Executive Director

Employer: Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics (BCSP)
Date Posted: Dec 29, 2021
Employment: Full Time
Focus / Industry:
Berkeley, California, USA
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About Berkeley

At the University of California, Berkeley, we are committed to creating a community that fosters equity of experience and opportunity, and ensures that students, faculty, and staff of all backgrounds feel safe, welcome and included. Our culture of openness, freedom and belonging make it a special place for students, faculty and staff.

The University of California, Berkeley, is one of the world’s leading institutions of higher education, distinguished by its combination of internationally recognized academic and research excellence; the transformative opportunity it provides to a large and diverse student body; its public mission and commitment to equity and social justice; and its roots in the California experience, animated by such values as innovation, questioning the status quo, and respect for the environment and nature. Since its founding in 1868, Berkeley has fueled a perpetual renaissance, generating unparalleled intellectual, economic and social value in California, the United States and the world.

We are looking for equity-minded applicants who represent the full diversity of California and who demonstrate a sensitivity to and understanding of the diverse academic, socioeconomic, cultural, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds present in our community. When you join the team at Berkeley, you can expect to be part of an inclusive, innovative and equity-focused community that approaches higher education as a matter of social justice that requires broad collaboration among faculty, staff, students and community partners. In deciding whether to apply for a position at Berkeley, you are strongly encouraged to consider whether your values align with our Guiding Values and Principles , our Principles of Community , and our Strategic Plan .

Departmental Overview

The University of California, Berkeley seeks a dynamic and accomplished leader to serve as the Executive Director of the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics (BCSP). The BCSP is a novel, interdisciplinary initiative to explore the psychological and biological effects of psychedelic compounds as well as their spiritual and cultural roles. The three highly integrated program areas of Research, Public Education, and Training will significantly contribute to science, scholarship, and society.

The vision of the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics is a world where the power of psychedelics is available to benefit people and all of their relations. To achieve this vision, the BCSP’s mission is to harness the power of a great public university to improve health and well-being for all through culturally informed psychedelic research and education.

The BCSP is an organized research unit (ORU) that is administratively housed within the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. The BCSP reports within the division of the Vice Chancellor for Research and contains interdisciplinary programs that span multiple institutes, schools, and departments on the Berkeley campus. The Executive Director will report to the Faculty Director and receive guidance from the BCSP Executive Committee members.


The BCSP Executive Director will manage and develop a large, complex academic/research center of high visibility to achieve research, public education, and training objectives that have been established by the Center’s Executive Committee. The incumbent will formulate program strategies, goals, policies, and long-term planning for review by the BCSP’s Executive Committee and will then implement the selected plans and policies. In partnership with University Development and Alumni Relations (UDAR), the Executive Director will oversee fundraising efforts to raise significant income through philanthropic gifts and will create and manage revenue generating partnership agreements with external vendors and partners. The Executive Director will also manage a rapidly growing team of researchers, educators, and support staff, will define and implement a publications program, and will become recognized externally as a subject matter expert in the field. A priority for this position is to create and support programs that eliminate historical patterns of marginalization, inequity, and appropriation, particularly those involving Indigenous communities.

The Executive Director Will Be Expected To

  • Serve as administrative head of the BCSP and primary liaison between the BCSP Executive Committee, other BCSP team members, and the BCSP Advisory Board (to be established)
  • Lead BCSP staff and academic directors in developing and implementing programs and operations
  • Ensure integration and alignment of projects and activities across the various program areas. These span multiple disciplines and units at UC Berkeley, including the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, Department of Psychology, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, School of Journalism, Graduate School of Education, and School of Optometry.
    • Current projects in the research program include: neuroimaging, perceptual, and cognitive studies of the effects of psilocybin in human subjects; mapping of the subjective dimensions of the psychedelic experience in human subjects; characterization of the enduring transformative effects of psilocybin on emotion, stress regulation, and inflammation; studies of the molecular and cellular bases of psychedelic-induced plasticity in experimental animal models.
    • Current projects in the training program include: development of an immersive experiential learning program for training psychedelic guides/facilitators; ethnographic study of participants in this training program.
    • Current projects in the public education program include: a massive open online course (MOOC; Psychedelic Science 101); a newsletter for a large international audience; a BCSP podcast; and the Ferriss - UC Berkeley Psychedelic Journalism Fellowship program.
  • Foster innovative, interdisciplinary research collaborations, assess needs, and establish necessary research capability and capacity, including regulatory and compliance issues related to working with Schedule I compounds in human participants and animal studies
  • Oversee financial stewardship for the BCSP, including partnering closely with University Development and Alumni Relations to support and advance philanthropic fundraising efforts of the BCSP, including allocation and monitoring of existing funds (currently $8 million in restricted and unrestricted funds)
  • Develop and execute strategic plans for philanthropic and earned revenue financing programs, including ensuring ongoing sustainability of these programs.
  • Represent the BCSP on committees and participate in activities at the campus, national, and international levels.
  • Serve as a spokesperson for the BCSP. Contribute substantially to efforts to elevate the recognition of the BCSP among the academic community, as well as the general public, and promote the BCSP as a leader in the psychedelic field.
  • Create and negotiate partnership agreements and contracts to deliver BCSP program offerings.
  • Work with BCSP team members to foster healthy cultural norms that ensure a team-oriented approach and strong morale.

Required Qualifications

  • Ability to articulate an organization's story in a compelling way to internal and external constituents; demonstrated ability in translating complex scientific topics to diverse audiences with varying levels of knowledge.
  • Expert oral and written communication skills; strong political acumen.
  • Expert ability to think creatively and independently on concepts requiring advanced analytical skills.
  • Expert skills in creativity and organizational management to build and oversee a program within a complex organization, including administrative, budgetary, and human resources responsibilities and financial management principles and practices.
  • Strong project management and collaborative leadership skills and the ability to move projects with diverse stakeholders to timely completion while maintaining an understanding of long-term organizational goals, as well as prior experience with budget forecasts and management of different funding sources.
  • Expert skills to engage, inspire, and steward relationships to raise substantive funds for research and/or social impact programs and can successfully close commitments.
  • Proven record of advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within an organization.
  • Excellent ability to manage personnel and to lead and motivate cross-functional teams, including administrative and scientific staff.
  • Knowledge of applicable research administration and compliance.
  • Advanced degree in related area and/or equivalent experience/training.
  • Strong passion for the role and impact of research.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Terminal degree in a related area (PhD, JD, MD, etc.).
  • Experience working in academic, government, and/or nonprofit organizations.
  • Strong understanding of the psychedelic field.
  • Demonstrated success in fundraising; and experience in cultivating and increasing philanthropic support and closing commitments from donors and foundations.
  • Demonstrated expertise with sponsored projects research, contracts / grants, human subjects research, and/or animal care & use in research.

Salary & Benefits

This is a full-time career position. Salary is commensurate with experience.

For information on the comprehensive benefits package offered by the University visit:


How to Apply

Please submit your cover letter and resume as a single attachment when applying.

Conviction History Background

This is a designated position requiring fingerprinting and a background check due to the nature of the job responsibilities. Berkeley does hire people with conviction histories and reviews information received in the context of the job responsibilities. The University reserves the right to make employment contingent upon successful completion of the background check.

Equal Employment Opportunity

For More Information About Your Rights As An Applicant See

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.


For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:


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Last updated: Nov 18, 2023