• The Kavli Foundation
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Aug 17, 2020

Job Description

The Kavli Foundation seeks its next President and Chief Executive Officer to lead a highly respected, basic science foundation, to catalyze breakthrough research, globally in its four pivotal fields of science: astrophysics, theoretical physics, nanoscience and neuroscience. In two short decades, the Foundation has become an eminent, exceptionally well-developed institution, with an energized and impressively competent staff and an enabling Board of Directors.

The President of the Foundation plays a consequential role, globally, in the architecture of science. The Foundation has acquired a position as a funder, convener, and honest broker attracting leading scholars, donors, and policymakers to identify and to make strategic investments in the most exciting, promising, and inherently risky frontiers of human knowledge. The President is the primary face of the Foundation and will step into a key leadership role in science-related philanthropy, maintaining effective, productive relationships with the Foundation's Institutes and the Presidents, Provosts, and Deans of many of the world’s great universities, the Foundation's Norwegian partners (The Academy of Science and Letters and The Ministry of Education and Research), domestic and international government entities, the National Academies of the US and other countries, its long-standing partners in the Science Philanthropy Alliance, other program partners of the Foundation, and the scientific community at large. The President and CEO enables the Foundation to communicate effectively and persuasively, on complex scientific topics, with diverse science constituencies, public policymakers, and with the general public.

Great basic science depends on early and substantial investment. The Foundation has a unique, entrepreneurial model for science funding, that generates an impressive array of new themes and initiatives. Drawing on its highly developed ecology, the Foundation sponsors science initiative discussions that have secured billions in public and private funding. As the world increasingly relies on science for its most daunting problems, the Foundation and its President are expected to play an important role in the public’s engagement with science, with science policy, and with the future of basic science funding. The Foundation plans strategically and will commence in 2021 a ten-year, peer review of the Foundation, with the opportunity to imagine, identify, choose, and catalyze new initiatives in Kavli’s fields.

The founder, Fred Kavli, the Board of Directors that he chose, and the leadership and staff of the Foundation, have built an organization that has a rare position in the science ecology. They believe that, as humanity faces daunting global challenges, basic science holds the greatest promise for human wellbeing and that our understanding of the fundamental processes of the universe, of atomic structures, and of the human mind are more vital than ever.

The Foundation seeks a President who wants to make a “consequential difference in the entire science enterprise,” who will embody the Foundation’s aspirations, share its enthusiasm, and use its considerable assets to pursue novel ways to remain at the forefront of advancing scientific research.

John Isaacson and John Muckle are leading this search with Caitlin Barrett.