Manager Research Administration

Manager Research Administration


Job ID:  40627
Location:  Evanston, Illinois 


Department: McC Research Administration
Salary/Grade: EXS/9


Job Summary:
Provides strategic leadership and advanced problem solving in support of Materials Science and Engineering research programs and mission. Acts as the chief research administrator for a dept. or division & oversees the administration of the entire lifecycle of grants & contracts portfolio, some of which are very complex involving multiple years, venues, collaborators, subcontractors, etc. & ensures fulfillment of all requirements & compliance with rules & regulations. Partners with faculty to develop strategic plans regarding new & existing funding opportunities, research initiatives, collaborations & projects that will increase & improve overall research & associated financial management & performance. Develops policy & procedures & recommends changes to increase productivity & effectiveness. Supervises one research administrator and one associate research administrator.


Specific Responsibilities:

  • Typically administers or oversees entire research projects such as: 
    • Research portfolio for a larger department
    • Government contracts
    • Center or program grants
    • International projects
    • Master agreements with industry 


  • Provides creative, strategic leadership in pre-award administration of research grants &/or contracts, expertly balancing customer service and compliance needs. 
  • Establishes procedures at the large unit level related to pre-award administration. 
  •  Coordinates federal contract proposals, international proposals, and proposals with difficult/troublesome terms and large sponsored agreements with industry partners. 
  • Uses metrics to monitor report and adjust unit pre-award performance. 


  • Provides expertise regarding post-award research administration. 
  • Ensures that proposed projects meet goals of dept. & that necessary resources are available.
  • Manages and follows through on high-risk situations.
  • Coordinates or oversees application completion and detailed review & submission.
  • Interprets sponsor guidelines.
  • Creates procedures regarding day-to-day administrative & financial functions.
  • Resolves issues with collaborators &/or other involved parties.
  • Establishes procedures at the large unit level related to post-award administration.
  • Manages all day-to-day grant &/or contract functions such as administration, finance, facilities, compliance, reporting, etc. ensuring timetables are created & maintained as appropriate.
  • Uses metrics to monitor report and adjust unit post-award performance.
  • Recommends & facilitates procedural changes in grant &/or contract administration as necessary.
  • Recommends policy to enhance research administration.


  • Oversees & manages all research portfolio fiscal activities, from research development to close-out activities, continually evaluating & recommending alternatives to minimize risk while maximizing goals. 
  • Ensures that budgets are created, proposed & administered in a fiscally responsible manner. 
  • Resolves complex issues such as determining appropriate & reasonable cost-sharing percentages on complex grants involving multiple locations; effort reporting problems; under- or over-spent grant budgets; recommend changes to eliminate deficit balances; overdrafts. 
  • Coordinates price negotiation, purchase, & ongoing maintenance support contracts of all major research equipment. 
  • Provides information to senior management that is used for department budgeting purposes. 

Human Resources 

  • Hires, evaluates, promotes, &/or counsel staff. 
  • Oversees training for all staff regarding research administration in unit. 
  • Consults with faculty as grants are funded regarding job descriptions; selecting & hiring new staff; and as grants end regarding lay-offs, terminations, etc. 


  • Creates, implements & oversees programs, policy & practice for dept./division designed to ensure compliance with all appropriate NU policies & practices; local, state, federal, agency & sponsor rules, regulations & requirements regarding grant &/or contract administration. 
  • Ensures resolution of all compliance problems & issues, including those involving research safety, animal subjects, human subjects and conflict of interest. 


  • Supervises one Research Administrator and Associate Research Administrator. 
  • Assigns & Reviews staff work. 
  • Provides ongoing feedback to directors of Research Administration staff progress and areas for improvement. 
  • Mentors other administrative staff in research administration. 

Performs other duties as assigned.


Minimum Qualifications:
Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree; OR appropriate combination of education and experience.
A minimum of 7 years’ experience required with 4 years of research administration and 3 years of research, finance, administrative or other relevant experience. 


Minimum Competencies:
Organization, time management, detail oriented
Multi-tasking, communication
Self-starter, diplomatic, pro-active, manage stress
Managing people
Provide leadership by cooperatively anticipating, coordinating, strategizing 


Please apply online at


Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.


Contact Information

Northwestern University



Evanston, IL 60208


Background Information

4-Year Degree


  • College/University
  • Research Administrator/Manager
  • Administrator or Administrative


Target Job Information

  • Full Time