Research Administrator (Hybrid or Remote)

Apply now Job no: 524074
Work type: Staff Full Time
Campus: UMass Amherst
Department: Computer Science
Pay Grade: 26
Categories: Sponsored Programs, Grants and Contracts, Accounting/Finance/Budget

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

The Research Administrator is responsible for the full life cycle of quality research administration ranging from proposal development to post award administration, award close-out, and award compliance for a group of Principal Investigators in the College of Information and Computer Sciences.


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 assigned University faculty and Principal Investigators.
  • 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 consistent with applicable requirements. Drafts, writes, and/or 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. Works cooperatively with supervisors, UMass Office of Pre-award Services (OPAS) personnel, various University staff and faculty, and funding agencies. Prepares and submits timely routing documentation for internal proposal submission approvals.
  • Provides professional consultation, management, and staff leadership to ensure that faculty investigators have: assistance in the proposal and budget development process for research proposals and progress reports to improve success rates, encourage multi-disciplinary submissions and project development; assistance with system-to-system proposal development and routing requirements; an effective team to package complete, accurate, and competitive proposals; assistance with obtaining all compliance approvals by the appropriate university regulatory committees (e.g. Institutional Review Board, institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, Conflict of Interest).

Post Award

  • Manages, advises, reconciles, analyzes, closes out, and reports on spending and budget activity for a number of fund types, including research grants and contracts, gift, general operating, faculty start-up, and program income accounts. Prepares forecasts and makes recommendations about staffing and spending changes to keep projects on track. Meets with faculty and reviews travel, deadlines, new funding sources, etc. and adjusts staffing plans as necessary. Manages PI effort commitments and assists with annual effort certification. Participates in the contract close-out process; compiles information for final reports and certificates.
  • Advises faculty, researchers, and students on purchasing and travel policies; processes and monitors project expenditures and coordinates payments.


  • 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 Investigators and the Office of Pre-Award Services (OPAS) for all pre-award/proposal matters and the Office of Post-Award Management (OPAM) and the Controller's Office for all post-award matters. Is proactive and reactive to problems/concerns and finds appropriate and timely solutions.
  • Assists OPAS, OPAM, and the Controller's Office with compliance with federal and private cost and administrative principles (Uniform Guidance, etc.) and prepares and presents responses to audit findings.


Other Functions

Performs other duties as assigned.


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

  • Bachelor's Degree and at least four (4) years' professional financial management experience, preferably in sponsored programs and grant management in an academic or equivalent setting OR Associate's degree with at least six (6) years' professional financial management experience OR Master's Degree with at least two (2) years' financial experience.  
  • Demonstrated experience developing and managing budgets, preferably related to sponsored programs.
  • Ability to learn 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 the OPAS, OPAM and 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)

  • Familiarity and experience with all types of award mechanisms, including grants, contracts, subcontracts, and cooperative agreements. 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Membership in professional organizations such as SRA and/or NCURA.


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

Typical office environment. 


Work Schedule

  • Monday-Friday.
  • 37.5 hours per week.
  • 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


Special Instructions to Applicants

Along with the application, please submit a resume. References will be checked at the finalist stage. Please be prepared to provide contact information for three (3) professional references.

Applications will be reviewed on a continuous basis until the position is filled. Early submissions are encouraged.


UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, caste, creed, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, political belief or affiliation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related condition(s), veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, natural and protective hairstyle and any other class of individuals protected from discrimination 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 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.