Director of Grants & Contracts


About the University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is an urban research university that has driven new ways of thinking since 1890. Our commitment to free and open inquiry draws inspired scholars to our global campuses, where ideas are born that challenge and change the world.

We empower individuals to challenge conventional thinking in pursuit of original ideas. Students in the College develop critical, analytic, and writing skills in our rigorous, interdisciplinary core curriculum. Through graduate programs, students test their ideas with UChicago scholars, and become the next generation of leaders in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government.

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About the Department
The Physical Sciences Division (PSD) has a rich history of advancing and defining new fields of discovery in the physical sciences and mathematics, and this tradition of innovation continues today. Our inquiry and impact spans from the edge of the observable universe to human-computer interaction, from biophysical materials science to the geologic record of seawater composition, from gravitational waves to geometric flows, and beyond. The division includes the academic departments of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geophysical Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, and Statistics. In addition, PSD includes a number of interdisciplinary research institutes and centers, including the Enrico Fermi Institute, the James Franck Institute, and the Kavli Center for Cosmological Physics. Many of our scientists have joint appointments at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory as well as joint affiliations with other Chicago-based research institutions such as the Toyota Technological Institute of Chicago, Adler Planetarium, The Museum of Science and Industry, and the Field Museum. Our students build connections with world-leading scientists, collaborate across disciplines, and enjoy the dynamic Chicago and University communities.

Job Summary
Reporting to the Physical Sciences Division Sr. Associate Dean plans, organizes, directs, and controls all financial and grants & contracts activities within and among departments through the Division’s business center. Activities managed by this position include all, pre- and post-award grant and contract administration of the division as well as faculty gift, endowment and discretionary research accounts. Researches, analyzes, designs, develops, and implements the organization staffing, and processes handled by the business center. Coordinates all unit activities with appropriate University and outside vendors, institutions, and departments. This position is eligible for a partially remote work schedule.


  • Directly supervises and oversees the work of three to four Grants & Contracts Managers who manage a team of approximately 25-30 Grants & Contracts professionals, financial administrators and financial coordinators.
  • Provide direction and leadership for the operational aspects of grant and contract business operations and policy development and implementation.
  • Displays good judgment in applying policy to non-standard cases across institute and divisional boundaries and participate in setting divisional policy and procedures.
  • Along with the Grants & Contracts Managers, determines appropriate staffing levels and recruit and hire Grants & Contracts professionals.
  • Represents the Division on committees and projects impacting the entire University.
  • Serves as a key financial and grants and contracts leader within the Division and provides advice, guidance and leadership for Divisional projects.
  • Provides leadership and stewardship on financial operations including purchasing, payroll, and reimbursements with attention to adherence to university and federal sponsored policies and procedures including reconciliation and audit controls.
  • Develops processes for communicating out important changes in University or Federal policies more broadly to impacted Principal Investigators (PIs).
  • Manages managers and professional staff. Establishes performance goals, allocates resources and assesses policies for direct subordinates.
  • Along with the Grants & Contracts Managers, directs and oversees reporting and compliance efforts related to PSD grants, gifts, and endowments.
  • Strengthen management and monitoring of sponsored research projects and restricted fund activities to ensure financial accuracy and accountability.
  • Works with faculty, program staff and other administrators to provide guidance as well as occasionally manage the financial and administrative aspects of sponsored project proposal preparation and submission.
  • Serves as a post-award subject matter expect for the division, advising on post-award functions, including award set-up and modification, administration and communication throughout the post-award lifecycle, award close-out, effort reporting, and internal and external audit.
  • Solves complex problems in collaboration with University Research Administration (URA) and external funding agencies.
  • Along with the Grants & Contracts managers, trains administrative staff in the fundamentals of account management, including budget management, cost allowability, cost transfers, financial reporting, effort reporting, sub-awards, cost sharing, and the use of advance accounts.
  •  Provides pre-award training, including budget development, application submission process for the various agencies, and the conflict of interest and disclosure process.
  • Ensures training resources are created and maintained providing training consistency across all teams.
  • Oversees the development of performance goals. Mentors and enables Grants & Contracts managers to develop leadership and financial skills for effective management and decision making in their roles.
  • Ensures that communication and collaboration across teams occurs, encourages mechanisms for cross training and learning.
  • Develops strategies for employee recruitment including leveraging professional networks and improving job descriptions.
  • In collaboration with the managers, creates specific professional development plans and expectations for every level of employee.
  • Develops a strategy for staff retention, taking into account the changing trends within the greater industry.
  • Provides guidance and support to managers who are facing employee performance issues.
  • The position provides advice concerning the hiring policies and payroll practices of the University with regard to staff, students, post-docs and academic appointments.
  • Maintains knowledge of industry trends and remains current with agency and regulatory changes. Plans for department/ unit compliance with University, Divisional and Department policies and procedures and implements corrective actions for issues identified.
  • Establishes performance goals, allocates resources and assesses policies for direct subordinates. Ensures service and communication to PIs, standardized information, best practices development, and that all faculty and research staff are aware of any new grant policies and changes.
  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications

Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 7+ years of work experience in a related job discipline.



Preferred Qualifications


  • Bachelor’s degree.


  • Experience submitting grant proposals to a variety of sponsors including federal agencies, private foundations, and state/local governments.
  • Experience with budget planning and forecasting, ledgers, invoices, and financial reporting.
  • Experience working in a higher education or non-profit environment.
  • Experience with financial and accounting systems
  • Experience managing post-award activities.
  • Experience managing a team.

Preferred Competencies

  • Able to deal effectively with a diverse workforce in a complex research environment.
  • Exceptional analytical skills with high attention on technical and non-technical details.
  • Exceptional oral and written communication skills and be comfortable with a consultative approach interacting with employees.
  • Exceptional organization skills.
  • A resourceful problem-solver and critical thinker, able to be proactive in leveraging opportunities and anticipating and averting problems
  • Able to discretely handle all employment information and issues - confidentiality is essential
  • Energy and enthusiasm.
  • Ability to deal with difficult personalities.

Technical Skills or Knowledge:

  • Advanced skills in using Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint.
  • Experience with complex financial administrative systems.

Working Conditions

  • This position is available for partially remote work.

Application Documents

  • Resume (required)
  • Cover Letter (required)
  • References (required)

When applying, the document(s) MUST be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Job Family
Financial Management

Role Impact
People Manager

FLSA Status

Pay Frequency

Scheduled Weekly Hours

Benefits Eligible

Requires Compliance with University Covid-19 Vaccination Requirement

Drug Test Required

Health Screen Required

Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required

Posting Statement
Employees must comply with the University’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements. More information about the requirements can be found on the University of Chicago Vaccination GoForward.

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.


We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.

All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history.  A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment.  Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.

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Contact Information

University of Chicago Physical Sciences Division
First Name
Last Name
Contact Email
Contact URL

Background Information

4-Year Degree
Years of Experience
  • College/University
  • Grants and Contracts
Work Authorization
Authorized to work in the US
Security Clearance

Target Job Information

Job Type
  • Full Time