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NMDSI Research Program Officer

At Northwestern Mutual, we are strong, innovative and growing. We invest in our people. We care and make a positive difference.

The Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute (NMDSI), a Center of Excellence in collaboration with Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, seeks to fill a research program manager role. The vision for the NMDSI is to be a world-class institute that transforms our world through the power of data science. We inspire and cultivate passion for data science, galvanizing the brightest minds in the Milwaukee region to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems and inspire the next generation of data scientists.

Our focus in three key areas – research, talent, and community – allows us to solve important business and community challenges by harnessing the power of data for research and scientific discovery. This particular role will work across our organizations to drive the research pillar for the Institute in partnership with the NMDSI core leadership.


Plans, coordinates and actively drives internal and external research and innovation for complex, cross-functional, and multidisciplinary projects among a diverse array of partners. Manages the end to end plan that is inclusive of all of the changes needed to support initiative outcomes (e.g., pre-award support, proposal writing, project plans and reports, and a cadence of project meetings among the research community). Projects often involve the knowledge of and the ability to balance the technical rigor, as well as the application of emerging technology in various domain areas of application. Instrumental for success in this role requires the art of effective and concise communication on both the business value for the work and/or broader impact among key stakeholders and partners.

Primary Duties & Responsibilities ​

  • Accountable for aligning one or more large, complex programs consisting of multiple efforts. 

  • Makes connections across teams and work streams to drive identification and facilitation of interdependencies. 

  • Accountable for defining the program structure and creating a unified plan to deliver on the program objectives for sourcing and executing internal and external (e.g., National Science Foundation) research funding proposal opportunities.

  • Drives for clarity on objectives, priorities and measures. 

  • Accountable for identifying, assessing and mitigating program risks and issues, and removing impediments.

  • Assist the strategic direction of the NMDSI Research Subcommittee in partnership with NMDSI leadership.

  • May lead or mentor team members in an effort to scale and grow the research program.


  • Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Computer Science, Information Systems or related field, or an equivalent combination of education and work experience.

  • Minimum 6 years of professional experience.

  • Five or more years of program management experience in technology and/or business functions. Experience with program management methodologies & governance.

  • Experience with project management methodologies & SDLC.  Working knowledge of project management / agile tooling.  

  • Experience navigating financial, compliance, legal and governance structures embedded within and across the workstream.

  • Understands how technology is developed, tested and implemented as well as emerging technology concepts.  

  • Ability to work closely with and build relationships across the organization, its engineers, product managers, business leaders and external partners (academia, non-profits, and corporate sector).  

  • Experience managing large scale, cross-functional initiatives using a variety of delivery methodologies (i.e. waterfall, agile, lean, scrum, etc.).

  • Familiarity or experience with external funding opportunities for research, including but not limited to: pre- and/or post-award management, proposal writing, budgets, and overall guiding principles for successful proposal submission and award management.

  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.

  • Intellectual curiosity and a desire to dig into details, learn, ask questions and become the ""go to expert"" on certain concepts and topics.

  • Leads highly visible multidisciplinary project teams or initiatives; provides thought leadership.

  • Solves unique problems with broad impact on the business; requires conceptual and innovative thinking to develop solutions.   

  • Impacts the direction and resource allocation for program, project or services; works within general department policies and industry guidelines. 

  • Explains difficult or sensitive information; works to build consensus.      


  • Collaborative team first environment
  • Medical, Dental, Vision, 401K, and Pension
  • We offer competitive compensation, including annual bonus plans
  • We provide tuition reimbursement, commuter plans, and paid time off
  • We provide extensive professional training opportunities
  • We offer an excellent Work/Life Balance

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Northwestern Mutual pays on a geographic-specific salary structure and placement in the salary range for this position will be determined by a number of factors including the skills, education, training, credentials and experience of the candidate; the scope, complexity as well as the cost of labor in the market; and other conditions of employment. At Northwestern Mutual, it is not typical for an individual to be hired at or near the top of the range for their role and compensation decisions are dependent on the facts and circumstances of each case. Please note that the salary range listed in the posting is the standard pay structure. Positions in certain locations (such as California) may provide an increase on the standard pay structure based on the location. Please click here for additional information relating to location-based pay structures.

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We are an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age or status as a protected veteran, or any other characteristic protected by law.

If you work or would be working in California, Colorado, New York City, Washington or outside of a Corporate location, please click here for information pertaining to compensation and benefits.


We’re excited about the potential people bring to Northwestern Mutual. You can grow your career here while enjoying first-class perks, benefits, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.