Director, Science Policy & Legislative Affairs

31 Jul, 2020


Director, Science Policy & Legislative Affairs

American Association of Cancer Research
Washington, DC

Organizational Profile:


The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), with more than 47,000 members residing in the U.S. and 126 other countries, is the first and largest organization in the world dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure all cancers. Our members are the collective brain trust of all scientific areas in cancer research, from cancer prevention, interception, and population science, to cancer biology, translational, and clinical research, to the science of survivorship.


The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise in the cancer research community to identify the top scientific priorities and foster the exchange of new knowledge among scientists and physicians in cancer science and medicine as well as in the related sciences; convenes scientific and clinical conferences and educational workshops; publishes nine high-impact, peer-reviewed scientific journals; produces a magazine for cancer survivors, patients, and their caregivers; collaborates with patient advocacy groups to put the spotlight on the importance of research; and works to raise funds for cancer research from the philanthropic community and the public.


The AACR also actively communicates with legislators, government agency officials, other policymakers, and the public about the value of cancer research and the related sciences in saving lives from cancer, and it advocates for policies that accelerate progress against cancer, including productive interactions with regulatory agencies that advance regulatory science and policy initiatives.


Job Summary:


Under the leadership of the AACR Chief Policy Officer/Vice President, Science Policy and Government Affairs, the Director, Science Policy and Legislative Affairs will provide expertise and support to AACR leaders, the Science Policy and Government Affairs Committee and its relevant subcommittees, and the broader advocacy community on science policy-related issues and cross-cutting activities to further the goals of the AACR’s Strategic Plan and policy priorities.


The Director, Science Policy and Legislative Affairs will manage a team of science policy staff members and play a central role in the success of AACR’s work in this important area. He/she will guide the AACR’s science policy and legislative affairs activities to a productive conclusion. Such activities are designed to create and strengthen the dialogue among policymakers on Capitol Hill and at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), scientists, and advocates, as well as to provide expert policies that are in support of our mission: to prevent and cure cancer through research, education, communication, collaboration, science policy and advocacy, and funding for cancer research.


This professional will provide expertise on science policy issues and legislative strategies that are important to the AACR and the cancer field. He/she will demonstrate innovation, take initiative in the development and execution of timely and significant projects, and oversee project management, committee support, and consensus building among stakeholders. Responsibilities include monitoring, researching, and analyzing science policy initiatives and legislative proposals in AACR priority areas; developing policy statements with the advice and counsel of AACR members; compiling background information on important policy topics; attending and summarizing relevant meetings and events; serving as the primary liaison to the Science Policy and Government Affairs Committee and its relevant subcommittees; collaborating with external entities, e.g., cancer and medical research organizations, alliances, etc.; and overseeing a wide array of relevant tasks and assignments that will advance the AACR’s position as the authoritative voice for cancer research.


Major Duties and Responsibilities:

The Director, Science Policy and Legislative Affairs will work with AACR on science policy and legislative affairs initiatives and implement a range of important science policy and legislative affairs programs and activities related to AACR’s mission, such as:


  • Leading and participating in innovative initiatives that advocate for federal funding for cancer research and the related sciences, such as having a role in developing the policy areas of the annual AACR Cancer Progress Report, as well as one-pagers and letters to Capitol Hill.
  • Leading and participating in innovative initiatives to reduce cancer disparities, such as exploring ways to increase diversity in clinical trials, actively contributing expertise to the annual AACR Cancer Disparities Progress Report, and using evidence-based measures to address and eradicate cancer health disparities.
  • Advancing science policy and legislative affairs strategies that will accelerate discoveries and cancer cures through a variety of innovative initiatives, including enhancing biomarker discovery, supporting innovative translational and clinical research proposals, increasing the number of patients participating in clinical trials, and facilitating clinical data sharing among multiple stakeholders while balancing patient privacy, etc.
  • Advocating for and implementing tobacco control measures and other broader cancer prevention and public health-related issues to advance public health, such as improved cancer screening and early detection.
  • Advocating for and implementing innovative policy changes that improve the care that cancer survivors receive from the time of diagnosis.
  • Working in collaboration with regulatory science and policy colleagues in the AACR DC office to ensure the rapid implementation of research discoveries to improving patient care (i.e. through data sharing means or through the use of integrated health information technologies, such as electronic medical records).
  • Becoming a content expert on policies related to COVID-19 and cancer.
  • Formulating forward-thinking policy recommendations/policy statements/white papers for policymakers on Capitol Hill and within federal agencies, most specifically in regard to the NIH on important science policy-related topics.
  • Working with colleagues in the DC office on aspects of patient advocacy that pertain to policy.
  • Responding to “requests for comments” from federal agencies, especially the NIH, on science policy issues that are important to the AACR membership and the cancer field.
  • Ensuring that AACR advocacy materials are shared and disseminated widely through various venues and means, such as at Congressional briefings and hearings, special meetings on Capitol Hill, and at AACR conferences.
  • Facilitating an innovative science policy track at the AACR Annual Meeting, as well as hosting special science policy and legislative affairs sessions at other selected AACR conferences.
  • Working collaboratively with the broader cancer research and medical science community on many of the science policy and legislative affairs-related issues that are of a high priority for the AACR.


Position Requirements:

  • PhD, MD, or other doctoral degree in a science and/or health-related field.
  • Advanced degree in public policy a plus.
  • At least ten (10) years of relevant experience in a cancer science and/or legislative affairs-related environment, and a keen understanding of cancer research-related issues.
  • Knowledge of the role the NIH, government policies and procedures, and the political process.
  • Experience on Capitol Hill a plus.
  • Proven track record of accomplishments in conceptualizing and implementing complex policy projects.
  • Superb written and oral communication skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • High degree of judgment and insight pertaining to science policy issues.
  • A self-starter with creativity and initiative.
  • Demonstrated problem-solving and decision-making abilities.
  • Strong strategic thinker with an ability to carry through an initiative and/or project to completion.
  • Strong analytical skills and experience in managing a small team.
  • A demonstrated ability to analyze complex political and policy issues, build evidence-based arguments for policy proposals to the AACR’s approval bodies, and bring conflicting points of view to consensus.
  • Ability to interact with VIPs and all levels of management on important policy matters, including the CEO, Board members, committee members, prominent scientists, Administration and Congressional officials, corporate executives, and members of the media.
  • Ability to multi-task and work under rapidly developing deadlines and priorities.
  • Ability to effectively communicate the progress and future needs of science policy and a strategic legislative agenda to various constituencies.

Learn more here

Job posted: 2020-07-31