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Manager, Learning Engineering

Schmidt Futures bets early on exceptional people making the world better. Our method is what makes us unique. As a venture facility for public benefit, we create public value from private philanthropy through risk transfer—showing that brilliant people in networks can solve problems and build knowledge by connecting across fields, competing and challenging ideas, bringing multiple types of capital to bear, and applying science and technology thoughtfully through tools such as AI.

Our Learning Engineering program supports that mission by focusing on wide global gaps that exist in educational opportunities, and the potential of advanced computational methods to accelerate development of new ideas and solutions. 

 

Much as computer science has transformed biology by accelerating the pace and scale of potential research questions, we believe that the foundational layer of educational progress – the actual science of learning – has the potential to benefit from new computational methods and talent that can allow much more rapid development, testing, and scaling of new learning science ideas. 

Our team is working to advance this goal by: finding and supporting exceptional people at the intersection of computer science and learning science; giving this talent access to common tools, platforms, and networks to test their best ideas; iterate, and then competitively drive these insights into better educational outcomes.

 

The Role 

Reporting to the program director, the Manager will drive implementation of the Learning Engineering program, tracked against annual program objectives and key results. This will include:

  • Identifying and instrumenting ed tech platforms for large-scale experimentation and research
  • Testing and scaling strategies to support top CS talent motivated to work in education
  • Building the emerging Learning Engineering community, including peer funders and government, through ongoing competitions, data science challenges, workshops, and related activities
  • Working with the program director on crafting and updating overall program strategy

 

Key Responsibilities 

Program Development and Grant Making:

  • Serve as a domain expert for Schmidt Futures on all topics related to education and the learning sciences, including the intersection of learning sciences with machine learning and other advanced computational methods
  • Identify potential grants or other investment opportunities tied to program goals, by developing strong relationships across the world’s largest and fastest-growing platforms, leading academics, promising technologists, peer funders, and government. 
  • Review and vet grant proposals, in conjunction with the program director
  • Conduct ongoing oversight of existing investments and grants in the program
  • Look to create opportunities to connect grantees and partners to each other
  • Serve as a strong representative of the program publicly

 

Operational Excellence and Leadership:

  • Plan, manage, and execute on all Learning Engineering programming and events, including potential Futures Forum on Learning events, competitions, demo days, workshops, and other community-building efforts
  • Work with program director on effective staffing and mentoring of all rotational and support staff
  • Track of all program budgets and quarterly OKRs
  • Manage all critical partnership relationships (co-funders, universities, government).

 

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities 

Desired capabilities include:

  • Strong technical literacy: 
    • The technical expertise required is analogous to that of a product manager. Candidates must be fluent with a variety of computational topics and need to “know what they don’t know” and whom to ask. The role will not involve coding, so detailed knowledge at the implementation-level is not necessary.
    • Example: Ability to follow the latest research developments in the Learning Engineering field and understand the potential implications of novel AI research on the field.
  • Project management: 
    • Experience turning ambiguity into concrete tasks and managing those tasks.
    • Skills for measuring outcomes, developing and using OKRs, and using the feedback from performance measures to drive change in goal or strategy.

 

Requirements 

Applicants must:

  • 5+ years of work experience.
  • Computer science, data science, mathematics degree, or relevant technical experience.
  • Have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent from an accredited institution
  • Be based at the Schmidt Futures offices in New York and be able to travel within the U.S. and internationally on a regular basis as needed following company policy and permitting circumstances. 

 

About Schmidt Futures

Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative, founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt, that finds exceptional people and helps them do more for others together.  We knit talent into networks, bet on the most promising ideas through diverse forms of competition and support, and equip people to scale through partners and modern tools. To realize this vision, Schmidt Futures uses a broad set of tools — including gifts, grants, investments, and startup activity — for charitable, educational, and commercial efforts with a public purpose. Our initiative brings together the efforts of various charitable and non-charitable entities to improve our potential impact by making diverse types of capital available to the efforts we support.

 

Futures Action Network, LLC, which operates Schmidt Futures, is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer that proudly pursues and hires a diverse workforce. We do not make hiring or employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion or religious belief, ethnic or national origin, nationality, sex, gender, gender-identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, military or veteran status, or any other basis protected by applicable local, state, or federal laws or prohibited by Company policy. We strive for a healthy and safe workplace and strictly prohibit harassment of any kind.

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