Senior Research Administrator (SPARC - Hybrid Work Schedule)


Senior Research Administrator (SPARC - Hybrid Work Schedule)

Department: MED-Office for Research (SPARC)
Salary/Grade: EXS/9 

Location: Chicago, Illinois 

Job Summary:
Sponsored Project And Research Catalyst (SPARC) is a shared service model that provides research administration support across Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (NUFSM).  This position – Senior Research Administrator is part of the SPARC model and directly supports The Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) Institute’s mission to accelerate innovative and inclusive clinical research discoveries to improve human health for all, and for all communities.

This position will work closely with SPARC colleagues, NUCATS leadership, Northwestern’s central compliance offices, and other key personnel involved with grant initiatives. Strong interpersonal communication skills along with strong writing skills and organization are necessary to being successful in this position. This is a hybrid on-campus/remote position in order to best support the growing research enterprise at Northwestern University. 

Using extensive research administration experience, the Senior RA coordinates all aspects of multiple grant &/or contract pre- & post-award activities.  The Senior RA assists in developing new funding opportunities & strategic plans regarding grants &/or contracts by providing guidance & counsel in regard to grant &/or contract administration which includes attending internal & external meetings, interpreting clauses, reviewing contracts, & resolving reporting &/or expense problems.  The Senior RA reviews associated policy & procedures & recommends changes to increase productivity & effectiveness. 

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Typically administers multiple research projects such as:
    • Complex multi-PI or multi-unit proposals, grants &/or contracts
    • Research portfolio for a more complex small to mid-sized unit
    • NIH U-approximately $5,000,000+/yr. over multiple yrs.
    • NIH P-approximately $500K+/yr. over multiple yrs.
    • NIH T-approximately $500-$900K+/yr. over multiple yrs.
    • NIH KL2-approximately $800k-1,000,000 per year over multiple yrs.
    • DOD and industry awards
    • Center or program grants
    • Proposals with cost sharing
    • Fixed-price contracts
    • Non-funded negotiations such as NDAs, user agreements


  • Manages pre-award administration of grants and &/or contracts.
  • Coordinates proposal submission.
  • Coordinates budget and justification preparation.
  • Completes sponsor and university proposal forms.
  • Coordinates sub-recipients and co-investigator agreements. 
  • Creatively and proactively evaluates and resolves problems and makes decisions.


  • Coordinates post-award activities.
  • Monitors execution of all financial transactions in research portfolio.
  • Forecasts & provides information for reports on financial status of projects.
  • Manages day-to-day financial functions.
  • Completes expenditure reviews.
  • Reconciles monthly payroll entries.
  • Identifies program income issues.
  • Proposes resolutions to overdrafts.
  • Facilitates account close out activities. 
  • Participates in efforts to improve research administration including serving on university committees related to research administration.


  • Oversees unit's entire sponsored project portfolio. 
  • Reviews transactions and resolve issues that requires a more complex level of financial understanding such as cost-sharing &/or effort reporting knowledge. 
  • Provides information to senior management that is used for department budgeting purposes.


  • Ensures compliance with all appropriate NU policies & practices; local, state, federal, agency & sponsor rules, regulations & requirements regarding grant &/or contract administration.
  • Recommends changes to improve programs, policy &/or practice. 
  • Resolves compliance problems & issues working in conjunction with faculty.


  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree; OR appropriate combination of education and experience.
  • A minimum of 5 years experience required with 2 years of research administration and 3 years of research, finance, administrative or other relevant experience.

Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)

  • Organization, time management, detail oriented
  • Multi-tasking, communication
  • Self-starter, diplomatic, pro-active, manage stress
  • Managing people
  • Provide leadership by cooperatively anticipating, coordinating, strategizing

Preferred Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities)

  • Must have advanced financial skills, this is a complex grant that needs detailed financial oversight. In addition to financial skills, pre-award knowledge with complex grants would be preferred. 

We are seeking applicants for the following positions: 

Job ID 45614 -

Job ID 46115 - 

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Contact Information

Northwestern University
First Name
Last Name
Contact Email
Contact URL

Background Information

4-Year Degree
Years of Experience
  • College/University
  • Research Administrator/Manager
Work Authorization
Security Clearance

Target Job Information

Job Type
  • Full Time