Grants & Contracts Associate

The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI) works with the Chicago Economics community to turn its evidence-based research into real-world impact. BFI takes a unique approach to bridging the divide between academic researchers and decision-makers in the business community and government by translating and packaging the rigorous work of the Chicago Economics community into accessible formats and proactively sharing those findings with relevant decision-makers and thought leaders around the globe. BFI is a collaborative platform serving the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, the Harris School of Public Policy, and the Law School. For more information visit

Job Summary

The job provides professional support for pre-award and/or post-award activities relating to grant and contract proposals and funding within a department or unit. Pre-award activities include research, preparing applications, and editing proposals. Post-award activities include compliance monitoring, payment processing, and salary allocations. Performs work with moderate guidance and utilizes knowledge of University and business drivers.


  • Finance and accounting - analyzes and monitors comprehensive financial activities within the BFI departments, primarily in the areas of finance, auditing, budgeting and forecasting, purchasing, and other operational/education-related financial activities. Allocates, authorizes, monitors, and controls expenses.
  • Maintains accounts including oversight, reconciliation, and error correction.
  • Prepares and submits financial transactions through the University systems (ePayments, GEMS, BuySite, etc.); tracks against annual budget.
  • Coordinates drafting of award letters, transfer of fund, and monitoring of progress reports of BFI internal grants such as BFI Data and Research Awards with other departments/units/division.
  • Assists faculty and staff with review and execution of contracts and data use agreements; works to understand needs, assesses contract suitability to meeting those needs, and negotiates with vendors to ensure contracts comply with University standards and guidelines. In addition, assists faculty and staff with requests to access datasets within the BFI data library.
  • Creates pivot table reports in Excel as needed.
  • Helps to maintain a financial administration manual for staff with relevant University policies and procedures.
  • Liaise as necessary with staff and Financial Services.
  • Processes cost and payroll transfers.
  • Serves as a resource for team members.
  • Pre-award activities includes reading proposal guidelines; collecting, composing, and/or preparing administrative components of proposal submissions; preparing applications, developing and preparing budgets, and monitoring regulatory compliance requirements.
  • Post-award activities includes account creations, regulatory and compliance monitoring, salary allocations, effort reporting, grant projections, cost allocations, cost center charges, equipment inventory, invoice preparation, grant closing process, and account closing.
  • Monitors spending on all federal, non-federal, and internal grant accounts. Analyzes monthly grant financial reports and ledgers for accuracy, recommends and initiates action to correct discrepancies and follow-up until resolved. 
  • Prepares drafts of financial sections for components of grant and supplement applications, including draft budgets and budget justifications. Coordinates with sub-award administrators to assist with preparation of financial materials for all major grant-related activities.
  • Manages the execution of subawards, sponsored sonsulting agreements, and subaward amendments.
  • Partners with University Research Administration (URA) to monitor pre- and post-award activities, such as timely submission of applications and progress reports (RPPRs); requests for no-cost extensions; obtaining sponsor approvals for major changes to project work scope or major changes to anticipated expenditures, etc.
  • Works closely with the Senior Grants Manager to collect grant data for the annual budget.
  • Works directly with the faculty and research staff to seek new avenues for funding and new grant opportunities.
  • Works with a broad array of sponsors, interpreting regulations and guidelines of multiple program funding with broad and complex guidelines for spending.
  • Responsible for timely submission of applications, renewal/continual amendments, ensuring timely submission of technical reports, just-in-time submissions, no-cost extensions, and Agency required re-budgeting.
  • Responsible for all data entry and preparation of grant reports and trend analysis.
  • Interacts with University Research Administration, faculty, postdocs, and pre/post-award colleagues from other departments and sections, and Financial Services Office personnel.
  • Seeks new avenues for funding and grant opportunities and ensures that notices of relevant opportunities are brought to faculty attention. Works with sponsors to draft proposal budgets in accordance with University needs, with a moderate level of guidance and direction.
  • Reviews all applications against University guidelines, in addition to drafting progress reports, non-competing applications, amendments, and budgeting. Responsible for all data entry and preparation of grant reports and trend analysis.
  • Prepares summaries of grants and effort allocations for Principal Investigators, meets with them and responds to their questions. Coordinates with other departments/units/divisions regarding multi investigator grants. Serves as department contact for annual audits and agency site visits.
  • Performs other related work as needed.

    Preferred Qualifications


  • Associate’s degree in accounting, finance or related field.
  • Bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or related field.


  • Progressively responsible grant/contract and financial administration in an academic setting.
  • Experience with budgets, ledgers, invoices, and fiscal reporting.
  • Experience in one or more aspects of sponsored program administration in a research environment.
  • Experience with accounting systems.


Technical Skills or Knowledge:

  • Computer skills including word processing, database management, and spreadsheet skills.
  • Working knowledge in financial administration, accounting or grant and contract.
  • Knowledge of procurement and finance systems.
  • Knowledge of general accounting standards and auditing.
  • Knowledge of research methods and funding sources.


Preferred Competencies

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Flexible and adaptable work style.
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • Strong financial and analytic skills.
  • Demonstrated initiative in improving processes and enhancing systems.
  • Exercise sound judgment, discretion, and tact.
  • Excellent independent time management skills along with the ability to handle multiple and concurrent tasks within deadlines.


Working Conditions

  • Standard office environment.
  • Sit for 2 to 4 hours.
  • Walk to various on-campus locations.


Application Documents

  • Resume/CV (required)
  • Cover Letter (required)
  • Three Professional References Contact Information (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.



Contact Information

Becker Friedman Institute - University of Chicago


Towns Smith

5757 South University Ave

Chicgao, Illinois 60637


Background Information

2-Year Degree


  • College/University
  • Grants and Contracts

U.S. Citizen


Target Job Information

  • Full Time