Chief Data Officer, Pandemic Prevention Institute

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The Rockefeller Foundation · Washington, DC

Data + Analytics
Partners & Advocates
Posted 4 months ago

Data Science

Position Overview

The Pandemic Prevention Institute (PPI) is comprised of a global platform for rapid pathogen threat detection, evaluation, and action designed specifically to prevent pandemics. Coordinating with national and international health authorities, policy makers, public, private, and academic sectors, the overarching goal is to contain all pandemic-potential outbreaks within 100 days

The Rockefeller Foundation seeks a founding Chief Data Officer to lead the design, development, and launch of a new platform and set of related products to enable this work. The CDO will work closely with the CEO of PPI to recruit and build a world class technical team and use our unique access to global data to build a set of tools and solutions to support identification of pandemic-potential outbreaks within 100 days. This will include identifying, collecting, and analyzing many sources of data - from sewage treatment sensors, to credit card transactions, to satellite imagery. The team will solve complex problems using advanced statistical modeling, machine leaning, and any other relevant data science techniques. The team will build a full-stack data architecture to support data quality, security, data engineering, modeling, and analytics, negotiate data sharing agreements, and launch PPI’s marque data and analytics products.  

The CDO will oversee four core functions during the start-up phase of PPI:

  • Data Science. The CDO will lead the effort to use data to find signals indicating a pandemic-potential outbreak. They will require the full range of data science techniques that could include assessing data quality, data ingest and integration, mining data for signals, modeling potential outcomes, and ongoing monitoring an maintenance of data and model libraries.
  • Data acquisition. The CDO will work with the team to design a data acquisition roadmap and use that roadmap to acquire novel data from a wide range of sources using a combination of diplomatic, technical, and data-wrangling skills. In the early days of PPI, the CDO will focus directly on this objective in close collaboration with PPI’s CEO and Managing Director.
  • Data engineering. The CDO will lead the development or procurement of data pipelines, storage infrastructure, APIs, interfaces, and modeling and analytics layers to make the data accessible and useful to a wide range of users. The CDO’s choices will set the course for PPI’s data architecture and delivery capability.
  • Data product design and development. Lead the user research, prototyping, and scaled development of PPI’s data products and associated analytics infrastructure. The CDO will be responsible for the uptake and success of PPI’s initial data products.  


Principal Duties and Responsibilities

  • Hire and manage technical teams including data science, data engineering, product, design, and development.
  • Define PPI’s technology stack, optimizing for speed, collaboration, security, and scale.
  • Set a data acquisition strategy that includes data procurement, data generation, and data partnerships with leading private and public sector organizations.
  • Generate, align, and standardize data models used across PPI and its partner organizations.
  • Oversee product design and development lifecycles, launching useful and effective data products for PPI’s stakeholders.
  • Lead the initial engineering efforts through direct management of technical staff. As PPI scales, manage a cadre of senior leaders responsible for different technical units. 
  • Be the public technical face of PPI and lead engagement with peers in partner organizations, academia, and industry.

Qualifications and Competencies

  • Demonstrated success as a data science leader or data focused CDO in multiple sectors including academic research, corporate R&D, technology companies, government agencies.
  • Direct experience with advanced data science projects where outcomes or models are used to make critical decisions and have been deployed in production, and where continuous improvements were critical to project success. 
  • Experience managing large, global, heterogeneous teams of researchers, engineers, and analysts.
  • Ability to coach senior technical staff.
  • Proven ability to design, build, and maintain health informatics and bioinformatics infrastructures from scratch.
  • Experience designing, launching, and iterating on data products that are widely and deeply used. 
  • Ability to lead complex data sharing and partnership negotiations. 
  • Unwavering ethical judgment and commitment to secure and responsible use of sensitive data.
  • Experience navigating relevant privacy, data security, and responsible use regulations. 
  • Deep domain expertise in public health, clinical research, or genomics research.


The Rockefeller Foundation intends at present to form, establish and launch a global institute for precision pandemic prevention for rapid pathogen threat detection, evaluation and action (the “Institute”). This position will begin at the Foundation and may be transferred or assigned to the Institute. Such transfer or assignment, if at all, would in all aspects be subject to the Foundation’s sole discretion.

As an organization, we focus on six values to advance our culture and to continue our success. We are dedicated to being Transparent, Optimistic, Accountable, Collaborative, Trusted and Equitable. We operate from a strong commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in everything that we do. It’s not only the right thing to do – we couldn’t make an impact without the diverse perspectives and experiences of our team members. We expect all employees at the Foundation to contribute by developing their unique perspective and talent, and to challenge conventional wisdom through evidence and reason, and by amplifying marginalized voices.

The Rockefeller Foundation is committed to the principles of equal employment opportunity and to compliance with all federal, state, and local laws concerning employment discrimination, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. To this end, the Foundation ensures equal opportunity to all employees and applicants regardless of race, color, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, national origin or ancestry, citizenship, lawful alien status, physical, mental, and medical disability, veteran status or liability for service in the United States Armed Forces.

The Rockefeller Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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