Skip to main content

Senior Development Officer

Seeking an enthusiastic and entrepreneurial professional who will build a strategic resource development plan and manage collaborative relationships

About MIT’s Quest for Intelligence

MIT’s Quest for Intelligence aims to understand intelligence by tightly coupling scientific enquiry and rigorous engineering to address real-world problems that are beyond current machine capabilities but within the ability of natural intelligence. To achieve this vision, the study of natural intelligence and efforts to build intelligent systems must be treated as two interlocked aspects of the same grand challenge, with neuroscientists and cognitive scientists working alongside computer scientists and software engineers.

Position Overview:

The Quest for Intelligence seeks an enthusiastic and entrepreneurial professional to create and implement a strategic resource development plan for the Quest and to manage interactions and engagements with collaborating organizations and centers, both internal and external to MIT, which fall under the Quest umbrella.

The Senior Development Officer will advise on long-term philanthropic development efforts specific to the Quest, will oversee a portfolio of existing donors, will contribute to developing new donor relationships as part of the Quest leadership team, and will be responsible for research alliances with collaborating organizations.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Lead, develop, and execute a comprehensive strategic plan for stewardship of current donors and the identification, cultivation, and solicitation of prospective donors to the Quest.
  2. Develop strategies to raise funds to advance Quest missions and the science and engineering of both natural and synthetic intelligence.
  3. Lead or support the development of donor communication materials by creating content and crafting research area case statements, donor contact reports, and event fund-raising material (i.e., presentations, talking points). 
  4. In partnership with the Quest Communications Officer and Events Coordinator, plan and execute Quest symposia, conferences, special events, tours, and social engagements.
  5. Plan, implement, and evaluate internal and external projects, including producing communications for donors and the Quest leadership that convey the impact of philanthropy: stewardship reports, website and newsletter stories about donors and beneficiaries, custom letters to VIP donors, etc.  Collaborate with the Quest Communications Officer and others to develop content and flow to ensure a compelling message.
  6. Manage and foster productive relationships with external organizations to support and encourage ongoing collaborations.
  7. Build an understanding of the missions and research projects and then communicate Quest goals and research to donors and organizations. 
  8. Special projects and other duties as needed, required, or assigned.

Supervision Received:

Reports to the MIT Quest Director and MIT Quest Managing Director.

Qualifications & Skills:


  • Bachelor’s degree with three years of direct fund-raising experience required.  Master’s/PhD degree in neuroscience, cognitive science, computer science, or machine learning or MBA highly preferred 
  • Exceptional knowledge of foundation and government sources of funding, and documented success in building research partnerships
  • Outstanding written, interpersonal, and verbal communication skills, including writing for technical audiences
  • Excellent managerial and organizational skills
  • Proven ability to navigate complex issues with multiple stakeholders, leading to successful outcomes
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically, work collaboratively, and manage changing and conflicting priorities
  • Ability to work effectively and productively in a highly variable, dynamic, and unstructured environment.
  • Major gift fund-raising experience strongly preferred
  • Position may require up to 10% travel  

Applications for this position are accepted through the MIT Human Resources Office, Job #20908-10. This is a staff-level, full-time position, primarily located on MIT's main campus, with up to 10% travel.