Research Administration Consultant

University of Chicago

University of Chicago

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


Provost URA: Research Compliance

About the Department

University Research Administration (URA) 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 Research Administration Consultant will rotate between URA teams based on need, to fill short-term vacancies or to provide the department with assistance based on needs and special projects. This position may also provide support for large scale proposal submissions as well providing additional capacity during heavy proposal deadlines and peak reporting periods. The Consultant will assist assigned teams, staff, faculty, or researchers in any aspect of pre- and post-award grant management support. The Consultant will perform multiple diverse and complex research administration duties while ensuring compliance with sponsor regulations, University policy, and departmental procedures with a focus on customer service. The individual must be able to work both independently and collaboratively within a fast paced, high-volume, deadline-driven environment.

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. Assists in the development of research compliance education programs.


  • Acts as a lead team member throughout the research administration life-cycles as needed on various teams within URA.

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

  • Partner with URA colleagues and business units/departments regarding all activities associated with research administration in a timely and fiscally responsible manner.

  • Gain and maintain thorough understanding of University and Sponsor.

  • Read and interpret a request for proposal (RFP) and advise faculty and departmental administrators on a compliant and successful submission.

  • Provide pre-award/proposal review for assigned campus units. Review applications to ensure - compliance with agency and institutional guidelines, regulations, and policies.

  • Provides input to ensure consistency, equitable workloads, and provides staff assistance and coverage as needed as activity grows.

  • Provides additional support for large, complex proposals to any department or unit to increase consistency and expertise in the application process.

  • Distribute awards through the AURA grants management system, establish accounts in the financial system and update records as necessary.

  • Process all Award Modification Requests (AMRs) and continuations (MODs) in AURA.

  • Direct preparation of, monitor and approve sponsor required fiscal and administrative reports. Prepare and/or review billing reports and request invoices as appropriate.

  • Complete/review and approve back-up documentation as necessary prior to submission of reports.

  • Review and approve cost transfers.

  • Partner with business units/departments to monitor post-award activities (grants management), such as submitting progress reports (RPPRs); requests for no-cost extensions; obtaining sponsor approvals for major changes to project workscope or major changes to anticipated expenditures, etc.

  • Update budgets in AURA based on awarded amounts and work directly with academic departments for necessary budget revisions, create accounts in ACCTS and FAS, intake and process all amendments and modifications.

  • Manage all close-out activities for sponsored projects, coordinating efforts between the PI, department/unit, and Sponsor.

  • Manage and/or coordinate project transfers and closeouts when a faculty member leaves the University.

  • Communicate and collaborate with university departments/units to facilitate smooth transition throughout the full life cycle.

  • Review a sponsored award agreement, determine the type of award, payment terms, reporting requirements, budget limitations, and establish/closeout accordingly per university and sponsor guidelines.

  • Interpret sponsor policy, procedures and guidelines to advise faculty, staff, and students accordingly. Escalate issues as necessary within the office of University Research Administration.

  • Maintain appropriate data entry into institutional database for all proposals and account creates and modifications, ensuring data quality and documentation of any institutional risk.

  • Draft or revise SOPs, tools, and other guidance documents. Continuously seek to improve URA processes for sponsored projects.

  • Manage audits, fiscal reviews, and desk review requests from Sponsors.

  • Assist University leadership in Single Audit completion and reporting.

  • Respond to requests for financial management and internal controls information and provide support documentation for sponsored award transactions.

  • Complete financial certification and verification forms.

  • Track Sponsor and audit requests as well as maintain request documentation and digital records.

  • Serve as a resource or team lead in relation to compliance and quality management initiatives. Respond to questions about financial compliance and certification concerns.

  • Participate in institutional training as requested by URA Leadership.

  • 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.

  • Guides 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 5-7 years of work experience in a related job discipline.



Preferred Qualifications


  • Experience in a related job discipline (i.e., research administration, pre-award and post-award management).

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

  • Knowledge of the Uniform Guidance or interpretation of similar regulations strongly preferred.

Technical Skills or Knowledge:

  • Rapid proficiency in the use of University of Chicago systems such as Huron Research Suite, Oracle, Workday, GEMS, 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).

  • Possess effective training skills.

Preferred Competencies

  • Work independently with a high degree of initiative, curiosity and minimal supervision.

  • Ability to prioritize across responsibilities, manage varied commitments, competing deadlines, and shifting priorities.

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

  • Proactive and solution-oriented, with exceptional communication, written, verbal and analytical skills necessary to review and negotiate a sponsored award agreement and establish accordingly per departmental and agencies guidelines.

  • Outstanding attention to detail and organizational skills.

  • Good negotiation skills.

  • Ability to work with various sponsor electronic systems.

  • Ability to interpret sponsor guidelines and regulations to ensure accurate response.

  • Work independently with a high degree of initiative.

  • Direct contact with faculty and administrative staff at the University, and close collaboration with all staff within the office of University Research Administration (URA).

  • Excellent planning, problem-solving, organizational, project management and customer services skills. Customer service is a high priority of the office and civility and professionalism at all times.

  • Exercise absolute discretion regarding confidential matters.

  • Work effectively and collegially with little supervision or as member of a team.

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

  • Work on multiple projects simultaneously, set priorities, and meet deadlines.

  • 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.

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.

  • Review and process information within a computerized web system throughout most of the work-day.

  • Use standard office equipment.

Application Documents

  • Resume/CV (required)

  • Cover Letter (preferred)

  • References Contact Information (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 Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected 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.