Director, Sponsored Research Development


The function of the Sponsored Research Development (SRD) unit is to assist faculty and staff in the development and submission of proposals for sponsored research and educational projects. It is the "pre‐award" unit of the Research Foundation and the office faculty should contact once a sponsor has been identified and a proposal is being developed. Sponsored research development staff can assist faculty with interpreting guidelines and sponsor submission requirements, contacting potential sponsors, preparing budgets, completing application forms, obtaining university approvals, electronic submission of proposals, facilitating compliance items, duplicating and mailing of proposals, and assisting with follow‐up and other pre‐award needs. In fiscal year 2020, the office helped faculty submit over 1,200 proposals to federal, state, local, corporate, and foundation sponsors. Almost 700 awards were received amounting to over $144 million.  There are twelve employees in SRD: seven development specialists, two sponsored programs coordinators, an analyst, a technician, and the director of the department.


As a member of the SRS Division Management Team, the Director of Sponsored Research Development is responsible for the overall management and operation of pre-award activities within the Division.  The SRD Director manages the day-to-day operation of the department to promote and facilitate faculty participation in sponsored research and educational activities, overseeing sponsor and CSU regulations regarding research, financial, and compliance activities, interacting with external sponsors, and ensuring policies and procedures meet the changing needs of pre-award research administration. 

This position provides leadership and management for a team of two managers, eight development specialists, an analyst and a technician. Responsible for the development and prudent management of the department budget, recruitment, training and engagement of staff to promote retention in a remote/hybrid work environment, and monitoring and implementation of federal, state and CSU regulations as they relate to proposal submissions and pre-award activities. This position works closely with the SDSURF management team as well as with colleagues in the SDSU Division of Research and Innovation to ensure a collaborative culture and efficient system of support for research.


The Director, Sponsored Research Development, is responsible for but not limited to:

 Department Management (40%)

  • Provide management and leadership to sponsored research development staff to promote efficiency and productivity within the department. Plan, organize, direct and monitor the activities of the department: set goals and objectives; plan/develop policies and procedures; identify resources needed.  Responsible for staff supervision, evaluation of performance, analyzing workload and reallocating resources as appropriate.  Responsible for staff professional development including both internal and external training.   Keep staff updated and trained on changes in the field. 
  • Develop and manage the departmental budget.
  • Develop innovative strategies related to pre-award issues such as: cost-sharing, electronic research administration, interpretation of guidelines, and ensuring compliance with sponsor agency requirements. Provide guidance on all pre-award processes while maintaining excellent customer service. Collaborate with other departments within the SRS division and throughout the organization to ensure consistency and compliance of policies/procedures throughout the life cycle of a proposal/award.
  • Work collaboratively with the SRS Management Team (Contract and Compliance, Administration units) to develop and implement policies, programs, and procedures including modification of existing procedures to promote efficiency and productivity throughout the division. Identify redundancies and streamline workflows throughout the SRS Division.
  • Train staff on and manage the use of electronic research administration tools for the department, specifically EllucianBanner proposal module, InfoEd proposal routing and management system, E-trieve and Sharepoint for document management, MyRF web-based portal and other internal/external tools. Primary management of internal/external communications related to InfoEd system, as this tool is specific to pre-award.  Collaborate with university department of research support services on their use of the Human Subjects Compliance module of InfoEd, identify common practices and streamline processes where Proposal Development and HS Compliance modules intersect.  Track and maintain sponsored research development staff access to various sponsor software sites to enable proposal submissions.

Reporting and Approval Authority (30%)

  • Review and approve proposal submissions. Review and approve prior authorizations to expend funds based on assessment of risk and likelihood of receiving an award.
  • Analyze data on pre-award activity to forecast funding trends. Provide monthly pre-award activity reports to SDSURF Executive Management Team. Provide award projections reports to SDSURF Executive Management Team monthly (beginning in January of each year or on an as-needed basis). Collaborate with the CFO and senior management team on revenue projections, trend analysis and investigation and explanation of data anomalies as part of the mid-year and annual budget development and review process.
  • Review and assess requests for reductions in F&A, validate sponsor restrictions on F&A costs, coordinate requests with college deans, administrators, and the Vice President for Research. Provide F&A data and recommendations to VP for Research to assist in decision-making.
  • Work closely with the RF director of communications on processes to submit clearances for proposal submissions to private foundations with URAD staff.
  • In collaboration with the director of sponsored research administration and representatives from The Campanile Foundation, review and provide input on awards to determine gift or grant status.
  • Serve as a resource to university faculty, staff, and administrators as well as project staff to provide support and assistance related to sponsored programs proposal submissions.
  • Responsible for facilitation and resolution of critical pre-award issues and challenges (e.g., late proposal submissions, time management, other high-stress and deadline-driven issues). Assess situations and make solid decisions with a sense of urgency.
  • Serve as secondary authorized signer on the review, negotiation and execution of contracts to the research foundation from external funding sources (back up to Director of SRCC)
  • Serve as an authorized signatory on grant and contract forms related to institutional information, such as representations and certifications, subrecipient commitment forms, and other documents requiring certification at the pre-award stage

Liaison/Interrelationships with SDSURF/SDSU/CSU/outside agencies (25%)

  • Serve as a liaison and SRD representative regarding internal and external pre-award systems. 
  • Work closely with director of communications on reports, messaging related to pre-award topics, identification of sponsored programs for promotion with StratCom, and other public relations activities.
  • Maintain contact and good working relationships with other SDSU Research Foundation departments to review, update and improve internal controls and procedures, as well as other SDSURF initiatives.
  • Maintain contact and good working relationships with university administrators, faculty and staff. Represent SDSURF on university committees and task forces such as strategic planning, “Big idea” initiative, etc.   
  • Collaborate and consult with SDSU Division of Research and Innovation on pre-award issues and compliance matters.
  • Present information and provide training and workshops to SDSU faculty, PIs, project staff, administrators, and executive management on a variety of topics related to research. Provide overview of foundation services to new faculty as part of new faculty orientation. 
  • Participate and collaborate with CSU representatives on campus-wide pre-award issues and areas that cut across both pre- and post-award.
  • Establish/maintain working relationships with sponsor agency representatives on issues related to research administration; ensure department policies adapt to changes in regulations and agency guidelines.
  • Work collaboratively with Research Advancement, Division of Research and Innovation on activities/initiatives to increase proposal development and submission.

 Other Duties and Responsibilities as Assigned (5)%

  • Serve as back-up to SRS Management Team members; other responsibilities as needed.

 Special projects as assigned.


Knowledge and Abilities

  • Ability to interact effectively with co-workers, faculty, project staff, and university executive leadership
  • Ability to relate well to others within the project environment.
  • Ability to display motivation and strong interpersonal skills
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing
  • Ability to display organization and time management, meet deadlines, display attention to detail, possess good judgment and common sense
  • Ability to demonstrate a high level of cross-cultural sensitivity
  • Demonstrated knowledge of federal regulations and requirements related to university research and sponsored programs, including sponsor regulations and requirements, governmental accounting principles, sponsor reporting and compliance requirements and audit policies, and 2 CFR Part 200 and OMB Circular A-133.
  • Knowledge of constantly changing laws, rules and regulations, funding opportunities, and policies and procedures with the ability to interpret these for University officials, faculty members, and the Foundation staff.
  • Experience in analyzing and interpreting complex regulations.
  • Demonstrated leadership ability and management skills to lead a diverse group of professionals in a multi-functional, dynamic, fast paced, technology-enriched and ever-changing environment.
  • Ability to analyze a variety of complex regulations, apply sound judgment, draw logical conclusions, and find creative solutions to a variety of problems.
  • Ability to develop and implement effective internal and external training and educational programs that promote understanding and compliance.
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills and the ability to achieve consensus on complex issues and sensitive issues. Strong organizational and decision-making skills.  Demonstrated ability to deal effectively with people at all levels.
  • Experience with the application of computer technology for implementing automated solutions to enhance sponsored research administration.
  • Ability to bring new ideas to the organization and follow through with development and implementation of new initiatives.
  • Experience in budget planning, forecasting, monitoring, and reporting.
  • Experience interacting with funding agencies at all levels.
  • Knowledge of contract terms and conditions, ability to negotiate more favorable terms for awards if needed.
  • Ability to understand and follow posted work rules and procedures


  • Bachelor's degree in relevant field or additional experience may be substituted for the required education on a year for year basis. 
  • A minimum of 8 years of related experience in a management or supervisory capacity.

Preferred Qualifications and Special Skills

  • 10 years of substantial leadership experience in sponsored research administration in a college or university environment.
  • Knowledge of SDSU Research Foundation, SDSU, and CSU policies and procedures concerning sponsored research administration.
  • Experience with, InfoEd, SCT Banner, Nolij systems.
  • Familiarity with pre-award proposal processes.



  • Hybrid telework arrangement in place.
  • Incumbent must live within a commutable distance to SDSU.
  • A background check (including a criminal records check) must be completed satisfactorily before any candidate can be offered a position with SDSU Research Foundation
  • San Diego State University Research Foundation is an EEO/AA/Disability/Vets Employer

The COVID-19 vaccine is required by the CSU for all SDSU Research Foundation employees as a condition of employment.   Should you be offered a position, you will be required to provide proof of vaccination status.  Individuals who obtain an approved medical or religious exemption on file will be required to complete regular COVID-19 testing.

Contact Information

San Diego State University Research Foundation



5250 Campanile Drive

San Diego, California 92182-1901


Background Information

4-Year Degree


  • College/University
  • Non-Profit
  • Sponsored Projects/Programs

Authorized to work in the US


Target Job Information


  • Full Time