Posted: Nov 16, 2021

Director of Science Operations

Application Deadline: N/A

Link to the Harvard University job posting site:

Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) seeks a Director of Science Operations to lead the science operations activities of the school, serve as SEAS’ safety officer, and oversee SEAS research cores. Reporting to the SEAS Dean for Research, the Director of Science Operations at SEAS serves as a key liaison between SEAS researchers, facilities, space planning and Harvard Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) to ensure that SEAS facilities meet the operational needs, expectations, and safety standards of and for our researchers. The Director’s role spans the SEAS Cambridge campus and the Allston Science and Engineering Complex (SEC) campus.

Job-Specific Responsibilities

The Director of Science Operations has the following primary responsibilities:

Environmental Safety and Compliance Officer (ESCO) for SEAS

  • Serves on the Harvard University Laboratory Safety Committee (LSC), a governing body that reviews and approves University policies related to laboratory safety
  • Works with the LSC to advise the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR) and Harvard Office for Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) on risk management issues related to laboratory safety, evaluates potential hazards, and reviews the findings of laboratory inspections conducted by EH&S
  • Works closely with EH&S and SEAS Lab Safety Advisors to create a culture of safety through regular, organized SEAS-wide safety meetings, providing resources and a point of contact for all relevant safety issues
  • Coordinates the model of service that EH&S provides on the SEAS Allston and Cambridge campuses, working with EH&S, SEAS facilities and SEAS management
  • Serves as a resource for COVID and related guidelines and information, works with facilities and others to operationalize occupation plans and guidelines

Oversight of research cores at SEAS

The Director oversees a total of ten research cores, including seven recharge cores (i.e., fee-for-service cores) and three internal SEAS research cores, plus additional shared facilities. The cores managed by SEAS staff, under the supervision of the Director, include the 3D printing core, molecular & cellular biology core, robotics core, motion capture labs, and robotics machine shop. The cores managed by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), with guidance provided by the Director, include the vivarium, materials characterization and analysis, soft lithography, EM imaging & analysis, and optical imaging cores. Additional shared facilities include glass wash, autoclaves, and a freezer farm.

In this role, the Director:

  • Manages six technical staff including professional development and performance evaluation, building a team community and atmosphere
  • For all cores and facilities, provides guidance, insight, and oversight (for non-FAS cores) for budgets, service rates, equipment purchases, approval of purchases, space governance, and policies of the shared facilities
  • Promotes the usage of the cores by researchers at SEAS, Harvard, and affiliated researchers
  • For the two recharge cores managed by SEAS, the 3D printing core and molecular & cellular biology core (which are official SEAS University Academic Service Centers), the Director along with the SEAS Finance office, is responsible for demonstrating compliance with federal requirements
  • Collaborates with senior leadership to establish and maintain governance structures, including the management and operating models of research spaces and cores at SEAS

Other science operations processes

  • Serves as an advisor to the Dean for Research and Assistant Dean for Campus Planning and Design in the design and configuration of PI research lab expansions and new lab development, equipment purchases, and lab moves
  • Assumes leadership roles on Dean-initiated task forces such as the future of certain University shops, and equipment and space needs for current and future faculty
  • Works in collaboration with EH&S, Facilities, Office for Sustainability, and SEAS researchers to provide research support at all levels from biohazard disposal to ventilation
  • Serves as a local resource for all areas of laboratory compliance (environmental health and safety, laboratory animals, etc.) and assists research groups in coordinating support and implementing recommendations from EH&S, IACUC, and other central offices
  • Oversees the controlled substance program for research purposes in the Allston SEC, serving as registered recipient of the Federal DEA license and MA Controlled Substances Registration for the Allston Campus, oversees the tax-free ethanol program in Allston

Basic Qualifications

Ph.D. or other advanced degree (e.g., master’s degree) in life or physical sciences or a related engineering field, plus at least 2 years of experience in a research laboratory (beyond education).

Additional Qualifications and Skills

Prior experience managing or participating in a research core strongly preferred. Prior supervisory/management experience strongly preferred. Prior experience in a wet lab environment (e.g., life science, chemistry) strongly preferred. Able to thrive in a dynamic environment and resolve complex issues. Responsive to tasks, with fast turnaround times. Excellent communication skills and ability to work collaboratively with diverse teams.