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Chief Scientist

Air Protein
San Francisco, California, US
Closing date
Nov 29, 2021

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Academic / Research
Conservation science
Climate Change
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time
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Chief Scientist Leadership · San Francisco East Bay Area, California


Imagine a meat company unlike anything that has come before! Air Protein™ is on a mission to impact climate change by revolutionizing how we make meat. Founded in 2019, we make protein from elements of the air.

Air Protein is a modern food company, crafting the world's first air-based meats to feed us more sustainably, help renew the planet's resources and eliminate compromise between nutrition, taste and climate impact. Using novel technology inspired by NASA, we convert elements found in the air around us into protein using probiotic cultures, then turn those proteins into any meat imaginable. It's where cutting-edge science meets bold ambition to reinvent the way we eat.

Join our team of passionate scientists, engineers, and business leaders working to transform the future of food with solutions we never thought possible, creating meat that is nutritious, delicious and more sustainable. Air Protein uses less land, less water and is significantly faster to make than any other meat available.

In addition to the chance to work with cutting edge technology to help combat climate change and working toward addressing the impending food crisis, Air Protein employees also enjoy competitive benefits and total compensation plans and a collaborative company culture. If you join us on this relentless pursuit for more, changing the world will soon feel as natural as taking a breath.

Air Protein is funded by ADM, a world leader in fermentation technology, GV (formerly Google Ventures), and Barclays, one of the world's leading financial institutions.


The Chief Scientist is accountable to develop processes and create a variety of ingredients, and will focus on organism development. The successful candidate will be a well-researched, creative and enthusiastic scientist with a degree and extensive experience in molecular biology, bioengineering, genetic engineering, or biochemistry. Using expertise in strain and organism development, this role will use classical and modern tools involving genetic engineering to create novel ingredients that can be used by Air Protein and Kiverdi to build novel products, experience in at least one non-model organism is ideal. This individual will be a passionate innovator with a strong imagination to make air-derived products and will always be exploring possibilities, "looking around the corner" to see what is next to lead this company and industry forward.

Key areas of focus:
  • In partnership with the CEO executive team and other key stakeholders, develop a comprehensive research and innovation strategy that enables/supports the business strategy at Air Protein
  • Lead, create and oversee the innovation center
  • Research, explore and innovate with components that will lead to sustainable ingredient and technology development that Air Protein can leverage to create products
  • Manage a multi-disciplinary and diverse staff to stay on target, achieve key timelines and project milestones while stringently remaining within budgetary guidelines
  • Develop and manage scope and schedule for projects
  • Represent the company through effective and trustworthy communications with investment and commercial partners
  • Develop relationships with both new and existing external partners and universities to develop innovative solutions
  • Serve as a brand ambassador of Air Protein, both internally and externally, educating and empowering others to be successful in their work as it relates to the mission and strategy of the business.
  • Embrace the mission of Air Protein and the culture

Pivotal Experience & Expertise
  • Functional Research/Scientific Expertise: Brings at least 20+ years of experience in progressive research roles in either corporate or academic settings. Brings significant expertise in strain and organism development, preferably using non-model microbes; advanced degree or PhD in a relevant scientific discipline (e.g. molecular biology, genetic engineering, biochemistry, biochemical engineering, biochemistry etc.) is important.
  • Expert in organism development and optimization, ideally in a non-model system Track record of success developing research strategies that drive innovation and results in new technology, product and process development
  • Understands the use of technology as a competitive differentiator and category disruptor

  • Inspire & Influence - Ability to communicate with all levels of an organization. Excellent oral & written communication skills
  • Built Talent & Teams - Proven ability to build and develop teams with evidence of strong interpersonal and team-building skills
  • Drive for Results - Excellent portfolio/project management skills. Takes and owns decisions; leads with passion and ambition for Air Protein's mission
  • Lead Innovation - Demonstrated active learner with the ability to make independent observations. Creative courage and vision to challenge the thinking of others. A disruptive thinker with an entrepreneurial mindset; motivated and empowered by being unencumbered by layers of decision-making and multiple processes.
  • Adaptability - Comfortable with change in a fast-moving, entrepreneurial environment; resourceful and can operate effectively in a lean environment
  • Experience working in a high growth, fast paced business unit or company : An experienced technical leader who will help the company scale while evolving the unique culture. Capable of building research processes and capabilities in a dynamic,, fast-paced environment; comfortable leading through periods of transformation and ambiguity.
  • Stakeholder management: Proven ability to work seamlessly across functions and build productive relationships. Effectively communicates an understanding of performance mechanisms.
  • Connect cross-functionally with the fermentation, product and manufacturing teams on technology development related to claims, performance, usage and technology translation.
  • Effective at building and managing external stakeholders/partnerships.
  • Analyzes reactions from their audiences to evaluate the success of design or implementation of tactics; Understands the company's objectives and takes appropriate measures to gain consensus and correct unsatisfactory performance and results.

Air Protein is an equal opportunity employer.

Disclaimer: This job description has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed, and it is not intended to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities and qualifications required of employees assigned to this job.
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