Contract Officer

University of Chicago

University of Chicago

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Chicago, IL, USA
Posted on Friday, September 22, 2023


Provost URA: Research Contracting

About the Department

University Research Administration has the responsibility to review and provide institutional endorsement for all proposals to federal and other external sponsors (excluding gifts), assuring compliance with University policies and sponsor terms and conditions. URA is the institutional authority for the negotiation and acceptance of financial support or other contractually-binding obligations in the form of a contract, grant, or agreement, including material transfer agreements and clinical trials.

Job Summary

The Contract Officer position sits within the Grants and Contracts Team on the Research Contract Group at University Research Administration. The Research Contract Group plays a key role in a team-based approach to faculty-centric development and execution of sponsored research, collaboration, and related agreements. The group is organized into teams that support Clinical Trials, Industry Collaboration and Research Related Grants and Contracts. The position will be focus on specialized research-related agreements including but not limited to Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs), Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDAs), and Data Use Agreements (DUA) and Collaboration Agreements.

The Contract Officer is responsible for administering and coordinating proposals, awards, incoming subawards, clinical trial agreements, corporate sponsored research agreements, and other contract types as needed, for support of research, training, and other sponsored activities at The University of Chicago. The external funding to the University is provided by various sources - federal; non-profit; for-profit; pharmaceutical companies and other non-federal biomedical sponsors; and governmental non-federal sources, including foreign entities.

The job uses best practices and knowledge of activities to support the functional areas of University Research Administration. Supports research, training, and other sponsored activities at the University, building upon knowledge of the University, processes, and customers. Requires in-depth knowledge and experience. Uses best practices and knowledge of internal or external University issues to improve products or services. Solves complex problems; takes a new perspective using existing solutions.


  • Drafts, negotiates, and comments upon complex sponsored research and collaboration agreements with third parties on all research -related agreements including confidentiality, data use and material transfer agreements.

  • Acts as part of the Contracts Team, to independently manage various agreement types from initiation to completion/execution in a timely, efficient, and thorough manner.

  • Communicates clearly and consistently with stakeholders during the negotiation process.

  • Works closely and collaboratively with University Leadership support of faculty and various University needs and priorities.

  • Has delegated authorization to sign agreements on behalf of the University under delegations authorized by the Associate Vice President for Research Administration.

  • Applies advanced knowledge of contracting and related processes for all sponsored projects/portfolio assigned to this position.

  • Demonstrated understanding of university research environment and policies.

  • Post-award management/contract negotiation for all sponsored projects for the University departments and units assigned to the position.

  • The individual is a member of a Team and must contribute to the team effort, as needed. This may involve assisting colleagues to ensure timely campus service to departments, units, and sponsors, as needed and to perform backup duties during staff vacations or sick leaves.

  • Interacts with individuals at companies and institutions regarding all agreement/contract types; faculty and administrative staff at the University; and on occasion with staff of the federal government, non-federal sponsors and other organizations.

  • Provides faculty and administrators with application preparation, analyzing possible solutions to problems that arise using standard procedures. Reviews, interprets, and negotiates contract and grant terms to determine compliance and/or conflict with federal regulations and procedures.

  • With moderate guidance, helps to obtain sponsor approvals for major changes to project work scope, etc. Transmits proposals and manages post award administration, gathers and submits closeout documentation, and maintains records. Ensures completeness and accuracy and coordinates any internal controls prior to the submission of documents to awarding agency.

  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications


Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 2-5 years of work experience in a related job discipline.



Preferred Qualifications


  • Law degree.


  • Law degree, paralegal or legal experience.

Technical Skills or Knowledge:

  • Proven ability to grasp complex legal and business issues.

  • Proven ability to work effectively in support of business development and/or research administration and technology transfer professionals.

  • Familiarity with intellectual property concepts and federal laws and regulations as they pertain to academic research.

  • Knowledge of academic research principles and research integrity policy (Conflict of Interest, IRB, IACUC, etc.) a plus.

  • Knowledge of intellectual property law (copyright, patent).

  • Working knowledge of and experience applying regulatory requirements regarding research data and privacy, including HIPAA and GDPR as applied to research.

  • Comfortable with scientific concepts and terminology; able to understand the significance of various agreement terms in view of the nature of the materials/confidential information to be transferred and proposed research.

  • Rapid proficiency in the use of University of Chicago systems such as AURA and a high level of proficiency in Excel.

  • Strong computer skills including word processing, database management and spreadsheet skills (Microsoft Office suite and Adobe suite a must).

Preferred Competencies

  • Excellent collaboration skills with a strong customer focused approach.

  • Must possess strong reading and analytical abilities and be detail oriented and organized.

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.

  • Demonstrated maturity and sensitivity to the needs of multiple constituencies in a complex academic environment.

  • Prioritize and meet deadlines and adhere to University policies, raising questions when necessary.

  • Self-motivated and able to work independently with strong administrative/problem solving skills.

  • High level of creativity, energy, integrity, thoughtful judgment and problem solving, decision-making, and teamwork.

  • Learn new skills, take on new challenges, and ability to effectively interact and collaborate with all levels of university administrators and faculty members.

  • Customer service is a high priority of the office with a demeanor of civility and professionalism at all times.

  • Make decisions independently that will have downstream impacts on the management of sponsored projects.

  • Manage detail-oriented workload, to organize and prioritize workload during high-pressure, high-volume workload periods and to manage stress.

  • Exercise sound judgment, absolute discretion regarding confidential matters discretion, and tact.

  • Handle multiple, concurrent tasks.

Working Conditions

  • Interact by phone, email or in person with faculty and administrative staff at the University and occasionally with staff of federal government, non-federal sponsors, and other institutions and organizations.

  • Sit for 4 hours or more.

  • Use computers extensively for 4 hours or more.

  • Travel to various on-campus locations on a daily basis.

  • Use standard office equipment.

  • Occasional travel.

Application Documents

  • Resume/CV (required)

  • Cover Letter (preferred)

  • References Contact Information (3)(preferred)

When applying, the document(s) MUST be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Job Family

Financial Management

Role Impact

Individual Contributor

FLSA Status


Pay Frequency


Scheduled Weekly Hours


Benefits Eligible


Drug Test Required


Health Screen Required


Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required


Posting Statement

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, military or veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.

All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history. A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment. Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.

The University of Chicago's Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (Report) provides information about University offices and programs that provide safety support, crime and fire statistics, emergency response and communications plans, and other policies and information. The Report can be accessed online at: http://securityreport.uchicago.edu. Paper copies of the Report are available, upon request, from the University of Chicago Police Department, 850 E. 61st Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

This job is no longer accepting applications

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