Photo by Ray Potes / swissnex San Francisco

Program Manager, Science and Society

Program Manager, Science & Society

Full time, starting ASAP, ideally no later than August 1, 2019


Who are we?

The world is rapidly changing, challenging us to constantly reimagine our global cooperation in education, research, and innovation. At Pier 17, swissnex San Francisco offers a neutral ground to experiment with new forms of collaboration across traditional boundaries. We work with our partners to strengthen the innovation capacity and shape the common future of our organizations, Switzerland, and the world.  

swissnex San Francisco is part of the global swissnex Network, an initiative of Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) managed in cooperation with the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). As a public-private venture, swissnex relies on vital financial support from partners, sponsors, and donors sharing its vision and values.


What are we expecting from you?

The Program Manager, Science & Society is responsible for managing swissnex’s strategic engagement and relationship with the world of scientific research. This role balances strategic insight and vision with the very hands-on, detailed execution of programs and services. It focuses on interdisciplinary programs at the interface of science, technology, and society, connecting research with a wide range of sectors and industries.

As Program Manager, Science & Society, you will be expected to:

  • Brainstorm, develop, and execute interdisciplinary programs and services that strengthen the Swiss higher education and research landscape, with an emphasis on delegation visits, residencies, workshops, and public events at Pier 17.
  • Fulfill agreements with Swiss universities, public institutions, and private foundations in collaboration with swissnex’s public programs, communications, and operations teams, as well as other Swiss and local partners.
  • That includes, but is not limited to, leading the SciComm Studio event series and organizing visits of academic delegations.
  • Plan and execute two Swiss alumni events per year and the implementation of other programs that foster and support Swiss alumni networks in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.
  • Respond to general inquiries related to Swiss academia and more generally represent Swiss universities at swissnex San Francisco and beyond.
  • Represent swissnex San Francisco among both the Swiss and West Coast ecosystems of researchers, academic staff, technologists, diplomats, and innovators.
  • Assist with other tasks when and where needed, such as giving tours of Pier 17, addressing the needs of visitors, helping to set up swissnex’s event and exhibition spaces, etc.

To succeed in this role, you should:

  • Have an interdisciplinary profile with 2-5 years of work experience and demonstrable interest in topics relevant to Silicon Valley, such as artificial intelligence, tech policy and ethics, economics of innovation, science communication, health, education, urban studies, climate change, and so on.
  • Have a master’s degree, preferably from a Swiss university, in any area relevant to the position, such as in the natural or social sciences, humanities, international relations, or public policy.
  • Have a good understanding of both the Swiss and US academic landscapes and a desire to support and work closely with Swiss universities and other public institutions.
  • Have project management experience, driving initiatives at both strategic and execution levels.
  • Have a strong interest in the role of scientific research in the innovation ecosystem and more broadly the relationship between science, technology, and society.
  • Have a desire to become an expert on Silicon Valley and grow a strong network in the Bay Area.
  • Have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to independently manage partnerships involving a wide range of demanding partners and stakeholders, from researchers to startups to policymakers.
  • Be a team player and enjoy collaborating with others, while also being able to work autonomously.
  • Have a “can-do” attitude and a strong ability to deal with uncertainty and thrive in a fast-paced, creative, and fluid work environment.
  • Be proactive, very flexible, and energetic, and an excellent problem-solver.
  • Have excellent command of written and spoken English, and be fluent in German or French.
  • Be available to work evening hours, as needed for events, and be comfortable with the physical work required for events (standing for extended periods, lifting and moving tables and chairs, etc.)


What can expect you from us?

  • Meet and work with a wide range of interesting people in the fields of education, research, innovation from Switzerland, Silicon Valley, and beyond.
  • The opportunity to work in Silicon Valley, the world’s most influential innovation hub.
  • Be part of the creative, fun, very interdisciplinary team of swissnex SF.
  • Work in a space embedded in a community of interdisciplinary innovators in a unique location at Pier 17 on the San Francisco waterfront.
  • The opportunity to create, within a team environment, interdisciplinary programs that wouldn’t be possible in traditional academic settings.
  • Non-profit compensation range depending on experience and country of residence for tax purposes. Benefits include: 4 weeks’ vacation, 12+ annual holidays, sick leave. Swiss employees receive a 5-year diplomatic visa and continue to pay into the Swiss benefits system as if they had not left Switzerland.


Ready to apply?

Interested candidates, please apply via this LINK as soon as possible and include both your resume (CV) and a cover letter detailing your qualifications and interest in the position. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, and the position will remain open until filled. A background check is required. Very important: due to our legal status in the United States, we can only hire Swiss citizens or residents or U.S. citizens or residents. There are no exceptions.