Director of Global Research Operations, HaSET

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Boston, USA
Full time Staff

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Director of Global Research Operations, HaSET

Job Summary

The Department of Epidemiology, at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, studies the frequency, distribution, and determinants of disease in humans, a fundamental science of public health. In addition to pursuing ground-breaking global research initiatives, we educate and prepare future medical leaders and practitioners as part of our mission to ignite positive changes in the quality of health across the world.

The HaSET ("happiness" in Amharic) Maternal and Child Health Research Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Boston Children's Hospital invites applications for a Director of Global Research Operations to lead Dr. Grace Chan's global maternal and child health research program. Dr. Chan's current program, HaSET works closely with partners in Ethiopia and Ethiopia's Federal Ministry of Health to generate evidence to improve maternal and child health programs and policies. The program's success recently secured additional funding to expand research operations for several nested studies. See for more information.

The Director of Global Research Operations will provide full-time research and administrative management for a team of over 150 staff spanning four institutions in the US and Ethiopia: the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston Children's Hospital, St. Paul's Hospital Millennium Medical College, and the Ethiopian Public Health Institute. The Director will be responsible for overseeing all of HaSET's global operations by working closely with Dr. Grace Chan on strategic planning for HaSET; leading the program expansion with additional studies; and overseeing core organizational elements including research operations, financial planning, human resources management, research administration and compliance, and resource management.

Job-Specific Responsibilities
Duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

Research Program Operations:

  • Manage the portfolio of a large maternal and child health research program in Ethiopia with multiple funding streams and subsidies
  • Strategically plan and develop current and new research studies and initiatives
  • Work directly with Country PIs, HaSET Country Director, and research team to develop, implement, and manage HaSET's operational infrastructure, coordinated and harmonized across four institutions, research offices, and field site
  • Oversee the allocation of staff, funds, and resources to new initiatives based on need
  • Oversee implementation of study protocols, develop and execute project work plans, protocols, and objectives, analyzing and tracking progress to meet quality targets and deadlines
  • Develop standard operating procedures (SOPs) for new research projects, create administrative policies and procedures tailored to new studies to ensure programmatic success
  • Create workflows, assign roles and responsibilities to staff, and ensure all necessary resources are allocated to ensure operational success
  • Identify obstacles and challenges to operational success, propose solutions, and implement problem-solving actions as needed
  • Develop and manage complex relationships with international subcontractors, stakeholders, and partner academic institutions and government entities
  • Serve as the primary contact for the PI at an executive level, including financials management, compliance, legal, human resources, and shipments internally and at partnering institutions, etc.
  • Oversee administrative activities of projects, including file system organization, procurement, reimbursements, inventory management, communications, meeting management, and travel arrangements
  • Oversee program communication efforts to develop and produce all program materials including HR recruitment, program websites, and newsletters
  • Lead HaSET weekly leadership and management calls

Research Administration:

  • Ensure all regulatory compliance is up to date and research protocols are strictly followed
  • Oversee IRB applications, track submissions and modifications, and ensure research is conducted following ethical standards
  • Coordinate overall grant related administrative work. Direct grant proposal processes, prepare and draft research proposals, develop administrative and financial components of the application, draft progress reports, present scientific reports to external stakeholders, and facilitate progress meetings
  • Research and identify grants and other external funding opportunities
  • Strategize, develop, and implement key management policies and operating practices, including Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs), Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), subcontracts, material transfer agreements, and data access agreements

Financial Management:

  • Lead financial operations for the PI's global research portfolio, including developing complex annual budgets, conducting specialized financial analysis and modeling in partnership with Grants Managers, leading monthly calls with Grants Managers, and ensuring compliance with funding terms and conditions as well as institution policies
  • Monitor budgets and spending across four institutions; identify, analyze, and resolve complex discrepancies; and revise budget and spending plans as appropriate
  • Manage international subrecipients, including subaward development, amendments, monitoring, and payment processes
  • Identify obstacles and challenges to resource management and propose solutions as needed
  • Negotiate with vendors and facilitate contracts and subawards on behalf of projects

Personnel Management:

  • Responsible for effective staff management, including recruitment and onboarding; training and development; workflow and performance management; and the promotion of an inclusive and innovative work environment
  • Supervise and build the operational capacity of a diverse team of over 150 staff (program managers, coordinators, supervisors, research assistants, data collectors, administrative staff, and trainees) in Boston and Ethiopia, provide staff mentoring and training
  • Directly supervise up to four full-time employees and indirectly manage up to four reports in Ethiopia. Provide management support to other managers on the team
  • Perform other duties as assigned

PLEASE NOTE: This position has a term end date of 2 years from date of hire, with the possibility of extension. Travel of up to 40% will be required once the University's normal operations resume.

PLEASE NOTE: A writing sample and a case study exercise will be requested of shortlisted candidates.

PLEASE NOTE: The primary work location for this position is Boston, Massachusetts. Until our return to campus, which is still to-be-determined but anticipated to begin as soon as August/September 2021 (or later into the fall), this interview process and position will be conducted virtually - including virtual interviews, remote onboarding, and remote work. The remote nature of this position is only temporary. Local, on-campus work will be required as a condition of continued employment once the School and this role return to an operational status that supports it.

Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor's Degree required
  • 7+ years of related experience required
  • Prior supervisory experience required

Additional Qualifications and Skills

The following job-specific skills and competencies are preferred:

  • Master's Degree (MPH or equivalent)
  • Experience working with research in Africa
  • Experience working in an academic, global health, and/or research environment
  • Experience working in low and middle income countries (LMICs), specifically 2+ years of long-term field experience in low and middle income countries (LMICs) is a plus
  • Experience working with maternal and child health observational research
  • Advanced knowledge of financial and operational regulations concerning sponsored and international research
  • Experience with both Google Suite and Microsoft office products
  • Experience with Institutional Review Board (IRB) management
  • Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills, including cross-cultural communication
  • Excellent problem-solving, supervisory, and organizational skills
  • Handles and prioritizes multiple program activities and balance conflicting priorities
  • Capacity to handle confidential information discretely and appropriately
  • Maintain the highest degree of professionalism and diplomacy at all times with diverse constituents across institutions and countries

The following cultural competencies are also preferred:

  • Awareness of and aptitude to appropriately and effectively understand, respect, and adapt to cultural and identity-based difference within group environments
  • Knowledge of and commitment to concepts and issues tied to social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Skills related to creating and supporting an environment that allows for inclusion, effective intercultural engagement, and personal humility and authenticity
  • Experience fostering and reinforcing an environment that values unique experiences, cultures, backgrounds, and goals

Additional Information

At the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, we believe that diversity is integral to the Harvard experience and our mission of improving public health education, research and policy. Diversity of cultural backgrounds, identities, lived experiences, perspectives, and ways of understanding the world enriches our community and enables us to best meet the public health needs of the United States and the world. Ongoing learning and development related to diversity allows for both individual and institutional growth, and is necessary to foster and sustain a culture of inclusion. To achieve this, we are committed to ensuring equitable access to opportunities for learning, living, and working at the Harvard Chan School. We maintain an unwavering dedication to diversity, inclusion, and belonging as core to our institutional values and to actively counter, minimize, and address racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, gender bias, and all forms of discrimination.

Learn more about the School's mission, objectives, and core values and our diversity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives.


Harvard University offers an outstanding benefits package, learn more about our Total Rewards. Join the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to support our mission of health research and education, and to be a part of the oldest institution of higher learning in the country!


  • The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health does not provide visa sponsorship, now or in the future, for staff positions.
  • Harvard University requires pre-employment reference checks and background screenings.
  • This position has a 90 day orientation and review period.


Harvard will require COVID vaccination for all Harvard community members who will have any on-campus presence. Individuals may claim exemption from the vaccine requirement for medical or religious reasons. More information regarding the University's COVID vaccination requirement and exceptions may be found at the University's "COVID-19 Vaccine Information" webpage.

Job Function
General Administration, Research

USA - MA - Boston


Time Status

00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Salary Grade

Pre-Employment Screening
Credit, Criminal, Education, Identity

EEO Statement
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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Closing date: 
22nd September 2021