Pre-Award Specialist


Pre-Award Specialist

Humboldt State University


Office of Research & Sponsored Programs Foundation

Close Date: Monday, August 30, 2021

(Job #21-53) Administrative Analyst/Specialist I (Exempt), Pre-Award Specialist, $3,897 - 7,051/month. Appointments are typically made at the beginning of the salary range. Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience. This is a temporary, full-time, benefited, exempt, 12-month pay plan position in the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs Foundation. This position comes with an extensive benefits package that includes comprehensive medical, dental, and vision coverage, CalPERS retirement, Fee Waiver eligibility (reduced tuition on most CSU system classes), life insurance, and voluntary pre-tax health and dependent care reimbursement accounts. Additional benefits information can be found at

Humboldt State University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution that strives to foster an inclusive and equitable community to support our students of diverse backgrounds. HSU is committed to achieving the goals of equal opportunity and endeavors to employ faculty and staff of the highest quality committed to working in a multicultural and multiracial community that reflects the diversity of the state. Additional information about Humboldt State University can be found at

Position Summary: Under the general direction of the Executive Director of Research & Sponsored Programs, the Pre- Award Specialist acts as the first and primary point of contact with campus faculty and staff researchers who are interested in obtaining external funding via grants and contracts. The Pre-Award Specialist guides the prospective Principal Investigator (PI) through the full process of gaining external funding; starting with identification of suitable funding opportunities, and building contacts and relationships with prospective funders; through assembling strategic applicant teams, creating a roadmap and timeline for proposal development, and building realistic, compliant budgets; to critical review of proposal drafts, assembly and submission of complete, final application materials, and finally negotiation of awarded contracts. Potential sponsors include federal, state and local government, Tribes, nonprofit organizations and businesses, each with their own regulations and policies. The Pre-Award Specialist is responsible for reviewing and interpreting the diverse funding announcements and opportunities offered by the prospective sponsors, and for maintaining current working knowledge of federal regulations as well as the unique Sponsor regulations and policies, in order to guide both the successful proposal development, as well as facilitate the review and negotiation of awards in compliance with the Sponsor, CSU, HSU and SPF regulations, policies and procedures. In addition, the Pre-Award Specialist develops and maintains relationships with prospective sponsors and with networks of internal and external research partners to facilitate generation of new collaborations, effective communication with sponsors, and development of proposals that are responsive to sponsor interests. The Pre-Award Specialist provides lead work direction to administrative support staff & student assistants.



  • Reviews, identifies, and updates the needs of their unique PI portfolio through regular communication. Independently determines priorities and establishes their own work flow to appropriately administer their PI portfolio.
  • Monitors funding opportunity databases and funding news releases to identify matches with PI needs. Initiates outreach to PIs and funders to keep PIs informed about upcoming opportunities that match their interests.
  • Trains and collaborates with the PI and support staff in the use of funding search software, databases, and search engines. Coordinates and responds to PI inquiries to conduct searches for funding opportunities.
  • Supports PIs in identifying suitable opportunities. Researches and communicates with sponsor representatives to clarify eligibility, budgetary and other regulatory requirements to guide recommendations for the pursuit of specific funding opportunities.
  • Maintains and tracks recurring funding opportunities, and communicates with PIs, Chairs, Deans, VP's and Center Directors to identify potential applicants and strategic teams.
  • Researches and reviews requirements for proposal preparation in compliance with sponsor, CSU, HSU and SPF regulations, policies and procedures.
  • Creates templates and checklists and sets timelines in coordination with the PIs for proposal preparation, internal review routings, and application submission.
  • Coordinates outreach to all appropriate internal (e.g. facilities management, institutional review board) and external project constituents (e.g. sub awardee organizations, regulatory agencies) to gather pertinent information and permissions during proposal development.
  • Maintains regular communication with PIs to track proposal preparation progress, independently tailoring work assignments and schedules to the unique project needs.
  • Prepares, reviews and revises budgets in compliance with funder requirements and institutional policies; including recommendations for effort committed, matching contributions, and appropriate/allowable indirect cost rates.
  • Reviews, collates, and circulates proposal information for review by appropriate campus administrators prior to submission.
  • Provides review and edit recommendations on proposal narratives and other required application components. Completes all sponsor agency forms and assurances. Initiates and maintains funder contacts for programmatic, budgetary, logistical, and legal clarifications during the proposal process.
  • Maintains registrations to all pertinent funder submission portals, and communicates and coordinates subscription needs with the AOR. Assembles proposal components, and submits proposals in coordination with the PI through mail/courier, electronic submission portals, or email.
  • Conducts status checks on pending proposals with PIs and funding agencies, and maintains accurate records of proposal submission, success rates, and awards received for regular and annual reporting.
  • Writes and reviews contracts, subcontracts, and amendments to contracts with federal, state, and local government agencies, private foundations, and corporations. Conducts technical review of terms and conditions of all sponsored contracts for adherence to sponsor, CSU, HSU and SPF regulations, policies and procedures. Maintains contact with sponsor agency representatives to seek clarifications and negotiate alternate terms when necessary. Independently investigates pertinent regulations, analyzes risks and benefits, and invites and evaluates all stakeholder needs and preferences for negotiating final contracting terms.
  • As needed, acts as a representative of SPF to outside entities.

    Minimum Qualifications: General knowledge and skills in grant proposal and budget preparation, with a foundational knowledge of public administration principles, practices, and methods. This foundation would normally be obtained through a bachelor's degree OR through a combination of education and work experience which provides the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for this position - primarily the ability to perform administrative and technical duties in support of a funding development program.

    Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
  • Comprehensive understanding of pre-award grant review and development, governmental grants and contracts regulations, sponsor interests and eligibility requirements, and OMB Uniform Guidance
  • Knowledge of basic methods and procedures for research and statistical analysis and the ability to apply them
  • Ability to learn, interpret, and apply a wide variety of policies and procedures relating to and impacting the
    Office of Research & Sponsored Programs
  • Ability to analyze a variety of complex regulations, apply sound judgment, draw logical conclusions and find
    creative solutions to a variety of problems
  • Proven ability to work in a polite and professional manner under pressure.
  • Ability to organize and plan work and projects including handling multiple priorities
  • Attention to detail and accuracy
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills with the ability to exercise tact, diplomacy, discretion,
    professionalism, and judgment in decision making and higher level communications
  • Sound reasoning, analytical, conflict resolution, and problem-solving skills, including the ability to integrate a
    broad range of information sources, analyze them and apply the knowledge to the area being appraised along
    with the creation of appropriate supporting documentation
  • Demonstrated experience in efficiently and effectively delegating and overseeing work results of administrative
    support staff
  • Strong skills in analyzing policy issues, internal controls, and related federal and state laws and regulations to
    form solid recommendations for consideration of CSU legislative advocates and administrators
  • Excellent planning and organizational skills along with the ability to manage multiple high priority tasks
    simultaneously, set priorities that accurately reflect the importance of job responsibilities under changing
    business conditions, and consistently meet mandatory deadlines while ensuring high standards of service
  • Demonstrated ability to make oral presentations to individuals or groups to enhance understanding of
    applicable policies or procedures
  • Demonstrated ability to foster, establish and maintain positive and effective working relationships with diverse
  • Commitment to promote and support diversity and inclusion in the workplace

    Preferred Qualifications: Master's degree; Experience in budget planning, grant writing, funding development; Experience in an institute of higher education or related funding development experience; Prior or current involvement with the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA), Society of Research Administrators International (SRA International), the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR), or similar professional organizations.

    Application Procedure: To apply, qualified candidates must electronically submit the following materials via Interfolio (link below):
  • Letter of Interest
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Contact information for at least three professional references
  • HSU Employment History Form (HSU Employment History Form:
    history-form; NOTE: Download the HSU Employment History Form and save it as a PDF file prior to filling it out. If the form is completed in an online browser, content WILL NOT be saved).


    Application Deadline: The deadline to submit application materials is 11:59 p.m. on Monday, August 30, 2021.
    Any inquiries about this recruitment can be directed to or HSU's Human Resources Office at (707) 826-3626.

    Equal Employment Opportunity Statement Humboldt State University is a Title IX/Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. We consider qualified applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, medical condition, disability, marital status, protected veteran status, or any other legally protected status.

    HSU is committed to enriching its educational environment and its culture through the diversity of its staff, faculty, and administration. Persons with interest and experience in helping organizations set and achieve goals relative to diversity and inclusion are especially encouraged to apply

    It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide complete and accurate employment information. Evidence of required degree(s), certifications(s), or licenses(s) will be required prior to the appointment date. Incorrect or improperly completed applications will not be considered for vacancies. Any reference in this announcement to required periods of experience or education is full-time activity. Part-time experience or education (or activities only part of which are qualifying) will receive proportionate credit. In accordance with applicable Collective Bargaining Agreements, preference may be given to the campus applicants covered by these agreements. However, positions are open to all interested applicants, both on and off campus, unless otherwise stated.

    A background check (including a criminal records check, employment verification, and education verification) must be completed satisfactorily as a condition of employment with the CSU. Certain positions may also require a credit check, motor vehicle report, and/or fingerprinting through Live Scan service. Adverse findings from a background check may affect the application status of applicants or continued employment of current CSU employees who apply for the position.

    Compliance with the California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) and CSU Executive Order 1083 Revised July 21, 2017 (EO 1083) is a condition of employ-ment. CSU employees in positions with duties that involve regular contact with children or positions which supervise such employees are designated as Mandated Reporters under CANRA and are required to comply with the requirements set forth in EO 1083. Upon appointment to this position, the successful candidate(s) will be notified of and required to acknowledge their CANRA reporting status.

    Additionally, all CSU staff and faculty receive training annually on their obligations in responding to and reporting incidents of sexual harassment and sexual violence. You will be notified by email when you are required to take this mandated training.

    New faculty employees hired by the CSU for the first time who first become CalPERS members on or after July 1, 2017 are subject to a 10-year vesting period for retiree health and dental benefits. Staff employees covered under bargaining agreements 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, C99, E99, M80 and M9 hired by the CSU for the first time who first become CalPERS members on or after July 1, 2018 are subject to a 10-year vesting period for retiree health and dental benefits

    If accommodations need to be made during the recruitment and interview process, please contact Human Resources at (707) 826-3626 or

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Contact Information

Humboldt State University



Arcata, CA 95521

(707) 826-3626

Background Information

4-Year Degree

  • College/University
  • Grants and Contracts

Authorized to work in the US


Target Job Information