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Program Associate, Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative

Posted by
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation | Palo Alto, CA
Logo of Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Published 14 days ago

Gordon and Betty Moore established the foundation to create positive outcomes for future generations. In pursuit of that vision, we foster path-breaking scientific discovery, environmental conservation, patient care improvements and preservation of the special character of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Guided by this vision and the Statement of Founders' Intent, each day we strive to make a significant and positive impact on the world. We tackle large, important issues at a scale where we believe we can make significant and measurable impacts. We know that our ability to take risks and make long-term and relatively large commitments allows us to undertake challenges not accessible to many other organizations.

Foundation facts

  • Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA
  • $6.7+ billion in assets
  • Annual foundation budget of over $300 million
  • About 100 employees
  • Four program areas : Environmental Conservation, Science, Patient Care, and the San Francisco Bay Area

Science Program

The Science Program funds research that acquires new knowledge and asks new questions, enables new science through technology, breaks down barriers, and enhances society’s understanding of the inherent value of science. For more information about the Science program and its initiatives, please visit: Science Program

Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative

The Science Program’s Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative is a newly launched effort to support the international research community to more deeply understand the evolution, physiology and ecology of aquatic symbioses. We make grants to universities and research organizations to enable scientists to develop concepts and technologies that will illuminate how symbiotic associations originated and function today, and how they contribute to marine and freshwater ecosystems. We support current and emerging leaders through investigator awards, multidisciplinary collaborations, community resources and projects to develop new instruments and methods.

For more information please visit: Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative.

The Position

The Program Associate provides support and coordination for the Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative. The primary responsibilities are to ensure that the systems to manage grants and workflows are implemented efficiently through effective coordination of team processes and activities, and to more broadly assist the initiative in achieving its strategic objectives. The Program Associate reports to the Program Director of the Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative.

The Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative team is the same group that manages the Marine Microbiology Initiative, which will conclude in 2021. The Program Associate will provide parallel support and coordination for this initiative.

Key Responsibilities


  • Support the Program Director to coordinate grantmaking processes and strategic planning.
  • Coordinate team activities, organize team meetings and calendars, archive documents, and carry out other administrative duties as requested.
  • Maintain meeting agendas, create and distribute meeting notes and synthesis documents, and maintain action items.
  • Help coordinate calls for proposals and manage reviews, as needed.
  • Organize and schedule meetings with members of the research community, arrange travel for meeting participants as needed, and manage event expenses and participant reimbursements.
  • Collaborate with finance, legal, grants administration and information technology departments to achieve programmatic outcomes and smooth foundation operations.
  • Apply initiative and foundation knowledge in responding to inquiries in a courteous and timely manner.


  • Track initiative allocation, ensuring informed financial decision-making by the Program Director and regular coordination with the Science Program Manager.
  • Support the Program Director and Program Officers to maintain grant records and to monitor the flow of narrative reports, financial reports and grant payments. Employ project management tools to manage information about the grant pipeline and prepare reporting templates for grantees.
  • Communicate with grantees and prospective grantees regarding grantmaking procedures.
  • Assist with analysis of prospective grantees’ legal and financial status and eligibility to receive foundation funds.
  • Analyze grantee financial reports as needed.
  • Collaborate with team to assess data analysis needs.
  • Track media, news outlets and scientific journals; organize scientific articles by themes; and share relevant information with the initiative team.
  • Manage contracts with external vendors.
  • Actively participate in and assist with Science Program and Foundation meetings, trainings, and other activities, and help facilitate internal and external meetings.
  • Give presentations as needed to the initiative team, the Science Team, foundation staff, and at meetings with grantees.

Desired Experience and Education

  • Bachelor’s degree (science field preferred, but not required).
  • Demonstrated volunteer and/or work experience in administration and/or project management.
  • Interest in scientific research (such as evolution, ecology, microbiology, aquatic science, earth sciences, chemistry, etc.) demonstrated through school, work, extracurricular activities, and/or volunteer programs.
  • Familiarity with academic administration, funding, and department and laboratory structures is also beneficial.


The ideal candidate will have:

  • Strong attention to detail and organizational skills.
  • Excellent project management and analytical skills.
  • Strong team orientation, positive attitude, integrity, self-motivation, discipline and reliability.
  • Ability to work independently, take initiative, manage competing priorities and goals for projects, meet deadlines, and multi-task while working well under pressure and consulting with Program Director and Program Officers as appropriate.
  • Ability to think critically and provide practical solutions based on thorough analysis in the face of real-time issues.
  • Ability to exercise judgment within defined procedures and practices to determine appropriate courses of action.
  • Ability to obtain knowledge in a variety of different fields and organizational systems.
  • Willingness to ask for help and identify appropriate resources to accomplish tasks.
  • Strong written, spoken, graphic, and inter-personal communication skills (e.g. for handling phone inquiries, PowerPoint presentations and correspondence).
  • Proficiency with office productivity software (e.g. Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.).


The ideal candidate will also demonstrate the following attributes that describe how we at the Foundation strive to do our work with each other and our partners.

  • Committed to Excellence
  • Passionate
  • Collegial
  • Open and Honest
  • Humble and Self-Aware

Compensation and Benefits

Compensation includes a competitive base salary and an excellent package of health, retirement savings and other benefits.

 Application Process

To apply, please visit our careers page at to submit your cover letter, resume and application.

Applicants must be legally authorized to work in the United States. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the ordinance.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes a diverse pool of candidates for this search. We are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and welcome individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply.  

All correspondence will remain confidential.

Gordon and Betty Moore established the foundation to create positive outcomes for future generations. In pursuit of that vision, we foster path-breaking scientific discovery, environmental conservation, patient care improvements and…

Details at a glance

  • On-site Location
  • Full Time Schedule
  • 4-Year Degree Required
  • Entry level


1661 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304

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