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Chief of Staff- Research

Date: Jun 10, 2021

Location: Philadelphia, PA, US

Company: Spark Therapeutics

Join the Spark Team


We were born of innovation, springing from the curiosity, imagination and dedication of remarkable scientists and healthcare visionaries. Our shared mission is to challenge the inevitability of genetic disease by discovering, developing, and delivering treatments in ways unimaginable – until now.


We don’t follow footsteps. We create the path.

Reporting to the Chief Scientific Officer, the Chief of Staff (CoS) will contribute to all activities related to Research at Spark. This leader will be accountable to create the right structure and process to support decision making, process efficiency, communication flow, and innovation.  The role will serve as a key advisor to the CSO and the Research leadership, acting as an integrator across functions at Spark and supporting the implementation of special projects while helping to drive and deliver Research.  This leader will be a model of professionalism, integrity and an example of Spark’s values. The leader will be comfortable interacting at all levels of the organization, flexible and able to identify needs of the organization proactively. 




  • Help Research leaders identify priorities and weave therapeutic priorities into an aligned strategic plan for all of Research in support of Spark’s agreed goals.  
  • Lead efforts to align the Therapeutic area teams’ time and resources with overall strategy and regularly assess progress against agreed metrics
  • Act as a key thought partner, brainstorming & identifying solutions to challenges across Research
  • Oversee meeting preparation and planning for Board of Directors; support CSO in managing interactions with board chair and committee leaders 
  • Oversee planning and preparation of Research governance meetings 
  • Assist in the development and execution of long-term Research strategy to deliver agreed Spark goals
  • Drive performance of Spark Research and in fulfilment of Spark’s Research mission and objectives
  • As strategic partner to the CSO, define Research leadership focus and shape Research objectives, KPIs, and financial goals
  • Help facilitate a culture of innovation, collaboration, and appropriate risk-taking through personal example, mentorship, and accomplishments.
  • Stay aware and current on latest scientific innovation in drug discovery and in allied functional areas
  • Maintain holistic responsibility for driving the Research portfolio forward, as “Chief of Staff” to the CSO and balance of both long-term strategic vision and operational execution support.



  • Plan leadership team retreats, developing objectives and agenda, coordinating with executive assistant on logistics
  • Coordinate the standing executive team meeting including meeting preparation, invitation of guests, meeting management and time keeping, minutes and action items
  • Oversee Research Strategy: define agenda, coordinate Research leadership meetings including minutes and action items, execute strategic reviews
  • May mentor more junior team members through feedback on key decisions, issue resolution, and responses to challenges
  • Assist Research senior leadership with hiring decisions and provide oversight of overall headcount and resource deployment



  • Manage a variety of long-term, cross-organizational projects (i.e. formalizing the corporate strategic planning process, cultural initiatives, etc.)
  • Respond to the day-to-day needs of the executive including preparing presentations and correspondence, attending internal or external meetings on behalf of executive, preparing talking points, taking notes at meetings the CSO attends
  • Act as Research Chief of Staff, senior advisor to the CSO across all strategic & operational initiatives, activities, deliverables and special projects
  • Coordinate internal and external Research communications: drive transparency throughout Research, facilitate connectivity, enable within-function and cross-functional reporting
  • Coordinate scientific activities within Research, including seminars, internal scientific meetings, advisory boards
  • Contributes to Research Portfolio Governance: deliver portfolio analytics, manage governance review, facilitate tracking and project management
  • Manage the overall Research workflow, liaising within Research and beyond (e.g. Legal, Finance, HR, Procurement) to ensure that deliverables are provided on schedule, surface and resolve bottlenecks, and modify business processes to meet Spark’s evolving needs
  • Aligns goals with those of team members and collaborates towards their achievement
  • Help facilitate a culture of scientific knowledge sharing and exchange that provides learning opportunities for team members
  • Foster Spark’s Culture.  Role model the Spark Values. Create an environment where team members thrive by living our truths, always in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Emphasize to employees that “how” they achieve performance objectives is just as important as “what” they accomplish.




  • 15 years of experience in the pharma / biotech industry, with demonstrated deep understanding of drug discovery and development practices and significant operational and management experience across a large portfolio in pharma / biotech field.
  • Academic experience is preferred but not strictly required
  • Ph.D. degree in Chemistry, Biology, or related field preferred.
  • Demonstrated program management expertise, specifically the ability to scope projects, identify stakeholders, build timelines and budgets, define milestones, provide on-going coordination and leadership including appropriate escalation as required




  • Broad understanding of the drug discovery process, objectives, metrics, and how they serve Spark’s overall mission and business goals
  • Accurate and concise communication skills are essential
  • Proactive, resourceful, self-motivated, and should possess exemplary interpersonal skills to interact professionally with all levels in the organization.
  • Ability to act independently through complex cross-functional matrices and international sites is essential.
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain confidentiality
  • Has passion for the Spark’s mission, vision and values





Nearest Major Market: Philadelphia