Research Administrator

Department: MED-Neurology
Salary/Grade: EXS/7

Job Summary:

Provides administrative leadership and intermediate problem solving in support of unit's research programs and mission. May provide sole support to a small to mid-sized unit, or support a portion of activities in a larger unit.  May provide lifecycle pre- & post-award research administration ensuring the fulfillment of all grant &/or contract & compliance requirements.  Manages overall day-to-day research administration activities & may research & identify funding opportunities & faculty &/or PIs with associated research competencies & interests.  Ensures that all activities are completed in compliance with associated local, state, federal & institutional rules & regulations.

Specific Responsibilities

  • Typically administers multiple research projects such as:
    •  Single Principal Investigator (PI) proposals, grants &/or contracts
    •  Basic multi-PI or multi-unit proposals, grants &/or contracts 
    •  Research portfolio for a small to mid-sized unit
    •  NIH U-approximately $500K+/yr. over multiple yrs.
    •  NIH  P-approximately $500K+/yr. over multiple yrs.
    •  NIH T-approximately $100-$200K+/yr. over multiple yrs.
    •  DOD and industry awards
    •  Center or program grants 
    •  Proposals with cost sharing
    •  Fixed-price contracts
    •  Non-funded negotiations such as NDAs, user agreements


  • Manages pre-award administration of grants &/or contracts, including reviewing solicitation and proactively resolving any issues/questions within the solicitation with OSR and/or sponsor.  
    • Reviews and coordinates with the principal investigator the preparation of the administrative components of proposals.
    • Develops, prepares, and finalizes project budgets, and provides budget justification.
    • Oversees and communicates submission process, both paper and electronic; reviews documents for completeness and compliance.
    • Serves as liaison and active partner between principal investigators, Office of Sponsored Research, research groups, and other departments; responds to sponsor inquiries.
  • Establishes procedures at the small to mid-sized unit level related to pre-award administration. 
  • Activities may include coordination of large-scale proposals, teaming/collaboration agreements, confidentiality agreements, intellectual property agreements or user agreements. 
  • Manage representation of sub-recipients, cost sharing and administrative costs on a proposal.  
  • May coordinate IRB and IACUC protocols.  
  • Prepares &/or reviews complete budget, assessing the need for the redistribution of project F&A among multiple redistributed chart-strings.  


  • Completes post-award administration of research grants &/or contracts that may include: review of account establishment; management of effort commitments of key project personnel; approving high-value/high-risk expenditures; award document interpretation; reviewing and reporting expenditures; verifying processing of cost share transactions; regularly reviewing award budget status with PIs; provide data needed for interim and final financial and technical progress reports; and facilitating account close out activities, coordinating with ASRSP as needed.  
  • Establishes procedures at the small to mid-sized unit level related to post-award administration. 
  • Serves as liaison between department & OSR, ASRSP, IACUC, IRB, internal audit, funding & regulatory agencies, subcontractors, collaborators, institutes, centers, etc.  
  • Participates in efforts to improve research administration including serving on university committees related to research administration.


  • May have oversight of unit's entire sponsored project portfolio.  
  • Reviews transactions and resolve issues that requires a more complex level of financial understanding such as cost-sharing &/or effort reporting knowledge.  
  • May provide information to senior management that is used for department budgeting purposes.

Human Resources

  • May process paperwork associated with hiring & termination of employees and orient new employees.  
  • May set-up faculty &/or post doc appointments &/or complete VISA paperwork.  
  • May provide training to technical and administrative staff in unit regarding research administration.  
  • May provide training to technical and administrative staff in unit regarding research administration.


  • Ensures compliance with all appropriate NU policies & practices; local, state, federal, agency & sponsor rules, regulations & requirements regarding grant &/or contract administration & recommends changes to improve programs, policy &/or practice.  Resolves compliance problems & issues working in conjunction with faculty.  May include those involving research safety, animal subjects and human subjects.  
  • Alerts supervisor to potential higher risk compliance issues.


  • May supervise administrative or financial positions and/or mentor 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.
  • 3 years research administration or other relevant experience required.

Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)

  • Organization, time management, detail-oriented
  • Multi-tasking skills
  • Strong interpersonal and customer service skills
  • Self-starter, diplomatic, pro-active, manage stress
  • Strong communication skills
  • Teamwork
  • Ability to take initiative
  • Project management skills
  • Analytical skills

The Northwestern campus sits on the traditional homelands of the people of the Council of Three Fires, the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa as well as the Menominee, Miami and Ho-Chunk nations. We acknowledge and honor the original people of the land upon which Northwestern University stands, and the Native people who remain on this land today.

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. Click for information on EEO is the Law.


Contact Information

Northwestern University



Evanston, IL 60208


Background Information

4-Year Degree


  • College/University
  • Research Administrator/Manager


Target Job Information

  • Full Time