Director of Research Development

*See ESF Human Resources link for full posting

Job Summary

The Director of Research Development works under the direction of the Vice President for Research (VPR) to develop and manage strategic sponsored research and engagement opportunities for the faculty of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in broad areas of environmental science. The Director works with the ESF leadership team to identify and promote strategic research priorities in the College, assists in matching faculty strengths with sponsor priorities, and helps develop and refine highly competitive grant proposals, including large-scale, multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional and/or training proposals. The Director also manages intramural funding opportunities, and coordinates research development training opportunities for the campus community.

The successful candidate will:

  • Be a self-motivated problem solver with proven organizational and managerial abilities, as well as excellent critical thinking and communication skills.
  • Think independently and strategically with a record of clarity in decision making.
  • Show evidence of working effectively in a team environment.
  • Demonstrate success in garnering sponsored funding and research leadership within higher education, government agencies, foundations, national research laboratories or other research-focused settings.


Scope of the Position

30% - Monitor trends and identify and secure new sources of research funding from foundations, federal and state agencies, nonprofits and industry partners. The Director works with faculty to map current and potential ESF research assets onto the funding agency landscape and identify opportunities for ESF researchers. This includes promoting institutional and faculty relationships with agency program officers, foundations, industry representatives and other funders, and providing resources and expertise to ESF faculty and administrators in support of research priority decision-making.

30% - Catalyze the development of multidisciplinary projects in alignment with ESF strengths and external funding potential by coordinating relevant faculty expertise from across the university and, where appropriate, external partners. The Director oversees support for strategy development, project management, seed funding and other institutional investment. This includes proposal editing, preparation and submission for large multi-investigator efforts.

30% - Optimize the success of ESF researchers by providing and coordinating professional development in grant writing and project management. The Director works with external resources and partners across ESF and SUNY to promote professional development opportunities and mentoring, especially for early-career investigators. The Director acts as a resource to keep the ESF community apprised of current funding opportunities, including optimizing Pivot research portal use, as well as mentoring faculty to secure funding. They coordinate research development activities across the college, including those housed in academic units and research centers, and acts as the Office of Research Programs liaison for corporate and foundation relations to the ESF Development Office.

10% - Acts as the liaison and representative for the VPR to the Academic Governance Committee on Research, Research Advisory Council, and other committees.  Coordinates and manages selection processes for internal seed, pilot, and bridge funding.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Enhance research development across ESF as measured by key performance indicators such as proposals submitted, grants awarded, direct and indirect cost expenditures, number of early-career awards, and success in securing large interdisciplinary and center grants.
  • Identify strategic research funding opportunities from various sources including federal, state and local government channels, private foundations, and corporations.
  • Convene and manage faculty interdisciplinary collaboration for large multi-investigator proposals.
  • Develop inter-institutional collaborative grants with other universities nationwide, including regional partners such as Syracuse University, Upstate Medical University, Clarkson University, Cornell University, and other SUNY campuses.
  • Support faculty in developing competitive research ideas and compelling proposal narratives for external funding agencies, including review of draft proposals.
  • Coordinate opportunities for faculty to develop grant-seeking and grant-writing skills, including focused topical workshops and grant-writing groups.
  • Assist faculty in matching proposal scientific elements with meaningful broader impact opportunities and programs related to recruitment, education, diversity and public outreach.
  • Assist the VPR in developing and tracking key performance indicators related to research-program quality and effectiveness, and coordinate with the VPR and Provost to provide faculty-development programming pertaining to research excellence.
  • Monitor grant development trends and peer university research programs to strengthen ESF sponsored program development efforts.

Other Functions

  • Work collaboratively and effectively to promote teamwork, diversity, equality and inclusiveness.
  • Work in partnership with colleagues within the ESF community and across the campus to support the college’s strategic priorities.
  • Perform other duties as assigned in support of the research mission and goals.

Required Qualifications

  • Minimum professional preparation:
    • A Master’s degree in natural or social sciences, engineering, higher education administration, or other relevant field, with a minimum of five years of experience in an academic or other research environment.


    • A Doctoral degree in natural or social sciences, engineering, higher education administration, or other relevant field, with a minimum of two years of experience in an academic or other research environment.
  • A proven successful track record in writing, leading, and/or coordinating significant research grants and proposal development.
  • Demonstrated excellence in technical and scientific writing and/or editing.
  • A strong knowledge base of the major STEM funding agencies and federal research proposal processes, as well as an extensive professional network across these programs.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and high degree of professionalism and diplomacy.
  • Experience in planning and/or managing scientific research projects.

Preferred Professional Qualities

  • Demonstrated ability to participate effectively in professional team efforts and with diverse groups of people.
  • Ability to work confidently and effectively with multiple faculty members to develop high quality proposals, work under pressure and with short deadlines.
  • Training in professional mentorship, leadership, personnel management.
  • Expertise in preparing complex research proposals.
  • Demonstrated ability to plan strategically and to assemble, direct and facilitate collaborative teams of faculty.
  • Experience identifying and catalyzing new research opportunities, including tactical research planning to help teams approach grant-making efforts strategically.
  • Evidence of having achieved a positive impact in a previous role, for example boosting performance indicators for faculty engagement in collaborative activities, increased grant applications, higher percentage of grants funded, etc.
  • Demonstrated understanding of proposal review decision-making for funding agencies (for example, from service on review panels or agency focus groups).


Application Procedure and Deadline

Application Deadline: Although applications will be accepted until the position is filled, candidates should submit their application by June 3, 2022 for optimal consideration.

Internal Procedures: UUP-represented employees of ESF desiring consideration under the Advanced Internal Application Procedures should submit application materials online and notify the Office of Human Resources by May 3, 2022 that they would like early consideration.


SUNY-ESF and the Broader Community

ESF is a specialized college within the 64-campus SUNY system, and a Carnegie R2 “High Research Activity” Institution that consistently earns high rankings in US News and World Report, Forbes, Princeton Review, and other national college guidebooks.  With a total enrollment of about 2,200 undergraduates and 400 graduate students, combined with the immediate proximity of Syracuse University and Upstate Medical University, ESF provides an intimate, small-college atmosphere within a vibrant, large-university setting.  ESF’s extended campuses include more than 25,000 acres of forest properties, both close to Syracuse and across the Adirondack Park, which provide numerous opportunities for experiential coursework, research, and public outreach. 

Located on the eastern edge of the Finger Lakes region, Syracuse is a small city in a rural region offering a diversity of natural and cultural amenities, a low cost of living, and a high quality of life – ranking among the top 10 percent of “Best Places to Live” in “The Places Rated Almanac.” Syracuse is situated with easy access to New York City, the Adirondack Park, Lake Ontario, and many other points of interest in the eastern United States and Canada.   


Additional Information

SUNY-ESF is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, age, or any other characteristic protected by law.

In accordance with the “Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act”, institutions of higher education are required to prepare an annual report containing statistics on reported crimes on campus and in the general campus area, as well as institutional policies on campus security, including those concerning sexual assault. This report can be obtained in hard copy from SUNY-ESF University Police (phone: 315-470-6667) or digitally at:

Pursuant to Executive Order 161, no State entity, as defined by the Executive Order, is permitted to ask, or mandate, in any form, that an applicant for employment provide his or her current compensation, or any prior compensation history, until such time as the applicant is extended a conditional offer of employment with compensation.  If such information has been requested from you before such time, please contact the Governor's Office of Employee Relations at (518) 474-6988 or via email at

SUNY ESF is a Smoke and Tobacco Free campus and is dedicated to providing a healthy and safe environment for the entire campus.  For more information you can visit our Tobacco and Smoke Free Policy at Tobacco Free.pdf

Contact Information

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry



1 Forestry Drive

Syracuse, New York 13210


Background Information



  • College/University
  • Research Administrator/Manager

Authorized to work in the US


Target Job Information

Mid-$90s t

  • Full Time