Initiative Lead, Nuclear Innovation Collaborative

The Cold War is over, but the risks from nuclear weapons remains high. Accidents, terrorism and proliferation all are real challenges in the nuclear weapons realm. The Nuclear Innovation Collaborative (provisional name) is a partnership designed to bring positive disruption to the arena of nuclear security, increasing the effectiveness of the community’s ability to address these threats and bringing new energy to existing efforts. The collaborative includes expertise and contributions IURP the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Ploughshares Fund, and the Skoll Global Threats Fund. All members share a strong interest in increasing the effectiveness of current efforts in the QXFOHDU. Over a two-year pilot phase, the nuclear innovation collaborative will invest $2 million in grant making and direct activities to introduce innovation into the nuclear security arena. The position will be housed at Ploughshares Fund in San Francisco, CA.

Position Description 

The Initiative Lead will be the driving force behind this pilot. An interest in addressing the global nuclear security threat is critical; a background in nuclear security is desirable, but not required. The candidate we want is a leader with creative and novel approaches to problem solving. An unabashed idea generator, you embrace risk and the learning that comes with experimentation. You are comfortable with ambiguity and thrive in unstructured enviroments. Your reputation as a dynamic go-getter with exceptional communications and interpersonal skills comes from experience leading and working with broad range of partners. You are unafraid to initiate interactions with powerful and/or influential people. A quick study, you have demonstrated the ability to synthesize information quickly, and make meaningful connections between ideas and people. We want the Initiative Lead to be adept with social media and crowd sourcing/movement building techniques. An eye for detail; strong project planning, management and evaluation skills round out the desired skill set. Roles and Responsibilities

  • Activate, expand and reframe the public conversation about nuclear security. Polls show that a majority of Americans favor reducing, and even eliminating, nuclear weapons, but they doubt it is feasible. Concerns over possible terrorist access to nuclear materials are real and, many argue, growing. But nuclear issues remain low on the priority list for most Americans. The collaborative will help build awareness of the threat that nuclear weapons still pose to the world and increase public support for action.
  • Draw new energy into the field. The technology of nuclear weapons is almost 70 years old, and many common beliefs, and indeed policies, on nuclear weapons remain shaped by a Cold War context that no longer holds. We seek to bring in new approaches to this nuclear challenge through partnerships with innovative players in technology, social media and culture creation.
  • Catalyze new approaches among funders, grantees and other contributors. A core group of organizations have acquired expertise on this issue through decades of work. The collaborative will capitalize on this experience by bringing these groups together with new players to help create new ideas that will work in the space. 
  • Design the Initiative: The Initiative Lead will create a new model of funding the nuclear security community, drawing on successful approaches from the venture capital, tech, social media and other proven innovation sectors.
  • Process Creation  the Initiative Lead will create a clear framework for desired outcomes and define success. He/se will design and implement a process for generating a pipeline of potential ideas/endeavors to support, implement and evaluate. S/he will set up metrics to measure performance and outcomes of grants and overall progress. 
  • Experimentation: Since this is a new, disruptive initiative, we expect experimentation, evidence gathering and evolution in direction as the initiative matures. The Initiative Lead will continually evaluate the portfolio to identify gaps, and need for focus or expansion.
  • Create Awareness and Action: The Initiative Lead will help people not only understand and become inspired by the work, but also encourage action and engagement. This includes creating cross sector partnerships and attracting unusual individuals and institutions to the nuclear security field.

Eligibility and Requirements 

  • Creating and implementing new technologies, unusual partnerships, novel ventures or social innovations that have led to transformative change
  • Building bridges and leading networks and collaborations across disparate communities to advance new thinking
  • Program, portfolio or project management, including sourcing/project planning, management and evaluation
  • Program, portfolio or project management, including sourcing/project planning management and evaluation.
  • Knowledge of the dynamics of startups and/or experience working in a startup setting
  • Familiarity with philanthropy, social entrepreneurship and/or social ventures in either the private or public sector. 

Application Instructions 

Bring a compelling story that demonstrates your success leading innovative programs with measurable outcomes. Please email a resume (2 page maximum) and a cover letter describing how your interest and results align with our initiative and stated needs to Melissa Merritt at Qualified candidates and encouragd to apply as soon as possible. The position closes March 1st.