate with employees in various positions within the organization, and with external stakeholders in the general scientific community

HOW TO APPLY: Please submit your resume, salary requirements, and cover letter to with “DSP, Neuroscience” in the Subject line for consideration.


BrightFocus Foundation (BrightFocus) is at the forefront of brain and eye health by promoting awareness and driving innovative research worldwide to help eradicate diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. To learn more about BrightFocus, visit

BrightFocus is committed to the full utilization of all human resources and to a policy of equal opportunity. In accordance with applicable laws, it is our policy to recruit, hire, train and promote individuals, as well as administer any and all personnel actions, without regard to any legally-protected characteristic including, but not limited to, race, age, color, religion, sex, marital status, national origin, physical or mental disability, or veteran status.

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