UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge,

Director, Strategic Relations

1 month ago
Employment type
Los Angeles

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Creative Activities houses UCLA's Sustainable LA Grand Challenge (SLA GC). The SLA GC is a campus wide initiative launched in 2013 by the Chancellor that is aimed at applying UCLA's research, expertise and education to help transform Los Angeles into the world's most sustainable megacity by 2050. SLA GC's vision is for Los Angeles to be the most livable, equitable, resilient, clean and healthy megacity, and an example for the world. The SLA GC is bridging the gap between academic scholarship and real-world beneficial application to the surrounding community and beyond. The SLA GC seeks an energetic and motivated individual with demonstrated experience in establishing and growing strategic relationships across diverse sectors that yield novel funding mechanisms and positive real-world impact.

The Director, Strategic Relations (ADSR) for the SLA GC will identify, develop and maintain strategic relationships for engaged research with investor group, industry, nonprofit, community-based, and governmental organizations and non-traditional research sponsors and consortiums that are interested in university research, expertise and engagement and who share a passionate desire to realize a more livable, equitable, resilient, clean and healthy Los Angeles. The ADSR will use business data and market knowledge about potential partners to develop recommendations and strategic/tactical partnership plans that will contribute to attracting and securing novel external funding for university engaged research and education that results in transformational urban sustainability outcomes mutually beneficial to all partners and stakeholders. This position requires the ability to gather and analyze data and information on potential partners to provide insight and develop strategies around partner priorities, interests and trends in sustainability/social investments that align with SLA GC faculty expertise and to then build and maintain reciprocal meaningful relationships with diverse partners and stakeholders, to communicate collegially and knowledgeably with faculty and researchers in a variety of disciplines using diverse approaches, and to creatively support and contribute to engagement and growth strategies for maximizing novel revenue streams to support the SLA GC and UCLA urban sustainability research and desired outcomes. The ideal candidate for this position has exceptional relational, analytical, communication, interpersonal and strategic development skills, content expertise, impeccable attention to detail and organizational skills, and an advanced degree relevant to the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge or business development.

Specific responsibilities include but are not limited to: 1) analysis of trends and patterns (gathering intelligence) on potential partners, especially local and state partners, and thoroughly understanding their interests, priorities and needs in order to develop a strategic and tactical plan for engagement; 2) relationship cultivation with strategically identified external partners from industry, nonprofits, community-based and governmental organizations; 3) development and maintenance of partnerships and related funding strategy for engaged research for the SLA GC; 4) developing an understanding of faculty research in urban sustainability across campus, especially as it relates to potential and existing partnerships and related funding; 5) tracking and evaluating partnerships and their outcomes using data to optimize the performance of the partnerships and utility to UCLA faculty and researchers; and 6) coordination between external partners, faculty and researchers, and other groups as necessary to create partnership strategies and secure funding for advancing urban sustainability.


  • Advanced degree (Masters or other) in subject matter relevant to the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge or business development.
  • A strong commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion and the role that equity plays in urban sustainability solutions.
  • At least eight years of experience successfully establishing and maintaining partnerships that have generated revenue to advance the identified cause or objective.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and diplomacy to develop and maintain collaborative working relationships with a wide variety of internal and external constituents of diverse backgrounds.
  • Knowledge and understanding of sustainability-related industry, nonprofit, community-based and/ or government organizations, especially at the state level in California and local level in Los Angeles city and county.
  • Experience in leading the development of partnership agreements.
  • Highly developed analytical and conceptual skills.
  • Independence, initiative and strong organizational skills.
  • Ability to multi-task, prioritize and manage multiple simultaneous projects.
  • Ability to work as part of a team and lead collaborative efforts.
  • Familiarity with at least 50% of the research areas relevant to the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge so there is some fluency with the subject matter. (i.e., topic areas of Energy, Water, Ecosystems, Transportation, and cross cutting themes/ approaches of equity, access and justice, climate and environment, law, policy and economics, human health and wellbeing, culture, design and land use, and science, technology and innovation)
  • Strong enthusiasm for UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge and urban sustainability.
  • High level of fluency in word processing, presentation and spreadsheet software - MS Office: Word, Excel, Powerpoint expertise.
  • Knowledge of and experience working within an academic setting among faculty, staff and students.
  • Exceptional ability to gather and analyze data and information on potential partners to provide insight and develop strategies around partner priorities, interests and trends in sustainability/social investments that align with SLA GC faculty expertise.

To apply

Apply for this position here: https://hr.mycareer.ucla.edu/applicants/jsp/shared/frameset/Frameset.jsp?time=1647981960565