Senior Contracts Specialist (Federal and Post Award)


Position is responsible for the fiscal management and post award responsibilities as it pertains to complex fund management for various types of award mechanisms to include large multi-investigator projects, federal contracts, sponsored research agreements and gifts.

Post award oversight and management of our federal contracts.  Detailed award review for compliance and reporting requirements.  Communicates with faculty and senior administration on FAR/DFAR topics as they relate to post award administration and ensures department is compliant.  Incumbent is expected to fully analyze the problem, gather data and information, find and evaluate alternative solutions, and make a final recommendation as needed.

Fiscal management of funding awarded under Salk’s scientific initiatives.  Current initiatives include Harnessing Plants, Cancer Center, and Optimal Aging.  Designs financial, budgeting and forecasting reports.  Combines strong knowledge of finance and accounting with fiscal management experience to respond to requests for information by applying independent analysis of financial reports/data.    

Assignments/projects are continually changing and evolving.  Contributes to the vision, mission and values of the Institute through responsible and effective work performance.


(40%) Fiscal management of awarded grants and projects under the various Salk Initiatives 

  • Thorough review of budgets and thoughtful setup of funds across labs and by project in order to efficiently manage the project.
  • Effectively communicates with faculty on fiscal related issues in a timely and clear fashion.
  • Oversees projects relating to cash flow, financial reporting and revenue and expenses.
  • Assists labs in creating and managing forecasts and budgets for various projects.
  • Tracks the project expenses and prepares ad hoc reports for the various donors and/or faculty.
  • Produces timely reports of all financial information as required by donors. Ensure various reporting guidelines are met in accordance with grant requirements.
  • Gathers and analyzes data to identify areas for improvement and/or develop solutions to keep projects on budget and on time.
  • Thorough review of terms and conditions of each project. Manage compliance in accordance with these terms.

(35%) Federal contract oversight for post-award administration

  • Reviews contracts in detail and interprets award for compliance requirements, including FAR/DFAR clauses.  Evaluate existing business processes to ensure compliance and make recommendations when changes are needed.
  • Facilitates the understanding, clarification and implementation of requirements.
  • Responsible for management of financial reporting requirements
  • Monitors and tracks project progress.
  • Keep stakeholders apprised of current status and future objectives.
  • Participate in audits relating to federal contracts.
  • Communicate monthly, quarterly, annual and closeout reporting requirements to applicable departments.

(15%) Fiscal department duties:

  • Month end close duties to include updating of table and expense for monthly allocation of central supply expenditures to applicable grants/gifts.
  • Reviews internal report of expenditures for federal grants. Validates compliance requirements with award and agency policies.
  • Assists with annual audits as required by various granting agencies.
  • Backup in coordination for the close in RACT.
    • IDC – posting of expense, record expenditures as revenue, set up A/R, record & apply payments for all National Institutes of Health (NIH) & National Science Foundation (NSF) grants in Banner system. Applies accounting background/ expertise when trouble shooting the cycle of month-end close.  Review expenses for allowability and appropriateness is required prior to performance of this task.
  • Creates ad hoc pivot tables in order to provide higher level analysis on overall research grant funding and expenses as needed by CFO, Assistant Director/Manager and Sr. Director of RACT. Identify needs of the department in direct support of fiscal year end audit on standardized requests.  Creates reports to enhance the tools used by the RACT staff for financial reporting and projections. 

(10%)  Scientific core management

  • Oversight of sponsored research grants and gifts.
  • Communicates and allocates personnel to applicable projects.
  • Financial reporting and analysis to include spending trends and budget variations for awarded projects.
  • Communicates to Sr. management regarding fiscal issues.
  • Reviews all individual award documents for applicable sponsors' terms and conditions, regulations and restrictions. Maintains current knowledge of sponsors' requirements serving as a source of information on fiscal policies and procedures.  As situations arise, research funding agencies' policies, applying a working knowledge to interpret policies and communicate information to PI's and/or designees. 
  • Advise PIs/designees on options or alternatives and effectively recommend courses of action on fiscal matters in order to serve.
  • Manages scientific needs while also complying with Institute and sponsor policies.



  •  At least 5 years in post award administration.
  • At least 5 years managing large complex awards and projects.
  • Experience with interpreting and applying Uniform Guidance.


  • Post award management experience with federal contracts and reporting.
  • Experience with SunGard Banner finance system.
  • Experience with developing ad hoc reports.



  • Bachelor’s degree in Accounting/Finance/Business or Bachelor’s degree and related work experience or equivalent.


  •  Bachelor’s degree in Accounting/Finance/Business



  •  Excellent organizational, analytical, and time management skills.
  • Strong attention to detail.
  • Ability to independently identify, gather, review and analyze data, situations, problems, policies, procedures, and to segregate problems from symptoms, find and recommend potential solutions, and apply solutions.
  • Excellent customer service and verbal and written communication skills appropriate for interactions with a broad array of individuals. Interpersonal skills must include tact, good judgment, diplomacy, and flexibility to relate to diverse scientific research staff, faculty, executive management, administrative staff, and external contacts.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of accounting, accounting cycles, and commonly accepted accounting principles including reading and understanding financial statements, reading and using the general ledger to identify expenses and liabilities, journal entries, etc.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to exercise independent judgment and proven skill in problem solving and decision making in complex and problematic areas, using investigation/research and analytical skills to develop and implement creative solutions.
  • Thorough knowledge of current NIH, OMB, DHHS, and other research-related policies and procedures, guidelines and standards.
  • Strong computer skills with an emphasis on proficiency in Microsoft Excel.
  • Experience using accounting and financial reporting systems. Ability to design, analyze, and prepare financial reports.
  • Ability to learn and maintain knowledge of applicable systems including those focusing on financial accounting, accounts payable, payroll, human resources, purchasing (Salkshop), and ARD protocols for data extracting and troubleshooting.
  • Continually exercises sound judgment and discretion in the collection and dissemination of information; ensures that highly sensitive, proprietary and confidential information is released only to those authorized.


  •  Advanced Excel skills (Pivot tables, graphs, etc) or the aptitude to learn and apply in one year.
  • Experience interpreting FAR/DFAR clauses for federal contracts
  • Experience completing and submitting federal contract closeout reports


  •  Must be willing to work a flexible schedule as needed based on workload and deadlines.
  • Satisfactory completion of the Institute’s background investigation.
  • Must sign an employee confidentiality agreement.
  • Willing to work in an animal research environment.


This position requires constant adjusting focus, grasping, hearing, keying, seeing, sitting, talking, analyzing, calculating, communicating, reading, reasoning, writing and working inside. 

Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor’s legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)

Contact Information

Salk Institute for Biological Studies



10010 N. Torrey Pines Rd.

La Jolla, CA 92037


Background Information

4-Year Degree

At least 5 years in

  • Government
  • College/University
  • Sponsored Projects/Programs
  • Research Administrator/Manager
  • Grants and Contracts
  • Finance, Operations

U.S. Citizen


Target Job Information


  • Full Time