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R&D Project Manager

Houston, Texas, US
Closing date
Dec 10, 2022

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Academic / Research
Conservation science
Project Management
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time
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Job Description

14549 Minetta St., Houston TX 77035


R&D Project Manager

About Solugen

At Solugen, we believe planet-scale change starts with the chemistry we use every day. So, we've built the world's first carbon negative molecule factory. Fusing biology with chemistry and technology to make the materials we need to sustain life on Earth. Solugen, Inc. is a revolutionary product and technology company seeking to use biology to transform the chemicals industry. Solugen was founded in 2016 and is a post-Series D venture-backed biotechnology company supported by renowned venture capital firms including Founders Fund, FiftyYears, Refactor, Y Combinator, Temasek, GIC, and Baillie-Gifford. Located in Houston, Texas, Solugen has recently started-up a first-of-its-kind carbon-negative manufacturing facility - The BioforgeTM - that uses a novel chemoenzymatic technology to manufacture bio-based chemistries for a wide range of applications including water treatment, agriculture, personal care, and other applications. Solugen currently has 175+ full time employees.


Reporting to the Head of R&D Operations, this role is focused on aligning day-to-day delivery with our organizational objective of delivering petrochemical-free molecules to the market. This individual will coordinate experiments between teams, manage timelines, and coordinate scale-up efforts. This role will partner with the heads of Analytical Chemistry, Enzymology, Strain Engineering, Metal Catalysis, Polymer Chemistry, Process Development, Pilot Plant, and Operations. This role will focus on project management and coordinating interdisciplinary decision making and facilitating technical execution from the SMEs. The project manager will coordinate information sharing, prepare materials for leadership updates and decision-making, and encourage cross-functional discussions. They will also identify, escalate, and manage resolutions of risks and issues, and act as the point of contact for project quality.

This hire will be the first R&D project management hire at Solugen, with enormous potential for growth as the company expands, and the ability to shape the function in partnership with the Head of R&D Operations and the organization. The hire is instrumental to enabling Solugen's ambitious growth plan, and will directly influence how we structure our approach and resourcing in R&D. We are excited to bring someone on to fill in this mission-critical role that will add value from Day 1.

Key Outcomes
  • Scale one major novel process from benchtop to demonstration plant within 1 year
  • Scale >2 novel processes from benchtop to pilot plant within 1 year
  • Oversee >3 novel processes from concept to benchtop scoping within 1 year
  • Develop R&D project management framework and oversee new product development pipeline
  • Generate detailed project plans to guide and streamline research efforts
  • Partner with Contract Manufacturing Organizations (CMOs)/tollers to coordinate piloting and scale-up efforts in bioprocessing and chemical processing

Key Competencies

Job Specific
  • Strong interpersonal skills including written and verbal communication, and the ability to develop and deliver effective presentations
  • Comfortable pursuing ill-defined problems with minimal input from management
  • Comfortable working in a fast-paced industrial environment
  • Strategic thinking skills: ability to review and interpret information to drive informed decision-making
  • Ability to prioritize, coordinate, and manage teams across multiple projects
  • Close attention to detail
  • Ability to resolve conflicts in a positive and collaborative manner
  • Experience using MS Project or other project management software required
  • Experience in a laboratory or pilot plant environment preferred
  • Excellent written technical communication skills
  • Experience with enzymology, strain engineering, analytical chemistry, metal catalysis, process development, or polymer chemistry a plus
  • Experience coordinating or leading projects that involves multiple people from different teams required

Company Specific
  • Ask a lot of questions, be curious, and have insights into your work
  • Be nimble, embrace the speed and ambiguity of startup culture
  • A passion for green chemistry and fighting climate change
  • Ability to self-manage and set your own priorities and schedule
  • Be comfortable working in multiple roles
  • Emphasize safety above all else
  • Respect for others
  • Creative problem solving
  • Willingness to learn and research new engineering/science concepts


Located in Houston

Bachelor's degree in Engineering or Science strongly preferred

2-5 years of a combination of R&D and Project Management experience

Solugen is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status or any other legally protected status.
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