Pre Award Research Administrator - Engineering (Hybrid/Remote opportunity)

Apply now Job no: 520696
Work type: Staff Full Time
Campus: UMass Amherst
Department: Dean - Engineering
Pay Grade: 26
Categories: Research

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.


Job Summary

Reporting to the Director of Research Development Services, this position strengthens and enhances research in the College of Engineering (CoE) Office of Research Development Services (RDS) and identifies opportunities for expanding funding for on-going research focuses.  Performs diversified and complex administrative, financial and pre-award submission for a high volume of complex and competitive grant proposals (including interdisciplinary research proposals, research center proposals and proposals for single or multiple investigators) in a fast-paced deadline driven environment.

The College of Engineering has five departments, 17 centers and institutes, more than 150 researcher active faculty and staff.


Essential Functions

  • Manages the development and internal approval of research and special project proposals and contracts for submission to federal, state and private funding sources.  Provides expert advice on agency, institutional and government proposal compliance to university faculty and Principal Investigators as assigned.
  • Manages the planning and development of grant or contract supported projects and programs.  Provides critical analysis and guidance in the review and interpretation of opportunity announcement documents.  Develops budgets and budget narratives sufficient to support project or program activities and ensures consistency with applicable requirements.  Drafts, writes and edits proposal documents.  Reviews final proposals and ensures commitments (both fiscal and technical) and accountability are in accordance with university and sponsor policies, procedures, and regulations.  Prepares and submits timely routing documentation for internal proposal submission approvals. 
  • Provides professional consultation, management, and leadership to ensure that faculty investigators have assistance with:
    • The proposal and budget development process for research proposals and progress reports to improve success rates.
    • Multi-disciplinary submissions and project development.
    • System-to-system proposal development and routing requirements.
    • Complete, accurate, and competitive proposals.
    • Obtaining all compliance approvals by the appropriate university regulatory committees (e.g. Institutional Review Board, institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, Conflict of Interest).
  • Interprets and applies principles, rules, regulations, policies, precedents or other guidelines specific to the assigned research project(s) and its sponsor to resolve problems, answer questions and provide information and advice.
  • Acts as the primary liaison between Principal Investigator and the Office of Pre-Award Services (OPAS) for all pre-award and proposal matters. Works cooperatively with supervisors, university staff and faculty, and funding agencies to address problems or concerns and find appropriate and timely solutions.


Other Functions

Performs other duties as assigned.


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Bachelor's degree with 4 years of related experience. One (1) year of relevant experience may be substituted for every one (1) year of required academia.
  • Demonstrated pre-award financial management experience, including proposal development and management.
  • Familiarity and experience with all types of award mechanisms, including grants, contracts, subcontracts, and cooperative agreements. 
  • Knowledge of program administration guidelines for both federal and non-federal funding agencies.
  • Ability to understand and apply university policies and procedures, as well as the laws, rules and regulations pertaining to grants, contracts, cooperative agreements, sub-awards and subcontracts.
  • Ability to work independently within the college, and to work as a team member with other central administrative units of the University.
  • Ability to plan ahead, prioritize, and work under pressure in a deadline-oriented environment in which workload ebbs and flows and can require the management of multiple submissions across multiple PIs in a short span of time with frequent interruptions.
  • Ability to maintain accurate records and to prepare summary reports as required.
  • Ability to analyze complex situations, identify workable solutions, and effectively balance service with regulatory compliance.
  • Ability to work effectively, prioritize, and be flexible in a high-paced, high-volume professional environment.
  • Outstanding organizational skills, ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously, capable of self direction, ability to deal diplomatically with people at all levels, a high degree of personal integrity and discretion, solid decision-making skills, and judgment.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills. Must have the ability to communicate effectively and serve as a liaison between granting agencies, university administration and the principal investigators. 
  • Intermediate level of experience with Excel and Word and the willingness to learn new technology. 


Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Experience in sponsored programs (such as NSF, NIH, DoD, DoE, USDA as well as industry partners and non-profit foundations) and grant management in an academic or equivalent setting.
  • Demonstrated experience in the interpretation and application of regulations pertaining to sponsored programs.
  • Experience preparing/submitting scientific research proposals and budgets under tight deadlines.  Proficient with electronic grants management systems (i.e., NIH eRA Commons, NSF Fastlane, Proposal Central, etc.) and experience with enterprise research administration systems (e.g. Kuali).
  • Ability to interpret and translate programmatic needs into cost effective budget proposals to maximize funding opportunities.
  • Experience managing finances and/or projects with an institution of higher education, including knowledge of government and fund accounting. 
  • Experience with Cost Accounting Standards and Uniform Guidance Requirements.
  • Certification in Research Administration such as CRA, CPRA, CFRA.


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

Typical office environment. 


Work Schedule

  • Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm.
  • Required to work some nights and weekends to meet proposal deadlines.
  • This position has the opportunity for a hybrid work schedule, which is defined by the University as an arrangement where an employee’s work is regularly performed at a location other than the campus workspace for a portion of the week. As this position falls within the Professional Staff Union, it is subject to the terms and conditions of the Professional Staff Union collective bargaining agreement.
  • This position has the opportunity for a remote work schedule, which is defined by the University as an arrangement where the employee’s work location is to work from a site other than the UMass Amherst campus. As this position falls within the Professional Staff Union, it is subject to the terms and conditions of the Professional Staff Union collective bargaining agreement.


Salary Information

Level 26

PSU Hiring Ranges

The University also offers an attractive benefits package.


Special Instructions to Applicants

Along with the application, please submit a resume, cover letter and contact information for three (3) professional references. The search will remain open until the position is filled.


UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

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The University of Massachusetts is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action, Title IX employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, sex, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age over 40, protected veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, marital status, or other protected class.