Assistant Director, Pre-Award Administration

University of Chicago

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL, USA
Posted on Thursday, February 8, 2024


BSD ADM - Research Administration

About the Department

The University of Chicago is an intellectual community and a globally renowned research institution dedicated to fostering innovative and impactful research in various domains, including the Biological Sciences. The Biological Sciences Division is at the forefront of cutting-edge research and the Research Administration Office plays a pivotal role in supporting and facilitating the faculty who conduct research.

Job Summary

The Assistant Director of Pre-Award in the Biological Sciences Division is a key leadership role responsible for overseeing all pre-award activities related to sponsored research within the division. Reporting directly to the Director of Pre-Award, the Assistant Director position will perform a crucial role in managing pre-award administrators, implementing policies and standard operating procedures (SOPs), and supporting complex submissions. This individual will also support training initiatives in the division and provide guidance to and expertise on all pre-award matters to faculty, staff, and administrators.


Team Management:

  • Supervise and lead a team of pre-award administrators, ensuring effective coordination and collaboration within the team.

  • Provide mentorship, guidance, and professional development opportunities for team members.

  • Set team goals, evaluate performance, and provide feedback and additional training to ensure adherence to team standards.

Implementation of Policies/SOPs:

  • Working directly with the Director of Pre-Award, implement standard operating procedures (SOPs) in alignment with institutional guidelines and federal regulations.

  • Regularly review and update policies to ensure compliance with evolving regulations and best practices.

  • Provide feedback to the Director of Pre-Award on policies and opportunities for process improvement to streamline pre-award processes and team efficiency.

Complex Submission Support:

  • Provide oversight for complex grant and contract proposals prepared within the division.

  • Offer expertise and support to the primary research administrator assigned to that opportunity to facilitate appropriate support to the faculty. Help develop timeline and roles/responsibilities for administrators supporting this submission to ensure the submission is of high-quality and compliant with institutional and sponsor policies.

Unit Reviews:

  • Conduct divisional review of proposals routed within the division. Identify changes required for compliance with divisional and institutional best practices and policies.

  • Provide feedback to the administrator on the proposal to provide immediate and practical instruction on areas for improvement.

  • Based on patterns seen within reviews, identify enhancements to SOPs or additional training that may be needed for the pre-award team.

Support Training Initiatives:

  • Work with the Director of Pre-award to develop and deliver training programs for faculty, researchers, and administrators on pre-award processes, policies, and compliance requirements.

  • Stay informed about changes in regulations and help disseminate relevant information to the division about policy changes.

  • Manages employees by establishing annual performance goals, allocating resources, assessing annual performance, and determining individual merit, incentive and/or promotional increases.

  • Remains current with agency and regulatory changes. Plans for department/unit compliance with University, Divisional and Department policies and procedures and implements corrective actions for issues identified.

  • 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 7+ years of work experience in a related job discipline.



Preferred Qualifications


  • Master's Degree strongly preferred.


  • Extensive experience in research administration, grants management, or a related field strongly preferred.

Preferred Competencies

  • Strong leadership and managerial skills, with a track record of successfully leading teams.

  • Proficiency in grant proposal development, including budget preparation and narrative writing.

  • Knowledge of federal and state regulations related to research administration.

  • Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills.

  • Ability to work effectively in a fast-paced and collaborative environment.

  • Familiarity with research administration software and systems.

  • Commitment to the University of Chicago's mission and values.

Working Conditions

  • Office Environment.

Application Documents

  • Resume (required)

  • Cover Letter (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

People Manager

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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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.

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