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Chief Scientific Officer: Motif Ingredients, Boston MA

Motif makes ingredients for the next generation of plant-based and healthy foods.  Launched in February 2019 from Ginkgo Bioworks’ breakthrough platform for biological engineering, we use fermentation to brew vital proteins and nutrients that power your body and please your palate.  We collaborate with chefs, health experts, and food visionaries to create new building blocks for tomorrow’s food revolution. Motif combines tradition, innovation, and biotechnology to help build a more sustainable future, for everyone.

The Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) will be responsible for all aspects of Research & Development, including the discovery, development, and commercialization of Motif’s product portfolio.  Reporting directly to the CEO, this individual will build and lead a cross-functional team of protein biochemists, food scientists, information scientists, culinary artists, analytical chemists, microbiologists with fermentation expertise, chefs, process engineers, sensory scientists, and more. As a member of the senior leadership team, the CSO will be the internal and external face of science and technology for Motif as a whole.


    • Serve as a strategic business partner to the CEO
    • Build an elite R&D team that will set a new standard for understanding the secrets of food science
    • Develop the skills of the team
    • Ensure that the organization is producing the highest quality science in all aspects of the R&D process
    • Build stage gate and portfolio processes to track the product discovery and development progress
    • Ensure that intellectual property generated in R&D is captured, documented, and filed
    • Present the science of Motif at critical external meetings and forums
    • Ensure and direct Ginkgo to focus on Motif’s priorities and lead the Joint Steering Committee
    • Develop a broad set of strategic partnerships with leading experts in food science, oral processing, new ingredient discovery, and other technologies that are critical to discovering new food ingredients
    • Build and manage R&D budgets
    • Partner with the Head of Regulatory Affairs & Product Stewardship to ensure all science is generated for regulatory submissions
    • Perform analytical analyses of product candidates
    • Characterize the products as food ingredients, understanding their properties and how they function in food matrices, as well as how they impart sensory attributes
    • Build and run fermentation pilot facility to supply R&D with research-grade material for testing
    • Develop product prototypes to test new ingredients in applications of customers’ products
    • Develop sensory data on ingredients and product prototypes
    • Develop new prototypes to demonstrate the potential uses of new ingredients
    • Develop high-throughput screening protocols and test to identify new ingredients
    • Ensure process scale-up of fermentation and DSP processes, including continuous improvement programs

Pivotal Experience & Expertise

    • PhD in science or engineering, or equivalent work experience
    • Deep scientific expertise in one or more of the critical disciplines required to discover and develop Motif’s products, with special consideration for international experience in these areas
    • Established track record of scientific and product development achievements
    • Ability to take complicated scientific concepts and effectively communicate them to a range of audiences
    • Expertise in leading R&D organizations of significant scale
    • Experience in consumer food products and/or food ingredients
    • Demonstrated ability to work closely and successfully with business and manufacturing partners
    • High-level knowledge of how to manage budgets
    • Prior involvement in technology and product licensing
    • Strong verbal and written communications skills
    • Excellent leadership skills

Leadership Capabilities

    • Leads by example
    • Focuses on team-building and developing the organization
    • Transparent and keeps team informed
    • Works well with peers
    • Committed to continuous improvement of self and team
    • Has cultural sensitivity
    • Believes in and practices the power of diversity
    • Admits when wrong

Culture Fit & Impact

    • Open-minded
    • Sense of curiosity and wonderment
    • Passionate about science and its application to creating products
    • Is committed to servant leadership
    • Communicates with respect and dignity
    • Has high standards of business ethics
    • Embraces diversity
    • Is committed to teamwork
    • Passionate about solving big challenges
    • Is positive and searches for solutions
    • Works well as a member of a team
    • Is innovative and committed to new solutions
    • Challenges convention
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