Departmental Research Administrator (I-III)

Apply now Job no: 522387
Work type: Staff Full Time
Campus: UMass Boston
Department: Manning CNHS - Dean's Office
Pay Grade: 32
Categories: Laboratory & Research, Professional Staff Union (PSU), College of Nursing

General Summary:

The Department Research Administrator (DRA) is a four-level series that supports proposal development, award management and compliance oversight throughout the grant lifecycle. This series will provide unit level administrative and operational management of the externally funded award portfolios of Principal Investigators (PI’s).  The DRA will be responsible for proposal development and award management including application development, account set-up and monitoring, personnel and non-personnel transactions including personnel appointments and procurement.  Award management activities including budget management, spending plan development, account tracking, financial reports and award modifications while maintaining award records in compliance with university and sponsor policies as well as applicable federal, state and local policies. The incumbents will work closely with each PI on all aspects of the administration of their proposals and awards, including portfolio analysis and assisting with special projects and programmatic coordination, when needed. The DRA will work in collaboration with ORSP and other central administrative units at the University and may supervise other department research administration staff.

We are currently seeking a position within the following team: College of Science and Mathematics, Manning College of Nursing and Health Sciences and School for the Environment. These DRA I-III positions will report to the DRA Team Leads. 

The organizational levels in this series include:

  • Department Research Administrator I. The DRA I is the first, entry level professional job in this series.
  • Department Research Administrator II. The DRA II is the second, early career level professional job in this series.
  • Department Research Administrator III. The DRA III is the third, mid to senior level professional job in this series.
  • Senior Department Research Administrator. The SDRA is the fourth, senior level professional job in this series.

Examples of Duties: 


  • Grant preparation coordination, support and management: Provide technical assistance to Principal Investigators (PI’s) by preparing and ensuring completeness of proposals submitted to external sponsors; work collaboratively to prepare/review project budgets and budget justifications with PIs. When appropriate, recommend changes to applications with input from higher level department/grant administrators. Ensure proposals are entered and routed in a timely manner.
  • Support PI’s in the processing of non-competing continuations, progress reports, supplements and other award/ agreement amendments.
  • Work closely with unit financial staff to ensure appropriate and timely expenditures of all personnel and non-personnel costs; run monthly reports of all grants in portfolio and reconcile; identify and react to any variances as necessary.
  • Liaise as necessary with ORSP pre-award, post-award and compliance staff, and other central university departments (Human Resources, UPST, Controller).
  • Assist with collecting information and documentation for external or internal auditors in their examination of active and terminated projects.
  • Understand sub-recipient monitoring requirements.
  • Maintain familiarity with applicable federal regulations, policies, guidelines, latest applications and amendments. Ensure all are upheld.
  • Assist the ORSP postaward team in Billing, Accounts Receivable and Financial Analysis regarding invoicing and outstanding payments with sponsors.
  • Support Associate Deans for Research (ADR) efforts to encourage and increase externally funded research.  Coordinate ADR/ORSP seminars, workshops, conferences and the dissemination and collection of grant opportunities.
  • Assist with other unit or central research administration tasks as required or requested.


  • Same as level I with more consistency and independence; be responsible for additional volume and higher complexity of proposals and awards.
  • Assist in the orientation and training of new grant administrators.
  • Provide guidance to junior grant administrators during proposal submission process.
  • Independently review funding announcements and provide guidance on eligibility and sponsor requirements to investigators

DRA III                                                               

  • Same as levels I and II but proven consistency and independence; be responsible for most complex proposals and awards
  • Lead and participate in ORSP and unit trainings for PI’s and faculty; Orient and train new grant administrators and provide guidance to level I and II staff;
  • Oversee collection and dissemination of materials requested by external or internal auditors, through ORSP, in their examination of active and terminated projects;
  • Assist in the development and implementation of unit policies and procedures and participate in initiatives to improve department processes related to the conduct of sponsored projects and programs.
  • Provide assistance and consultation on job development and other human resources management issues for grant funded staff.
  • Coordinate specialized training activities along with ORSP staff related to sponsored programs.
  • Represent the PI and the DRA IV at meetings with other units of the university concerning research administration functions.


  • Same as level III with proven expertise and independence
  • Prepare regular reports to leadership on volume of activity, time to completion of critical processes and workload distribution
  • Direct supervision of DRA I, II and III.


Bachelor’s Degree, preferably in business, finance, or a similar area relevant to grant administration from an accredited institution is required for all levels. Master’s Degree in research administration, business, finance, or similar area preferred for DRA III and SDRA. Professional experience in sponsored programs in an academic, research or equivalent setting is required

DRA I: 0-2 years of related experience, including: 

  • Working knowledge of OMB Uniform Guidance for institutions of higher education or non-profit organizations.
  • Ability to act with discretion and judgment and maintenance of confidentiality is vital.
  • Ability to be flexible and highly organized.
  • Effective analytical and creative problem-solving skills, with the ability to prioritize and work under pressure in a deadline-oriented environment.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Strong commitment to customer service.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite especially Excel and proficiency with PeopleSoft or a similar robust financial accounting system.
  • Ability to develop project workflow and timeline documents.
  • Ability to work independently within the department and with other central administrative units of the university.
  • Ability to exercise independent judgment especially during proposal submission process and in response to audit requests.
  • Ability to understand and apply university policies and procedures, as well as the laws, rules and regulations pertaining to grants, contracts, cooperative agreements, sub-recipients.
  • Ability to obtain information from the enterprise database system and to understand sponsored program financial reports and related documents.
  • Ability to maintain accurate records and to prepare summary reports.
  • Skill in the use of electronic sponsored program services systems (e.g.,, eRA Commons, Kuali, NSF Fastlane).

DRA II :3-5   Related Experience, including:

  • Proven experience with federal and nonfederal funding opportunities, proposal submissions as well as post-award functions involving several types of award mechanisms, including grants.
  • Demonstrated budgeting and post-award financial management with contracts, sub-contracts and cooperative agreements required.
  • Membership in professional organizations, such as Society of Research Administrators (SRA) and/or National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) preferred.
  • Familiarity with human-subject compliance, intellectual property, conflict of interest, procurement, property management, environmental health and safety, and human resource.
  • Working knowledge of additional federal agency regulations beyond OMB Uniform Guidance, including PHS Grants Policy Statement and FAR preferred.
  • International contracting experience preferred.
  • Certified Research Administrator (CRA) is preferred.

DRA III : 5-7   Years of Related Experience, including:

  • Advanced skill in the use of electronic sponsored program services systems is requisite (e.g. NSF Fastlane,, eCommons, Kuali).
  • Independence and leadership skills in coordination and project management.

SDRA : 7+ years of related experience, including: 

  • Ability to and experience managing, supervising and retaining research administration staff. 

Application Instructions: 

Please apply online with your resume, cover letter and list of three professional references.

Review of candidates will begin following the application closing date. 

Only Internal candidates in the Professional Staff Bargaining Unit will be considered during the first 10 business days of the posting.  All other candidates will be considered after that period. 

Salary Ranges for the appropriate Pay Grade can be found at the following link: 

Grade: DRA I - 31, DRA II - 32, DRA III - 33 

Salary Ranges

This is an exempt union position.

All official salary offers must be approved by Human Resources.

UMass Boston is committed to the full inclusion of all qualified individuals. As part of this commitment, we will ensure that persons with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations for the hiring process. If reasonable accommodation is needed, please contact or 617-287-5150.

Advertised: Eastern Standard Time
Applications close:

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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.