Program Manager for Research Centers and Team Science

University of Chicago

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL, USA
Posted on Friday, October 27, 2023


SSD Social Sciences Research Center (SSRC) - Staff and Temporary Employees

About the Department

The Division of the Social Sciences established the Social Sciences Research Center (SSRC) in December 2017, with a mission to advance and accelerate social science research and maximize its innovation and impact. Our funding and activities are designed to foster team-based and multi-method collaborative approaches to understanding complex, interdisciplinary questions that will help shape the emerging fields and sub-fields of the social sciences. Through its work across five pillars of research support and engagement—Research Development, Research Funding, Programming and Events, Broader Impacts, and Shared Space—SSRC addresses the rapidly evolving and growing needs for research infrastructure across the social sciences.

SSRC functions as a hub for researchers across the division to access resources that support their work. As such, SSRC has experience in leveraging University facilities to best serve the wide variety of operational and research needs in SSD; this position will build on this experience to provide research and administrative support across divisional centers, programs, and research teams.

Job Summary

The job manages academic, research, clinical or administrative programs.

Under the direction of the Assistant Director of the Social Sciences Research Center, the Program Manager for Research Centers and Team Science is responsible for planning, coordinating, and managing operations of a set of interdisciplinary and/or research units in SSD. The Program Manager serves as a central administrative resource across units, responsible for streamlining core operational processes, bolstering communication in and among units, and facilitating strategic planning and research development. The Program Manager will work collaboratively with SSRC staff, central offices, and unit leadership and staff to create training and tools that will maximize administrative efficiencies, thereby allowing units to pursue ambitious programmatic goals. This position has ongoing, moderate/high levels of interaction with faculty, researchers, and staff in units across SSD.

In addition to other research centers, the Program Manager will manage administrative functions for the Knowledge Lab, which blends computational tools and techniques with novel scientific methods to uncover insights into the fundamental processes by which knowledge is conceived, validated, shared, and reinforced. Knowledge Lab functions with a centralized, core research group of ten post-doctoral scholars, research programmers, and developers.

The ideal candidate will be proactive, highly organized, and detail-oriented, with excellent communication skills.


  • Strategic planning and research development

  • Advise leadership for assigned units on development of strategic plans and positioning communications.

  • Contribute to grant writing and fundraising materials; support unit leadership in stewardship activities as needed.

  • Provide critical indicators of programmatic outcomes and achievements to funding agencies in order to demonstrate successes and effectiveness.

  • Establish organizational structures, business processes and workflows, and training for efficient administration of common functions, including but not limited to: faculty support, research, visitors, academic programs, funding, and events.

  • Develop guidelines and operational plans that conform to institutional and unit goals, policies, and regulations; maintain knowledge of central administrative systems to update procedures as needed.

  • Establish program priorities and performance standards and assess/improve operational guidelines.

  • For assigned units without full-time administrative staff, responsibilities may include: Oversee budgets, including management, tracking, and reporting on external funding; process payments. Manage facilities and support services through supplies, equipment, contracts, etc. Plan and execute events. Manage the maintenance of records and databases.

  • Draft and publish communications content through authorized channels, such as website and email, to ensure content is up-to-date and accessible to key stakeholders.

  • Engage unit staff through regular communications and meetings to share news, promote best practices, and troubleshoot; foster collaborations among units and across University.

  • Support the Assistant Director with special projects as needed.

  • Develops and communicates program priorities and performance standards and assesses operations using these criteria. Plans and conducts quality assurance reviews and recommends changes as appropriate.

  • Has a deep understanding when interacting with faculty, researchers and staff for committee work or information

  • 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


  • Advanced degree (Master’s or PhD).


  • Experience with quality improvement practices.

  • Experience working with multiple stakeholder groups in communities.

  • Strong group facilitation skills, verbal and written communication skills.

  • Strong project management skills, and an ability to work collaboratively and shepherd projects.

  • Administration of competitive research programs and grants management.

Preferred Competencies

  • Communicate effectively across disciplinary boundaries and with a variety of stakeholders, including faculty, students, university administrators, and the public.

  • Proven problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Ability to pivot when needed and be proactive in leveraging opportunities and anticipating and averting problems.

  • Flexibility, eagerness to collaborate, and confidence to learn new systems.

  • Demonstrated ability to build and maintain relationships, and work effectively in a collaborative research environment.

  • Train others and provide professional development.

  • Analytical skills.

  • Problem-solving skills.

  • Organizational skills and attention to detail.

  • Verbal and written communication skills.

  • Strong time management and project management skills with success in roles requiring execution of multiple tasks while responding to multiple priorities with little supervision.

  • Proven ability to work with efficiency, flexibility, and good humor.

  • Track record delivering superior results and assuming leadership roles.

  • Demonstrated judgment and discretion in the handling of sensitive information.

  • High degree of professionalism.

Application Documents

  • Resume (required)

  • Cover letter (required)

  • References (required)

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

Job Family

Administration & 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

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