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Program Officer, Human Sciences (fixed term)

Location: Greater Philadelphia Area, Pennsylvania, USA
Department: Human Sciences (Programs)
Reports to: Director, Human Sciences
Salary: Competitive salary and benefits package based on qualifications and experience
Term: 3 years (fixed-term/rotator position)
Travel: Domestic and international travel as pertinent
Target start: summer 2022 (earlier possible)

Organization and Position

The John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the deepest and most perplexing questions facing humankind. We support research in disciplines ranging from astrophysics, evolutionary biology, and genetics, to philosophy, psychology, and economics. We encourage civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians, as well as between such experts and the public at large. In all cases, our goal is to spur curiosity and accelerate discovery. To catalyze such discoveries, we provide grants for independent academic research and public engagement on a wide range of topics relating to the Foundation’s mission.

The Human Sciences department maintains a grants portfolio of more than $100 million worth of projects around the world. We support basic and applied programs on a wide array of topics within the social, behavioral, cognitive, and health sciences, especially as they relate to human nature, human flourishing, and religion. Our current strategic priority areas include health, religion, and spirituality, religious cognition, the science of virtues, and the dynamics of religious change.

We are interested in expanding support for applied programs related to one or more of our current strategic priority areas (listed above), and are therefore seeking to expand our current three-person Human Sciences team with an additional Program Officer for a 3-year time-limited appointment. The Program Officer will develop and commission a $15 – $20 million portfolio of applied programs for launch between 2023 and 2025. Potential settings of interest include (but are not limited to) public health, mental health, health systems and organizations, spiritual care and chaplaincy, faith-based organizations, universities, and partnerships with community-based organizations. (Please note that applied programs within primary or secondary education settings are beyond the scope of this position.) These applied programs will be grounded in best practices in research-to-practice translation, implementation science, systems change, knowledge transfer, or technology transfer. The geographical and topical foci for this portfolio remain open and will be determined according to the qualifications, skills, and experience of the Program Officer.

To prepare the suite of applied funding programs, the Program Officer will work with internal and external consultants to develop a strategy, will identify potential grantees and proactively commission key proposals, will prepare and disseminate open calls for grant proposals that will advance the strategy, will lead the review and analysis of grant proposals, and will prepare recommendations for final decision by the Foundation’s Trustees. The Program Officer will also keep abreast of new developments in relevant research and practice, the institutional landscape, and cultural influences that impact our work such that he or she can advise the Director, Human Sciences and other internal stakeholders on how these developments might afford new opportunities or challenges for carrying out the Foundation’s mandate.

Areas of Responsibility

Strategy development

  • developing and implementing a plan for a major applied funding initiative;

Program development and review

  • developing and commissioning new ideas for grants and projects;
  • reviewing and analyzing grant proposals and preparing funding recommendations for final decision by the Foundation’s Trustees;

Departmental communications

  • recruiting open submission grant proposals;
  • communicating with applicants and grantees regarding the application and review process;
  • communicating the mission of the Foundation, especially to potential partner organizations;
  • identifying and communicating with other funding agencies to build relationships with those whose goals overlap with the Foundation’s interests in the human sciences;
  • (once global conditions allow) traveling to meet and engage with potential grantees and partner organizations;

General departmental responsibilities:

  • providing support for the other functions of the Human Sciences department as needed, including (but not limited to) monitoring and evaluating performance of grants and grantees;
  • organizing and participating in conferences, workshops, and symposia relevant to the goals of the Human Sciences department; and
  • identifying and pursuing professional development opportunities. 

Required Qualifications, Experience, and Skills


  • Graduate degree in the social, behavioral, cognitive, or health sciences (Ph.D. preferred);


  • at least three years of professional experience in a relevant setting (e.g., health, faith-based, academic, philanthropic);
  • experience in designing, commissioning, start-up, or scaling of research-based applied programs in a relevant domain (e.g., public health, mental health, chaplaincy, faith-based organizations, universities, community-based organizations);
  • experience in a “gatekeeper” or evaluation role (e.g., funding review, editorial review) would be an advantage;


  • understanding of and familiarity with systems, institutions, and key stakeholders in a relevant domain;
  • knowledge of best practices in research-to-practice translation, implementation science, systems change, knowledge transfer, or technology transfer;


  • familiarity with Salesforce preferred;

General skills and attributes

  • excellent writer;
  • strong analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • organized;
  • attention to detail;
  • ability to work as part of a team;
  • skilled at searching, reviewing, and synthesizing scholarly literature;
  • ability to communicate with scholars and members of professional communities;
  • ability to build relationships and to maintain professional networks;
  • demonstrated interest in at least one of the department’s current strategic priority areas;
  • ability to understand the Foundation’s mission and core themes; and
  • strong personal interest in the Foundation’s mission.


We are committed to caring for our employees and their families through exceptional benefits. We pay for 100% of employee medical, dental and vision premiums, and generously contribute to family premiums. We provide life insurance, short-term disability coverage and long-term disability coverage at no cost to employees. We offer a 401(k) retirement savings plan with an employer match and additional discretionary contributions. Paid time off includes generous vacation, sick, and personal days. The Foundation also offers a staff donation program, enabling employees the ability to direct a $5,000 donation to a mission aligned organization of their choice, with no employee donation required.


The position will be based in the Foundation’s offices, located in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, team members may work in-office or remotely at least until April 5, 2022. The Foundation plans to resume in-office operations after that time.  The Program Officer will need to maintain an in-office presence but may work remotely for a portion of their week in accordance with our hybrid work policy.

West Conshohocken, PA, is a short drive (~15 miles) from Philadelphia there is a nearby commuter train station for access to downtown Philadelphia. The offices are close to residential and commercial districts with multiple restaurants.

To Apply

To learn more about the role, or to apply, please visit www.templetoncareers.org.

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