Director, Design & User Experience Research, Science

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Redwood City, CA

Advancing human potential and promoting equal opportunity.

Founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in 2015, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges – from eradicating disease, to improving education, to reforming the criminal justice system. Across three core Initiative focus areas of Science, Education and Justice and Opportunity,  we’re pairing engineering with grantmaking, impact investing, policy work, and movement building, to help build an inclusive, just and healthy future for everyone.

Our Values

We believe we can help build a future for everyone.

  • We aim to be daring, but humble:  We look for bold ideas — regardless of structure and stage — and help them scale by pairing engineers with subject matter experts to build tools that accelerate the pace of social progress.
  • We want to learn fast, but build for the long-term: We want to iterate fast and help bring new solutions to the table, but we also realize that important breakthroughs often take decades, or even centuries.
  • Stay close to the real problems: We engage directly in the communities we serve because no one understands our society’s challenges like those who live them every day.  

Our success is dependent on building teams that include people from different backgrounds and experiences who can challenge each other's assumptions with fresh perspectives. To that end, we look for a diverse pool of applicants including those from historically marginalized groups — women, people with disabilities, people of color, formerly incarcerated people, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or gender nonconforming, first and second generation immigrants, veterans, and people from different socioeconomic backgrounds.

The Opportunity

Our mission is to support science and technology that will help make it possible to cure, prevent, or manage all diseases by the end of the century. Interdisciplinary teams of physicians, biologists, computational scientists, and engineers can expand our understanding of the human body and illness — the very science behind medicine. CZI fosters collaboration between scientists and engineers, develops tools and technologies, and builds support for basic scientific research.

We are seeking an experienced and inspirational leader who is passionate about the intersection between science and technology to lead the User Experience Research and Design team within CZI’s Science Initiative. As an experienced leader, you will collaborate cross-functionally, provide strategic guidance on the team’s work, and partner closely with other leaders in CZI’s Science Initiative. You will manage, mentor, and grow a team who is responsible for:

  • conducting rigorous, mixed-methods research to better understand the needs of the scientific community when it comes to fostering faster-paced and more open, collaborative scientific discovery
  • generating and iterating on human-centered design solutions to meet the needs of the scientific community in the spirit of advancing science

The science user experience research team supports or consults on projects like:

You can read a bit more about how our team operates in this blog post, as well as this blog post, and you can read about some of our learnings about the scientific community.

You will 

  • Lead, develop, mentor and inspire a user experience research and design team, currently at 8 full-time employees plus 2-3 contractors. This requires setting clear goals, managing project loads and allocating team members’ time and effort, ensuring deadlines are met and setting up team members for overall success
  • Partner and collaborate cross-functionally with product management, engineering, data science, program officers, and leadership to ensure that research insights and design work are delivered in a timely and impactful manner
  • Ensure that user experience research and design continue to play a strong role in establishing overall technology priorities for the initiative
  • Guide the researchers in thinking through appropriate scoping of research questions, appropriate methods to use, and appropriate means for delivering results to stakeholders
  • Guide the designers in taking expansive approaches to ideation but pragmatic and iterative approaches to wireframing and prototyping
  • Listen, ask the right questions, and effectively convey ideas to cross-functional teams
  • Guide the team to develop best practices for ensuring a high bar of quality by both implementing strategies and demonstrating strong technical  knowledge and skills
  • Recruit new team members and actively participate in the hiring process 
  • Execute in a fast-paced and fluid environment 
  • Collaborate with stakeholders to ensure that user experience research and design are included in product development roadmaps and help individuals on the team develop their specific roadmaps
  • Collaborate with external partners to understand their needs around user experience research and design as they work on projects in partnership with CZI; willingness to engage in capacity-building with those partners
  • Help to continue establishing research and design operations and processes 
  • Pick up some individual contributor work as needed and as bandwidth permits

You have

  • 8-10 years of user research and/or product design experience
  • 5-8 years of leading, managing, and growing design and research teams
  • Demonstrated experience with end-to-end product research and design, ideally on technical software and/or software for biomedical and life scientists
  • Ideally, experience leading a team working across multiple products simultaneously
  • A portfolio of research and/or design work executed by yourself or a team you led, that showcases exceptional research and design craft on software that has shipped
  • Demonstrated ability to manage a team to execute end-to-end, mixed-methods user experience research, including foundational, strategic, formative, evaluative, and tactical approaches
  • Demonstrated ability to manage a team to execute end-to-end design work from sketching to high-fidelity prototyping to iterating on an already-shipped product at both the feature and overall-product levels
  • A deep understanding of the landscape of user experience research and design tools and software (eg, Figma, InVision, Qualtrics, etc.)
  • Proficiency in communicating through compelling storytelling and data to influence product strategy and the larger organization
  • Strong communication and presentation skills across a broad set of cross-functional partners
  • Ability to empower team members to work autonomously, but willing to contribute to projects as needed 
  • Demonstrated source of inspiration within the organization and broader UX/design community 
  • Strong advocate for world-class research and design and willing to have difficult conversations to drive research and design excellence across the organization 
  • Drive to care deeply about team members and challenge them directly to inspire their best work
  • Familiarity with research and design operations best practices and how to implement them
  • Ability to context-shift between separate product areas
  • Drive to seek feedback and improve from it
  • Ability to adapt your management style to individual team members’ needs
  • A people-first focus and empathy for others
  • Passion for impacting the future of science
  • Ability to thrive in fast-paced, growing organization


About The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

WHO WE ARE The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, founded by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan in December 2015, is a new kind of philanthropic organization that brings together world-class engineering, grant-making, impact investing, policy, and advocacy work. Our initial areas of focus include supporting science through basic biomedical research and education through personalized learning. We are also exploring other issues tied to the promotion of equal opportunity including access to affordable housing and criminal justice reform. We look for bold ideas — regardless of structure and stage — and help them scale by pairing world-class engineers with subject matter experts to build tools that accelerate the pace of social progress. We make long-term investments because important breakthroughs often take decades, or even centuries. We engage directly in the communities we serve because no one understands our society’s challenges like those who live them every day. These partners help us identify problems and opportunities, learn fast, and iterate toward our goals for the next century. We strive to be lifelong learners who work collaboratively across functions in service of our mission.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Want to learn more about The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative? Visit The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative's website.