Assistant Vice President for Sponsored Projects

The AVPSP directs the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP), providing mission-critical services in support of the research enterprise at Northern Arizona University. The AVPSP should be a dynamic leader and accomplished administrator with significant and productive experiences in leading and managing an organization that is responsible for reviewing and approving research proposals on behalf of NAU and submitting to sponsoring agencies, and for management of externally sponsored research awards. The AVPSP is a key member of the senior leadership team of the Research Division.  The AVPSP will work collaboratively and in partnership with faculty, department chairs, college and school deans, administrative officers, the Vice President for Research (VPR), and other members of the VPR's leadership team to provide strategic leadership of NAU's sponsored research activities. The OSP manages a significant volume of financial activities: In fiscal year 2017, NAU was ranked 201st in the NSF Herd survey for Research Expenditures. Additionally, there has been growth of 11% in average Research Expenditures over the past 5 years.   NAU's faculty and PI's seek out and receive funding for all mission critical areas, e.g., research (basic, applied, translational and clinical), public service, training, instruction and instructional development, etc., and the successful candidate must have a thorough understanding of these types of programs.

The AVPSP will:

  • Continue with the building and leading of a high-capacity sponsored projects infrastructure centrally and across the NAU research enterprise.
  • Ensure that all research administration operations are compliant with university, state and federal regulations, policies and laws that govern externally-sponsored research.
  • Establish a program of outreach to build strong relationships and work closely with faculty, colleges and departments, building strong relationships to facilitate research efforts and resolve problems.
  • Manage Human Resource activities for the OSP regarding recruiting and selection, hiring, training, development, mentoring, counseling, performance evaluation, and salary planning.
  • Ensures timely submission of sponsored project applications and execution of awards.
  • Serve as the expert and final arbiter for interpreting, explaining and applying external sponsors' research regulations and NAU policies to Principal Investigators and the research community.
  • Establish credibility with NAU’s academic community when interpreting and applying federal, state and NAU policies as they apply to sponsored projects.
  • Ensures all reporting for sponsored projects are accurate and submitted in a timely manner.
  • Participate in the development of the institutional F&A cost proposal and negotiation of the F&A rate.
  • Proactively engage with colleagues at other leading research universities or at national organizations to advocate for NAU's researchers, respond to compliance changes, etc. 
  • Other duties within the general scope of responsibility.

Minimum Qualifications: 

  • Bachelor's degree plus ten (10) years’ experience in positions of increasing responsibility in both pre- and post-award research administration, with at least 5 of those years in a supervisory capacity. 

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Research-based Master’s or Doctoral degree.
  • Five (5) years’ experience as a Director of Sponsored Projects at a U.S. research university.

Skills, Knowledge and Abilities:

  • Excellent leadership and management skills.
  • Demonstrated experience managing business culture change within a large dynamic organization, including review of the organization's current service delivery model with an eye towards improving customer service, building efficiencies, or employing other methods that will best serve the research community and remove real or perceived administrative barriers in the conduct of university sponsored activities. 
  • Demonstrated experience reviewing and approving complex sponsored projects proposals and submitting to sponsoring agencies, and in financial management of externally sponsored awards.
  • A comprehensive working knowledge of current laws (federal & state), regulations, and sponsor policies related to sponsored projects management & administration, including, but not limited to, the Code of Federal Regulations, Uniform Guidance, general & agency specific research terms & conditions, comprehensive working knowledge of federal funding agencies, & all other major funding sources (state & local government, foundations, industrially sponsored research). 
  • Working knowledge/understanding of concepts and principles of research subjects protection, disclosure of financial conflicts of interest, export controls, intellectual property and other areas of research compliance.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of financial management and a track record of effective budget and financial management in a research environment.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of contracting and subcontracting practices sufficient to ensure responsible management of university resources and of the university's financial and contractual obligations.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to present information to many diverse individuals and groups.
  • Demonstrated experience engaging with colleagues at other leading research universities and within national organizations (such as SRA, NCURA) in order to maintain current knowledge of trends and best practices in the field.  
  • Ability to interact effectively in a culturally and ethnically diverse community.


About Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University is a four-year public research university in Flagstaff, Arizona that offers more than 150 different Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees to a multicultural student body—approximately two-thirds of whom attend the historic Mountain Campus in Flagstaff; others are either served at one of the 30 university centers around the state or are enrolled in electronically delivered programs.  Empowered by the Arizona Board of Regents to provide educational opportunities statewide, Northern Arizona University today serves more than 26,000 students in Flagstaff and across the state of Arizona.  The university is committed to a diverse and civil working and learning environment.

NAU has earned a solid reputation as a university with all the features of a large institution but with a personal touch. NAU is recognized nationally for scientific and scholarly achievement.  Ranked as a Carnegie “High Research” institution, NAU’s research enterprise comprises such national concerns as forest health, climate change, cyber-security and bioterrorism.  Over the past decade, NAU has experienced significant expansion in its research enterprise and is now positioning itself for further growth and to meet its goals under the Arizona Board of Regents “Impact Arizona” strategic plan.

Contact Information

Northern Arizona University



Flagstaff, Arizona 86011


Background Information

4-Year Degree


  • College/University
  • Sponsored Projects/Programs
  • Research Administrator/Manager
  • Grants and Contracts
  • Administrator or Administrative

Authorized to work in the US


Target Job Information


  • Full Time