Executive Director, Research Strategy and Development – (Los Angeles, California, United States)

Executive Director, USC Office of Research Strategy & Development


USC’s Office of Research Strategy & Development (RSD), formed in 2006, is a service component of the Office of Research & Innovation with the mission to support USC faculty and staff in the strategic pursuit of competitive federal funding opportunities with a targeted focus on large, multidisciplinary research endeavors. RSD provides a wide variety of support services for faculty across the university, from proposal conception to post-submission support. These services include serving as a liaison between the federal funding agencies and faculty, providing proposal preparation assistance, supporting the Associate Vice President of Research Strategy & Innovation and the broader Office of Research & Innovation, and participating in university-wide research development and faculty engagement activities. While the focus is on federal funding opportunities, RSD also works to pursue funding from state agencies and foundations. For more information about RSD, please visit our website at https://rsd.usc.edu.

RSD is seeking an Executive Director to lead its team. The Executive Director is responsible for supporting the development of competitive grant applications and the generation of funding necessary to support the university in its strategic objective of becoming one of the most influential and productive research universities in the world. The Executive Director will collaborate with faculty and staff across the university, in order to cultivate faculty relationships and enhance their capabilities to obtain external funding support.

Job Accountabilities

Reporting to the Associate Vice President of Research Strategy & Innovation, the Executive Director will have the duties and responsibilities outlined below:


  • Provide thought leadership to develop and execute long-term strategic plans and scientific vision for sponsored research programs

  • Oversee the timely completion of strategic analyses of university research assets and strengths, as requested by senior university leadership for various internal and external engagements

  • Generate strategic reports related to the potential expansion of major USC research facilities and programs, highlighting relevant USC assets and potential areas for opportunity

  • Provide insight and analyses related to faculty recruitment with the goal of enhancing the university’s research capabilities

  • Contribute to the strategic research direction of the university, especially through collaborating with the USC Office of Research Initiatives & Infrastructure to develop seed funding for opportunities that will ultimately be supported by RSD


  • Track, identify, and distribute funding opportunities for significant research advancement

  • Build strategic cross-school research partnerships and external collaborations

  • Provide leadership in the creation of major research proposals

  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of existing and emerging institutional research strengths and areas for opportunity

  • Supervise RSD Program Manager to oversee RSD strategic and grant-related operations and maintain trajectory of office proposal support services

Innovation and Ecosystem Building

  • Work in partnership with other Research & Innovation units, including the Office of Research Initiatives and Infrastructure and the USC Stevens Center for Innovation, to integrate and streamline RSD services and strategic vision across the research development pipeline

  • Coordinate the pursuit of external research support with other activities that are supported by the Office of Research & Innovation and USC’s Innovation Ecosystem

  • Facilitate commercialization of USC research by coordinating with USC Office of Research Initiatives and Infrastructure and USC Stevens Center for Innovation to generate call for proposals

  • Utilize innovation and commercialization opportunities to build research capacity

  • Support the cooperative research development between USC faculty and small businesses, especially through the development of SBIR/STTR proposals


  • Meet with key institutional research stakeholders to promote and tailor office support services to the needs of the university’s research community

  • Coordinate the promotion of research activities and collaborations supported by RSD of the Office of Research & Innovation via the development and dissemination of creative products, including video and print format

  • Support the acknowledgement of faculty research accomplishments through the facilitation of nominations to awards granted by national and international institutions

  • Develop internal and external partnerships to enhance the diversity of USC research programs and efforts

The candidate for Executive Director, Research Strategy and Development will have at minimum:

  • Bachelor’s degree in administration or related field

  • Minimum of 10 years’ experience

  • Demonstrable track record in leading a research development program and developing proposals for scientific, philanthropic, or other organizations, assembling interdisciplinary research teams

Preferred Qualifications

  • Advanced degree in administration or related field

  • 12 years of relevant experience in an academic research environment

  • 7 years of academic leadership and managerial experience

  • Demonstrated experience working closely on major research proposals, including managing all components and aspects, either in a program manager capacity or business/strategic development capacity

  • Demonstrated experience in successfully establishing major government funded research efforts, with a proven ability to align university priority areas and strengths with federal agency guidelines and areas of interest

  • Demonstrated experience developing key strategic analyses and reports for use by senior leadership in a timely manner

  • Demonstrated experience developing creative, scientific products to promote key research collaborations and accomplishments

  • Experience building strategic partnerships with external organizations and institutions, including community colleges, other private and public universities, community organizations, etc.

Application Procedure:

Resume and cover letter are required (may be uploaded as one file). ** Please do not submit your application without these documents.**

The annual base salary range for this position is $225,000 – $274,000. When extending an offer of employment, the University of Southern California considers factors such as (but not limited to) the scope and responsibilities of the position, the candidate’s work experience, education/training, key skills, internal peer equity, federal, state, and local laws, contractual stipulations, grant funding, as well as external market and organizational considerations.

USC has excellent benefits, including health benefits for staff & their family with access to the renowned university medical network; eligibility for retirement plans with employer contributions once you meet Program’s eligibility; tuition benefits for staff & their family; free professional development online courses; central Los Angeles location with easy access to commuter trains, buses & free tram pick up services; discounts to football, basketball & other campus events.

The University of Southern California values diversity and is committed to equal opportunity in employment.

Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree

Minimum Experience: 10 years

Minimum Skills: Demonstrable track record in leading a research development program and developing proposals for scientific, philanthropic, or other organizations, assembling interdisciplinary research teams.

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