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Merck Associate Director, Discovery Portfolio Management in Boston, Massachusetts

Job Description

New hires based in the US & Puerto Rico will be required to demonstrate that they have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or qualify for a medical or religious exemption or accommodation to this vaccination requirement, subject to applicable law.

Global Project and Alliance Management (GPAM) sits in the R&D organization at our company's Research Division. The Project, Portfolio and Alliance Managers in GPAM are core members of discovery, development, and alliance teams at our company. Project Managers drive these cross-functional teams to deliver projects and products that improve human health and our company's business, and Alliance Managers ensure successful collaborations with our R&D alliance partners. The Portfolio Managers within GPAM are responsible for driving and maintaining the individual Therapeutic Area strategies while ensuring alignment to the broader company Corporate strategy. In addition, GPAM includes a Project Management Office (PMO) which is responsible for the development, sustainment, and training of GPAM-owned systems, tools, and business processes as well as alignment with Finance, IT, and functional area operations groups within our company.

Position Description/Summary

The Associate Director, Discovery Portfolio Management, is a core functional area member of Leadership teams in the Discovery space. Partnering with the Therapeutic Area (TA) and Functional Area Senior Management teams, the Associate Director, Discovery Portfolio Management will help plan and execute our company's discovery, translational pharmacology, development, and in-line portfolio efforts. Portfolio Managers are strategic partners to the Project Leads, TA Heads and Committee Chairs and may manage multiple cross-functional and/or cross-divisional committees. They are also expected to contribute to ongoing business process improvement and talent development in GPAM. Specific tasks may include:

  • Maintaining the portfolio view for the breadth of projects within the TA, including timing and anticipated milestones, in partnership with the TA Head, Discovery Core Team Leads and other subject matter experts

  • Contributing to, synthesizing, and articulating strategy and translating it into execution

  • Capturing and conveying various metrics on the portfolio, including resources, project distribution across sites, phases of development, etc. Partnering with Finance to ensure resources/budgets are planned and managed

  • Providing our company organizational and process expertise to teams to enable navigation of discovery, development, corporate governance, archival and other business requirements

  • Collaborating effectively with functional areas, support functions, and alliance partner functions (if applicable) to facilitate project delivery

  • Preparing regular reports that convey portfolio metrics, issues and opportunities for senior management and governance committees

  • Maintaining accurate project data in enterprise databases

  • Managing or administrating strategic, cross-functional or cross-divisional management, governance, or alliance committees

  • Preparing for, facilitating, and documenting outcomes of all meetings, ensuring they have clear purpose and objectives and that conflict is surfaced and resolved

  • Providing mentoring, coaching, and oversight to Specialist/Senior Specialist Project/Portfolio Managers working on common projects

  • Actively participating and completing ongoing training and personal development activities to increase leadership competency and to gain knowledge and skill in the discipline of Portfolio and Project management and the business and science of pharmaceutical product discovery and development.

  • May be asked to manage projects in discovery or early development (discovery, preclinical, clinical) in any therapeutic area, guiding teams through creation, management approval, execution, and termination/closeout of integrated project plans and timelines appropriate to the phase of development and complexity of the project.

Education, Experience, and Skill Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree required with a concentration in a scientific or applied discipline required

  • Five to ten (5-10) years of experience in drug discovery/development in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industries with demonstrated project or portfolio management skills

  • Demonstrated leadership and ethics; demonstrated ability to hold others accountable for delivery across multiple levels of an organization

  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a team setting, including demonstrated experience building and managing teams, committees, task forces, etc.

  • Strong partnership and problem-solving skills; able to establish good working relationships with employees at all levels, resolve conflict and provide feedback, and to devise and implement creative solutions to problems

  • Strong communication skills, both oral and written; demonstrated ability to speak up appropriately and to raise issues to teams and management

Preferred Qualifications

  • Advanced degree (e.g., MS, MBA) preferred

  • Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, Portfolio management certification (PfMP) and/or formal coursework/training in project or portfolio management


  • Yes, 5-10% of the time


We are a research-driven biopharmaceutical company. Our mission is built on the simple premise that if we “follow the science” that great medicines can make a significant impact to our world. We believe that a research-driven enterprise dedicated to world-class science can succeed by inventing medicine and vaccine innovations that make a difference for patients across the globe.

Who we are …

We are known as Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey, USA in the United States and Canada and MSD everywhere else. For more than a century, we have been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world's most challenging diseases. Today, our company continues to be at the forefront of research to deliver innovative health solutions and advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and animals around the world.

What we look for …

In a world of rapid innovation, we seek brave Inventors who want to make an Impact in all aspects of our business, enabling breakthroughs that will affect generations to come. We encourage you to bring your disruptive thinking, collaborative spirit and diverse perspective to our organization.


In accordance with Managers' Policy - Job Posting and Employee Placement, all employees subject to this policy are required to have a minimum of twelve (12) months of service in current position prior to applying for open positions.

If you have been offered a separation benefits package, but have not yet reached your separation date and are offered a position within the salary and geographical parameters as set forth in the Summary Plan Description (SPD) of your separation package, then you are no longer eligible for your separation benefits package. To discuss in more detail, please contact your HRBP or Talent Acquisition Advisor.

Residents of Colorado

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US and Puerto Rico Residents Only:

Our company is committed to inclusion, ensuring that candidates can engage in a hiring process that exhibits their true capabilities. Please click here (https://survey.sogosurvey.com/r/aCdfqL) if you need an accommodation during the application or hiring process.

For more information about personal rights under Equal Employment Opportunity, visit:

EEOC Poster (https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/ofccp/regs/compliance/posters/pdf/eeopost.pdf)

EEOC GINA Supplement​

OFCCP EEO Supplement (https://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/posters/pdf/OFCCP_EEO_Supplement_Final_JRF_QA_508c.pdf)

Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination

We are proud to be a company that embraces the value of bringing diverse, talented, and committed people together. The fastest way to breakthrough innovation is when diverse ideas come together in an inclusive environment. We encourage our colleagues to respectfully challenge one another’s thinking and approach problems collectively. We are an equal opportunity employer, committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse workplace.

Search Firm Representatives Please Read Carefully

Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA, also known as Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., Kenilworth, NJ, USA, does not accept unsolicited assistance from search firms for employment opportunities. All CVs / resumes submitted by search firms to any employee at our company without a valid written search agreement in place for this position will be deemed the sole property of our company. No fee will be paid in the event a candidate is hired by our company as a result of an agency referral where no pre-existing agreement is in place. Where agency agreements are in place, introductions are position specific. Please, no phone calls or emails.

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Requisition ID: R160687