Senior Director, Sponsored Projects Services

Research, Innovation and Impact at the University of Arizona seeks a dynamic and motivated individual to fill the critical role of Senior Director (Grant and Contract Manager V) of the office of Sponsored Projects Services (SPS).

The Senior Director is responsible for providing vision, leadership, and comprehensive management of the operations of SPS, which includes proposal support and pre-and post-award services. This position operates with broad authority and assures award compliance with federal and state policies and regulations, is responsible for ensuring pre- and post-award compliance and maintains overall direction of operations. Incumbent is expected to build and develop a dynamic team of professionals to support UA in attaining a $1B research expenditure goal.

This position reports to the Vice President of RII Operations and will work closely with other leaders in the RII group as well as stakeholders across UArizona to manage the procedural improvement of the SPS team. The person in this role must have strong leadership skills while being supportive, communicative and creative in keeping the team engaged. The ideal candidate will be an astute and broad thinker who is excellent at relationship building and communicating with a diverse audience. We expect the incumbent to be agile in adapting to change and to serve as a change management leader.

Outstanding UA benefits include health, dental, and vision insurance plans; life insurance and disability programs; paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays; UA/ASU/NAU tuition reduction for the employee and qualified family members; state and optional retirement plans; access to UA recreation and cultural activities; and more!

The University of Arizona has been recognized for our innovative work-life programs. For more information about working at the University of Arizona and relocations services, please click here.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Provides leadership and vision to a diverse team involved in review, approval, and administration of research, governmental, educational, industry and public service sponsored funding.
  • Provide administrative guidance and support to faculty and staff seeking outside funding for research, public service, and special sponsored institutional projects.
  • Sets strategic goals for the office of Sponsored Projects Services and leads efforts to achieve those goals.
  • Aligns departmental goals with the university's mission statement and provides guidance, training and mentorship to managers and staff in areas of expertise.
  • Contributes as a strategic member of an administrative leadership team serving as a consultant to executive management and senior personnel on matters of significance.
  • Works closely with Research Development Services on identifying funding opportunities, developing grant proposals, and relevant programs and activities.
  • Leads teams on developing and implementing educational training programs, workshops, seminars, and special projects related to grant and contract preparation, processing and submission, and administration.
  • Keeps current via attendance at NCURA, SRA, and other professional organizations.
  • Provides opportunities for staff career advancement including direction and cross-training of the SP&CS managers and support personnel.
  • Reviews and approves detailed documents, proposals, reports, high-level analyses of trends and/or related complex materials to assist in decisions.
  • Responsible for implementing and maintaining a departmental budget and ensuring projects are completed within budget guidelines.
  • Responsible for providing strategic reports and recommendations to UArizona leadership on the activity in assigned areas.
  • Responsible for program development and evaluation.
  • Represents the department on university and community committees and responds to university needs, requirements and requests to identify priorities.
  • Performs miscellaneous job-related duties as assigned.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Broad knowledge of all functions and operations within the Offices of Sponsored Projects.
  • Thorough knowledge of federal, state and local regulations and issues.
  • Thorough knowledge of pre-award and post-award processes.
  • Demonstrated ability to plan, lead and manage major, high-impact research and medical research contract and grant negotiations.
  • Knowledge of and experience with major funding entities.
  • Proven skills in administering programs, managing professional staff, planning, problem solving and interpersonal relations.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Strong communication and advocacy skills, equally effective with both internal and external constituents.
  • Extensive experience in contract review and negotiation
  • Ability to attract human and financial resources to the University.
  • Demonstrated success working with high level, strategically important external constituencies.
  • Thoughtful risk-taking which relies on data and input from others to foresee possible threats or unintended consequences from decisions.
  • Participatory management and leadership styles that model the values of service, initiative, and collaboration.
  • Ability to bring together cross-functional teams to develop institution-wide projects.
  • Ability to nurture and expand relationships with prospective industry partners, often with senior leaders, serving as the primary point of contact for a portfolio of corporations.
  • Strong analytical, critical thinking, project management and decision-making skills.
  • Ability to apply judgment and make decisions affecting function or procedures in all aspects of the position.
  • Ability to resolve complex problems and issues.
  • Ability to create, evaluate and modify complex research and medical research contracts.
  • Ability to develop and present educational programs and/or workshops.
  • Skill in examining and re-engineering operations and procedures, formulating policy, and developing and implementing new strategies and procedures.
  • Demonstrates the ability to effectively engage a broad range of internal and external constituencies.
  • Proven ability to promote a working environment that rewards new ideas and innovation builds collaborations, encourages teamwork, and promotes diversity. 
  • Successful record of planning, managing budgets, and administering significant grants and contracts.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Requires a Bachelor's degree.
  • Minimum of 11 years of related work experience, including 7 years of managerial experience, preferably in large complex institutions or organizations, or equivalent combination of education and work experience.
  • Requires experience in leading multiple teams, projects, programs, and/or functions.
  • This position requires access to information regulated under U.S. Export Control Regulations. As such, the incumbent of this position must qualify as a U.S. Person under U.S. Export Control Regulations.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in a relevant discipline.
  • Extensive experience with federal and state funding opportunities and trends, national and international research organizations, institutional partnerships, and research collaborations.
  • Extensive experience with university research environments and infrastructure, and current federal and state research compliance regulations, policies, and practices.
  • Experience with Contract Negotiations. Proven experience with contract negotiation with successful outcomes.
  • Successful administrative experience in a university, industry or government environment.
  • Experience in leadership building and strong interpersonal skills including conflict resolution.

Rate of Pay - DOE

Pay Grade - 14  

Career Stream and Level - M5 

Documents Needed to Apply

  • Resume or CV
  • Cover Letter

Diversity Statement

At the University of Arizona, we value our inclusive climate because we know that diversity in experiences and perspectives is vital to advancing innovation, critical thinking, solving complex problems, and creating an inclusive academic community. As an Hispanic-serving institution, we translate these values into action by seeking individuals who have experience and expertise working with diverse students, colleagues, and constituencies. Because we seek a workforce with a wide range of perspectives and experiences, we provide equal employment opportunities to applicants and employees without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. As an Employer of National Service, we also welcome alumni of AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other national service programs and others who will help us advance our Inclusive Excellence initiative aimed at creating a university that values student, staff and faculty engagement in addressing issues of diversity and inclusiveness.

Contact Information

The University of Arizona



Tucson, AZ


Background Information



  • College/University
  • Sponsored Projects/Programs
  • Research Administrator/Manager
  • Department Administrator
  • Administrator or Administrative


Target Job Information


  • Full Time