Assistant Vice President for Research and Executive Director, Office for Sponsored Programs and Office for Contract & Grant Accounting

The University of Alabama (UA) seeks an experienced Assistant Vice President for Research to lead its Office for Sponsored Programs (OSP) and its Office of Contract & Grant Accounting (CGA).   This position, reporting directly to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, is a full-time 12-month administrative position at UA.  The primary mission of the joint offices is to encourage research, instruction and public service through support of faculty and University personnel in the pursuit and administration of externally funded grants and contracts, in compliance with the requirements established by Federal and State laws, sponsor rules and regulations, and University policies and procedures.   This position is vital to UA and will be joining at an important time, since both the Office for Research and Economic Development (ORED) and UA have recently launched Five-Year Strategic Plans that jointly articulate UA’s vision for its research and economic development missions. 

UA, having doubled in size since 2002, has been the nation’s fastest-growing flagship university. UA currently enrolls more than 38,500 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, and now attracts more than half of its students from out-of-state. Additionally, in recent years UA has invested $2.5 billion in campus buildings and infrastructure, including over $400 million in world-class research facilities. As part of the Peter Bryce Campus acquisition, the University also has significant land and facility holdings available for allocation to the research mission. External grants and contracts for research, instruction, service and fellowship reached record levels for UA in fiscal year 2018 and have grown by 85 percent over the last five years.  In December 2018, the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education designated UA as a Very High Research Activity doctoral university or “R1.”  This is the nation’s highest level of research activity for institutions that grant doctoral degrees and places UA among the most elite, public or private, research universities in the United States.  With the new Vice President for Research and Economic Development starting in January 2019, the University has placed a much greater focus on business engagement with the goal to become the ‘go to’ University for public-private partnerships.

On June 1, the Office for Research and Economic Development launched its Five-Year Strategic Plan to help facilitate the growth and impact of the research enterprise.

The Strategic Plan focuses on growing and developing faculty as well as significantly increasing the size and impact of research and scholarly activity.  The ORED plan has six strategic themes including research environment, research institutes, transformative initiatives, translating intellectual property, economic and business engagement, and assessing progress and impact.  The major goal of the Economic and Business Engagement theme is to develop strong partnerships with external stakeholders, especially industry, in order to increase the number of sponsored projects and, at the same time, create career opportunities for UA students through these partnerships.  

Major Responsibilities:  

  • Provide oversight, supervision and management for all activities within both the Office for Sponsored Programs and the Office for Contract & Grant Accounting
  • Provide oversight of all sponsored activity reporting including direct involvement with the Budget Office and Office of Institutional Research in providing data for the System Office and the State and Federal government
  • Be a leader and serve as one of the University’s primary administrative representatives to national organizations involved in federal research administration policy development
  • Analyze changes and trends in research administration and advise University administration of expected impacts
  • Engage faculty and others around core research and service disciplines at UA with the primary goal to increase the number of sponsored research and service awards and contracts, leading to demonstrable impact and outcomes
  • Manage a University-wide program of research administration education and training including coordination with academic units
  • Develop, implement and maintain University policies and procedures for compliance with the rules and regulations governing sponsored projects
  • Serve as a member of ORED’s senior leadership team

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree and fifteen (15) years of relevant experience; or Master’s degree and ten (10) years of relevant experience; or JD and five (5) years of relevant experience; or PhD and five (5) years of relevant experience
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Cost Accountant (CCA) or Certified Management Accountant (CMA) (or equivalent demonstration of financial expertise) and five (5) years of experience     
  • Demonstrated organization, leadership, interpersonal and communication skills through successful outcomes in academic, industrial or governmental positions 
  • Evidence of being goal-oriented, able to multitask, prioritize, and manage time effectively
  • History of successful and effective staff management and professional development
  • Acute understanding of the priorities, operation, and strategies of successfully securing externally-funded grants and contracts to support research
  • Must have valid U.S. driver’s license; must be at least 21 years of age at time of hire and have an acceptable Motor Vehicle Report as determined by the insurance carrier

Preferred Qualifications:

In addition to meeting the required qualifications, the preferred candidate will ideally have one or more of the following:

  • A CPA, CCA and/or CMA  
  • Experience in a research-intensive academic institution  
  • Experience in the preparation and submission of successful grant and/or contract proposals
  • Experience in negotiation of sponsored project agreements
  • Experience in the direct accounting and financial oversight of awarded contracts and grants
  • Experience with Cayuse 424 and sponsored programs electronic research administration systems
  • Involvement in national associations relating to sponsored research

The earliest planned start date is December 1, 2019 and the latest January 1, 2020. Review of applications will begin as they are received.  Candidates meeting all the required qualifications may be contacted immediately for inquiry and an interview.  It is possible that a preferred candidate may be selected as other applications are still being received.  Therefore, the most serious and qualified candidates are encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible.  To receive the fullest and timely consideration, applications should be submitted prior to October 15, 2019; however, the position will remain open until filled.  Applications submitted after October 15, 2019 will be reviewed and considered while the position remains unfilled. 

Application materials should include:  1) a full and updated resume, 2) cover letter summarizing the interest in the position and how the minimum qualifications and any preferred qualifications are met, and 3) a list of four references with full contact information.  However, references will only be contacted after written consent of the candidate.   

Contact Information

The University of Alabama





Background Information


  • College/University
  • Administrator or Administrative
  • Grants and Contracts
  • President, CEO, Executive Director
  • Research Administrator/Manager
  • Sponsored Projects/Programs


Target Job Information

  • Full Time