Grants Specialist

Under the general direction of the Senior Director of Research Administration (SDRA), this position is responsible for the full lifecycle of grant administration including identification of funding sources, proposal development and review, pre-award grant and contract proposal assistance, budget development, proposal submission, grant and contract award negotiation, sub-award issuance, and post-award administration (effort reporting, budget monitoring,  COI, etc.) related to funding provided in the form of grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts from external funding sources (e.g., federal agencies, state agencies, private companies, or foundations etc.) in support of research, teaching and learning, and service mission of the university.  Review proposals and awards and other sponsor documentation for compliance with applicable sponsor-specific guidelines, federal regulations and University policies. Prepare negotiated documents for award processing and acceptance by institution officials. Position supports the SDRA in the management of internal grant programs. The responsibilities of the Grants Specialist may change based on business needs, revisions to the research vision and research direction of the University.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Promote opportunities for external sponsor support by identifying funding opportunities and distributing the information to the campus and/or individual faculty and staff.
  • Assist PI/PD’s and staff with preparing grant applications (NIH, NSF, NIJ, Foundations etc.), including review for accuracy and completeness to ensure compliance with RFP/solicitation, reviewing/preparing project budgets and justifications, completing agency forms, routing for internal approval, uploading and submitting proposal documents through Cayuse S2S and/or sponsor on-line systems as necessary.
  • Write non-scientific portions of grant proposals, contracts, subcontracts, and reports as appropriate. This may include but not limited to administrative and resource sharing core components, budget, budget justifications, and description of resources and environment (in consultation with others in and outside of the Office of Research).
  • Coordinate and assist PI/PDs with the collection, collation and correspondence with sub-award partners for all necessary documentation and forms related to proposal and contract submissions (budget, justification, statement of work, biosketch, LOI, etc.).
  • Review and seek approval to execute sponsored agreements, including research contracts, subcontract, material transfer agreements etc.
  • Follow up with PIs of unfunded proposals to address reviewers’ comments and assist with the re-write and re-submission of those proposals.
  • Communicate with PIs, research staff, and other units (HR, Accounting, etc.) staff at the onset of each grant award to initiate grant activity, and budget implementation; take the lead on working with investigators or staff of funded teams and others as appropriate to ensure funds are expended in an appropriate and timely manner to eliminate loss of funding.
  • Assist PI/PDs and other project staff with developing and submitting regular grant related funding agency reports (performance progress reports, research performance progress reports, non-competing grant progress reports, no-cost extensions etc.).
  • Monitor funded projects budgets and update PI/PDs; provide PI/PDs with budget updates, discuss options for re-budgeting and providing budget projections.
  • Monitor various complex and changing regulations and federal guidance as it applies to sponsored programs administration in order to assist in the interpretation and application relating to pre- and post-award administration of grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements.
  • Develop, coordinate, and deliver activities, including meetings and workshops, in support of training and outreach to support the success of sponsored programs including topics, such as locating funding opportunities, proposal & budget preparation, allowable costs, and compliance with federal regulations, etc.
  • Identify actions requiring sponsor approval and serve as liaison with funding agencies to resolve questions and problems that arise during proposal development and the course of a grant award.
  • Track voluntary and committed cost share or matching funds committed on projects and work with PI/PDs and other departments to adjust and rectify as necessary.
  • Responsible for grant closeout; submit final reports and certificates (as applicable); coordinates with grants accountant on all grant closeouts and grant financial issues.
  • Manages the University’s sponsored program effort reporting and certification process; research related conflict of interest (COI) reporting and approval process; coordinates with staff working on compliance issues (e.g. IRB, IACUC, BSC etc.) to ensure PI and others, as appropriate, meet the minimum requirements for sponsored project actions; requests and monitor PI/PD and staff required training and other requirements before they engage in sponsored programs action.
  • Work with Accounting unit staff to maintain the University’s electronic registration with federal and private agencies to enable the continuation of electronic proposals submissions.
  • Assist the SDRA to develop, review, revise, update and implement, University policies (time and effort, financial conflict of interest etc.) plans, processes and procedures related to pre- and post-award administration of grants.
  • Assists the SDRA in the management of faculty focused internal grants and research support programs including the Faculty Start-up funds, R&G Award, and SEED Award.
  • Track all funded projects (internal and external) to ensure all deliverables are either on track or accomplished at the end of each project period.
  • Provide support to PI/PDs of funded projects in the management of their projects; provide direct project management assistance on selected awards as directed.
  • Develop and maintain comprehensive databases for all externally submitted proposals and funded projects. Based on the databases, perform analyses and prepares reports regarding sponsored programs for the University administration.
  • Participates in and completes all University mandated trainings etc.
  • Continually update professional knowledge base by reviewing and analyzing professional literature, U.S. government publications, sponsor regulations and guidelines, and participating in professional development and training opportunities.
  • Perform other duties, undertake special projects and assignments as requested and directed by the Senior Director of Research Administration.
  • Participates in and successfully complete all University required training including, but not limited to discrimination/harassment and code of conduct.
  • Performs other duties as required or assigned by the Senior Director of Research Administration.

Education and experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • One (1) year of experience in grant and contract administration required.
  • Working knowledge of and/or experience with grant award lifecycle, inclusive of pre- and post-award actions and experience with proposal submission with eRA Commons, NSF Fastlane, and/or, etc.
  • Knowledge of Uniform Guidance; and federal, state & general funding agency rules and regulations.

Essential skills:

  • Able to convey information efficiently and effectively, including writing, verbal, and presentation skills.
  • Able to use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Able to identify complex problems and review related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Ability to plan ahead, prioritize, and work under pressure in a deadline-oriented environment in which workload ebbs and flows and can require performance of multiple tasks simultaneously (sometimes with interruptions).
  • Strong organizational skills; attention to accuracy and detail; capable of successfully managing multiple high-priority tasks.
  • Attention to accuracy and detail while providing quality and timely support to constituents.
  • Intermediate PC knowledge & skills - Proficiency in Microsoft Outlook, Excel and Word required; Microsoft Power Point is desirable; and willingness to learn new technology.
  • Excellent interpersonal/human-relations skills. 
  • Active listening skills including understanding, interpreting and evaluating information from co-workers, constituents and responding appropriately.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality and discretion.
  • Commitment to principles of diversity and inclusivity.

About DMU:

Our employees are what make DMU special, so we treat them well!  Our Total Rewards reflect this commitment. Qualified faculty and staff enjoy outstanding health/medical benefits, a generous retirement match, flexible work arrangements, tuition assistance, professional development funding, and access to wellness facilities with programs that promote a well-balanced lifestyle.  Visit to learn more about our benefits.  

Founded in 1898, Des Moines University is a premier medical and health sciences institution comprising of three colleges– College of Osteopathic Medicine, College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, and College of Health Sciences – that offer nine graduate degree programs. The programs share a collective strength — an inclusive campus community where students and faculty come together in pursuit of knowledge, research and innovation. Join us as we impact the future of medicine and healthcare in our new state of the art campus opening in West Des Moines in 2023.


Des Moines University is an equal opportunity employer.  We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, color, national origin, ethnicity, creed, religion, age, disability, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, veteran status, genetic information and other characteristics protected by law (“protected class”). Applications from candidates from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.

Department:  Research                                                        

Status: Exempt

Work Schedule: 8-5 M-F, In-person, Hybrid, or Remote potential


Contact Information

Des Moines University





Background Information

4-Year Degree


  • College/University
  • Grants and Contracts

Authorized to work in the US


Target Job Information

  • Full Time