Sponsored Programs Administrator

University of Chicago

University of Chicago

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


Provost URA: Opt-In Post-Award Services

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. URA Pre-Award Opt-In Services is a team of dedicated Pre-Award Research Administrators who provide pre-award support for opt-in partners across campus at The University of Chicago. These services include support for proposal development, pre-proposals or Letters of Intent (LOIs), Just-In-Time (JIT) requests and assistance navigating sponsor policies and interpreting guidelines. URA Post-Award Research Administration Services provides post-award support of faculty member’s funded research portfolio. The support includes a dedicated URA Post Award Grants Specialist assigned to work with each faculty member on all post award needs. The support is designed to handle administrative and financial matters associated with a faculty member’s research portfolio, so that the faculty member may focus on the technical and academic content. Portfolio volume and complexity will be reviewed at least annually to ensure reasonable assignments within the URA post award team.

Job Summary

The job executes a range 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. Assists in the development of research compliance education programs.

The Sponsored Programs Administrator position is a mid-entry level Research Administrator, responsible for assisting with the oversight of day-to-day sponsored program activities for an assigned portfolio of faculty researchers for pre and post-award administration. This will primarily involve supporting the sponsored research funding portfolio of faculty members in the development of proposals and financial management.

The role reports directly to the Director, Sponsored Program Services, with a dotted line to the Director, Pre-Award & Sponsored Development Services.

The Sponsored Programs Administrator will train in all aspects of opt in services to provide backup on both pre and post award. The position will support the pre-award opt in services as an add needed basis and will have a reduced portfolio in Post-Award about a 70% volume compare to a regular Sponsored Programs Specialist or Manager team member.

Performs routine assignments in the mid-entry level of a Research Administrator to a progression of complex proposals and grants management portfolios. Develops competence by performing structured work assignments, following university and sponsor guidelines. Uses existing procedures to solve routine or standard problems. Receives instruction, guidance and direction from others but is expected that the Sponsored Programs Administrator will have the ability to work with minimal supervision and interact with faculty and administrators from different institutions and outside entities to make independent and informed decisions.

This position also requires the ability to analyze, interpret and implement financial data, sponsor guidelines, and University policies and procedures.


  • Provides support as directed to the Pre and Post-Award Opt-In Teams within URA on an as needed basis, working with the team to follow projects from the pre-award stage to the post-award stage.

  • Participates in multi-disciplinary projects related to goals of Pre and Post-Award Opt-In Services in a very dynamic environment.

  • Works directly with PIs or their delegates to facilitate management of grant activities which involves oversight of pre and post-award activities.

  • Responsible for Post-award activities associated with expenditure and budget reviews, audit of invoices and billings, monitoring accounts and preparing financial reports and projections for grants and other sponsored agreements, notifying PIs of availability of funds while assisting and advising faculty in financial and project activities by implementing fiscal reporting process.

  • Prepares monthly, quarterly and/or yearly reports as necessary. Interacts with participants, external entities, sponsors, faculty, and other University of Chicago offices including departmental staff and central research administration staff to gather relevant information for the operation management of the sponsored project portfolio.

  • Assists the Principal Investigators (PIs) with preparing pre-proposals, proposals, budgets, required proposal documents, routing proposals via the AURA Grants system, submitting proposals, and preparing responses to Just-In-Time requests.

  • Meets established pre-award expectations and established account management expectations, identify deviations and resolve problems for the pre and post-award stage of the project.

  • Assists Faculty in the preparation of grant proposals, including gathering and organizing necessary information from faculty across the University of Chicago, and other institutions, and coordinates any necessary meetings to discuss timelines and proposal requirements.

  • Coordinates with faculty by organizing risk analysis sessions and conducts statistical analysis of data. Tracks project timelines, ensures follow-up, and provides timely reports to PIs and sponsors with proactive support of award management.

  • Supports technical reporting as needed and with maintaining compliance for Animal and Human Subjects protocols and regulatory policies by being aware of and advising others of policy and procedures, and by facilitating any tracking or training requirements.

  • Communicates and collaborates with University departments/units, URA Pre-Award team and URA Post-Award, technology transfer and compliance teams/units to facilitate smooth transition throughout the full life cycle.

  • Updates AURA as necessary when applications/proposals are not funded, withdrawn or not routed.

  • Prioritizes work in order to complete assignments on a timely basis.

  • Aids in training personnel who report to the PI on research administration operational policies and procedures as requested by the Assistant Director of Post-Award, Opt-In Services.

  • Gains and maintains thorough understanding of university and sponsor regulations.

  • Reviews Sponsor guidelines and escalates issues accordingly within the office of University Research Administration.

  • The individual is a member of a Team and must contribute to the team effort, as needed. This will involve assisting colleagues to ensure timely service to departments, units, and sponsors as needed and to perform back-up duties during vacation or sick leaves of other pre-award and post-award team staff.

  • 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.

  • Maintains correspondence between the agency and University community to obtain and process necessary pre- and post-award information. Reviews and processes various pre- and post-award activities.

  • 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


  • Bachelor's degree in business or liberal arts field.


  • Minimum three years of experience working with sponsored research administration in an academic environment.

  • Participation interpreting sponsored research grants and contracts, and working with budgets, ledgers, invoices and fiscal reporting.

  • Knowledge of Federal Circulars applicable to universities (OMB A-21, A-110, A-133 or the Uniform Guidance) or interpretation of similar regulations.

  • Background with the University of Chicago systems such as AURA, FAS, ACCTS/PETS, and Business Objects.

Preferred Competencies

  • Proactive, solution-oriented, with exceptional communication and analytical skills necessary to review a sponsored award agreement; determine the type of award, payment terms, reporting requirements, budget limitations, and establish accordingly per departmental guidelines.

  • Work with various sponsor electronic systems.

  • Rapid proficiency in the use of University of Chicago systems such as AURA, FAS, Workday, ACCTS, PETS, GEMS, e-Payments, and Business Objects.

  • High level of proficiency in Excel.

  • Strong computer skills including word processing, database management and spreadsheet skills.

  • Interpret sponsor guidelines and regulations to ensure accurate response.

  • Incumbents are expected to review Sponsor guidelines and escalate issues accordingly within the office of University Research Administration.

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

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.

  • Develop and manage interpersonal relationships.

  • Good negotiation skills.

Working Conditions

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

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

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

  • Handle multiple, concurrent tasks.

  • 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.

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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