Job Details

University of California Santa Barbara
  • Position Number: 2769390
  • Location: Santa Barbara, CA
  • Position Type: Business - Finance

Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives and Operations at the California NanoSystems Institute, Santa Barbara


Percent time: 100% time
Anticipated start: February 15, 2022 or later Position duration: Three years


Open date: January 13th, 2022

Next review date: Wednesday, Jan 27, 2022 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Thursday, Mar 31, 2022 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.


General Summary of Duties and Responsibilities:

The Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives and Operations ("ED") provides senior leadership to the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) which is one of four Institutes within the systemwide, California Institutes for Science and Innovation program (Cal-ISI). The ED will be responsible for the ideation, management and execution of CNSI strategic initiatives and center level projects. In addition, the ED will lead the development and implementation of a comprehensive array of Innovation and Entrepreneurship programs aimed at the diverse and increasing array of CNSI constituents and stakeholders at the campus, system and state levels. Key to these programs will be increasing engagement with industry and funding partners through workforce development and innovative support/training programs. The ED will advocate for the Institute within the UC-system while also managing CNSI's non-technical operations and activities. CNSI currently manages ~$100M in funding and provides critical campus-wide infrastructure and support to the broad science and engineering community.
The ED will serve as CNSI's chief operating officer and work closely with CNSI Co-Directors to formulate and implement projects and processes to enhance and expand CNSI's unique mission. This mission is to foster knowledge and applications of nanotechnology, from quantum science to sustainable manufacturing, for the benefit of California. Through developing infrastructure and partnerships, CNSI serves as a center for research breakthroughs and workforce training, providing a competitive edge for UC researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs to create opportunities for new knowledge, discovery, and inventions for the betterment of society. By strategically linking these capabilities and partnerships, the ED can better align educational programs and workforce needs to maintain University leadership and enhance impact.

Job Functions and Duties:

1. Strategic Programs and Strategy (50%, Daily)
Reporting directly to the Co-Directors of CNSI, the Executive Director is responsible for providing senior leadership over ongoing strategic programs including, but not limited to, contracts, grants and industrial partnerships. The ED will lead the development, launch and execution of new strategic programs with a focus on multi-investigator projects and faculty-based startups. Advance and expand CNSI's unique mission and impact on campus, within the Cal-ISI network and with the University of California Office of the President (UCOP). New strategic programs and strategies will focus on: (1) innovation and entrepreneurship, with an emphasis on the comprehensive support of UCSB's tech-based startup companies and bridging the gap between academia and industry; (2) identification of new multi-investigator projects that will build and transform UCSB research directions and lead to significant growth in the UCSB research enterprise; (3) expansion of collaborations and partnerships with the industry sector; and (4) increase CNSI's resources by developing and implementing fundraising/development strategies. The ED will also maintain ongoing review and analysis of strategic programs and independently assess outcomes and pivot, as needed. Build and maintain strong relationships with local, state and national partners/stakeholders for supporting strategic initiatives.
2. System Engagement/Communications/Marketing (15%, Daily)
Reporting directly to the Co-Directors of CNSI, serve as the Institute's senior advocate, both externally and internally within the UC system. Lead the development, launch and execution of new programs designed to increase CNSI's visibility at the federal, state and local levels, coordinating with central offices, as appropriate. Build internal team and hire staff to oversee design and management of CNSI strategic communications, marketing and development opportunities. Manage CNSI relationship, and reports to, the UC Office of the President.
3. Operations(15%,Daily)
Serve as chief operating officer for CNSI, exercising management authority on behalf of the Co-Directors for appropriate sensitive or complex issues related to Institute operations and programs. Oversee, manage and provide direction to all non-technical staff who are responsible for the Institute's operational and administrative activities, including: budget planning and oversight, financial management, contract and grant administration, personnel matters, recharge services, space matters, office management and program management. Coordinate with campus and/or system-wide central offices, as appropriate. Maintain ongoing review and analysis of strategic programs, promote efficiency and independently assess outcomes and update, as needed.
4. Workforce Development (15%, Weekly)
Manage CNSI staff and work with partners to develop and equip UC researchers and students with skills needed for the next-generation workforce. This includes, but is not limited to, projects based on industry-academic internships, entrepreneurial training, and professional development.
5. SpecialProjects(5%,Quarterly)
Perform special projects as requested by the Co-Directors of CNSI. Work with other CalISI Executive Directors and leadership to identify emerging priorities for the State of California and UC system. Develop collaborative projects that leverage Cal-ISI and CNSI resources.

The University is especially interested in candidates who can contribute to the diversity and excellence of the academic community through research, teaching, and service as appropriate to the position.


Basic qualifications (required at time of application)

  • Professional degree (PhD, MBA, JD, or similar).
  • 10+ years experience in research administration, tech transfer, university-industry relations, or similar.

    Additional qualifications (required at time of start)

  • 5+ years executive experience, including leading teams, managing multiple projects and complex financial budgets

    Preferred qualifications Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Broad knowledge of the policies and legal issues that relate to university research activities including, but not limited to, intellectual property/technology development, the mechanisms for collaborating and partnering with industry, recharge and shared use facilities, extramural funding,
    research compliance and research integrity.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish Innovation and Entrepreneurship programs that impact and enhance all stages of university-affiliated companies. This includes applicable laws, regulations and university policies. Development of appropriate resources and partnerships for success at each stage of the startup lifecycle from incubation to launch support and growth. Strong leadership skills with the ability to collaborate and lead a diverse array of stakeholders.
  • Ability to establish mission-relevant goals and develop/structure new programs at the campus and system-wide level.
  • Ability to understand and manage complex financial budgets, government programs and industry-university alliances. Strong analytical and creative skills in problem solving, strategic thinking, staff development and conflict resolution.
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate and lead a diverse array of stakeholders, to establish mission-relevant goals and to develop/structure new programs with campus and system-wide impact, and successfully communicate results
  • Strong analytical and creative skills in problem solving, strategic thinking, staff development and conflict resolution
  • Experience in establishing and managing Innovation and Entrepreneurship programs and/or Workforce Development programs
  • Experience working within the University of California, including knowledge of financial, sponsored projects, and research administration protocols and systems.
  • Connections to and experience working within CA Central Coast innovation ecosystem


    Document requirements

  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.
  • Cover Letter

    Reference requirements

  • 3 required (contact information only)
  • References for finalists will be contacted via telephone or e-mail by a committee member.

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    The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
    As a condition of employment, you will be required to comply with the University of California SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Policy All Covered Individuals under the policy must provide proof of Full Vaccination or, if applicable, submit a request for Exception (based on Medical Exemption, Disability, and/or Religious Objection) or Deferral (based on pregnancy) no later than the applicable deadline. New University of California employees must (a) provide proof of receiving at least one dose of a COVID-19 Vaccine no later than 14 calendar days after their first date of employment and provide proof of Full Vaccination no later than eight weeks after their first date of employment; or (b) if applicable, submit a request for Exception or Deferral no later than 14 calendar days after their first date of employment. (Capitalized terms in this paragraph are defined in the policy.) Federal, state, or local public health directives may impose additional requirements.

    Santa Barbara, CA

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