Senior Research Administrator

Department: MED-Neurology
Salary/Grade: EXS/8

Job Summary:


Provides administrative leadership by incorporating a significant amount of experience 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.  Using extensive research administration experience within the same unit, coordinates all aspects of multiple grant &/or contract pre- & post-award activities.  Assists in developing new funding opportunities & strategic plans regarding grants &/or contracts by providing guidance & counsel in regard to grant &/or contract administration which includes attending internal & external meetings, interpreting clauses, reviewing contracts, & resolving reporting &/or expense problems.  Reviews associated policy & procedures & recommends changes to increase productivity & effectiveness.  

Specific Responsibilities


  • Typically administers multiple research projects such as:
    • Complex multi-PI or multi-unit proposals, grants &/or contracts 
    • Research portfolio for a more complex 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


  • Manages pre-award administration of grants and &/or contracts which may include proposal submission and coordination 
  • Proposal budget and justification preparation 
  • Sponsor and university proposal form completion 
  • Coordinates IRB and IACUC protocols 
  • Sub-recipient coordination; coordination of facilities and administrative costs, space, and co-investigator agreements  
  • Creatively and proactively evaluates and resolves problems and makes decisions


  • Coordinates post-award activities 
  • Monitors execution of all financial transactions in research portfolio; 
  • Forecasts & provides information for reports on financial status of projects
  • Manages day-to-day financial functions
  • Verifies that protocols are linked to CUFS chart strings 
  • Labor distribution assignments
  • Completes expenditure reviews 
  • Reconciles monthly payroll entries 
  • Verifies & processes cost share entries 
  • Prepares & submits invoices to sponsors 
  • Identifies program income issues 
  • Proposes resolutions to overdrafts 
  • Prepares interim & final financial reports 
  • Facilitates account close out activities  
  • Participates in efforts to improve research administration including serving on university committees related to research administration


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

Human Resources

  • Manages & integrates all departmental staff efforts for grant &/or contract administration
  • Provides research administration training
  • Develops staff & may assign & review staff work &/or provide direct supervision to research support staff
  • Provides research administration training
  • Develops staff & may assign & review staff work &/or provide direct supervision to support staff
  • Serves as the primary resource for research administration guidance


  • 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 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. 
  • 5 years of research administration experience.

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

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

Preferred Qualifications:

  • A bachelor's degree or 7 years financial or administrative support experience in research administration; or the equivalent combination of education, training and experience from which comparable skills can be acquired; 
  • At least 5 years of experience in a higher education environment with exposure to finance and sponsored research.


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





Background Information

4-Year Degree


  • College/University
  • Research Administrator/Manager


Target Job Information

  • Full Time