Job Summary

This position is responsible to the Assistant Vice President for Research and Director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Administration (ORSPA). The Grants and Contracts Specialist provides administrative support to the university community throughout the grant lifecycle with a primary focus on pre-award functions. They play a central role in coordinating the timely submission of applications, setting up of awards and sub-awards, reporting, training, and educating faculty, staff, and students on Sponsored Program’s best practices, and ensuring compliance with federal, state, sponsor, and university regulations and guidelines pertaining to research and sponsored projects. They serve as a liaison with sponsors and participate in professional development opportunities including but not limited to obtaining CRA or related certifications and performing other duties as assigned. This position is a key member of the institution’s research administrative team.

Step II is mid-rung on ORSPA’s GCS career ladder which encourages staff to explore, learn, and expand their knowledge, experience and expertise through professional development, cross-training and educational opportunities.         

The value of employment at ETSU goes far beyond salary. Regular benefited ETSU employees enjoy a full range of benefits, services, and programs including paid time off & leave, paid holidays, health and life insurance, retirement, access to University facilities and services, and much more! Check out the ETSU Human Resources Benefits page for additional information.

Salary:  Level 8 Administrative Salary Band (  Commensurate with qualifications.

Apply at:

Deadline:  Review of applications begins March 28, 2023 and will continue until a suitable candidate is found.


More About the Position

Essential Functions

•  Assist and instruct members of the university community in identifying funding opportunities utilizing various sources such as listservs, and SPIN databases.

•  Provide support and expertise to the campus community in navigating and performing activities across the sponsored project lifecycle including but not limited to:

    -  Helping investigators prepare required application materials for external funding proposals including developing budgets, and performing pre-submission review to ensure the application is complete and meets sponsor requirements, and complies with applicable regulations, policies and guidance;

    -  Facilitating the collection and transmission of documents between ETSU and other organizations as required to support consortium grant applications including those involving a prime-subrecipient relationships;

    -  Working cooperatively with contracting staff to ensure timely review and assessment of subrecipient eligibility and risk;

    -  Reviewing award terms and conditions for award acceptance and communicating with sponsors to resolve contractual issues;

    -  Processing grant transfers and relinquishments, and other post-award actions including those requiring prior approval from sponsor, such as supplements and amendments, re-budgets, no-cost extensions, and carryforward requests.

•  Coordinate institutional compliance in areas pertaining to sponsored projects, including but not limited to: 

    -  Tracking, monitoring, and reporting on mandatory training and disclosure requirements for the responsible conduct of research and conflicts of interest;

    -  Identifying, flagging and notifying appropriate institutional offices about project activities such as the use of biohazards, and animal and human subjects, which require specialized review and approval, and verifying required approvals are obtained and maintained throughout the life of the sponsored project;

    -  Facilitating animal and human subjects research congruency reviews.

•  Maintain working knowledge of federal and state regulations, sponsor and institutional policies and guidance pertaining to sponsored project in order to:

    -  Correctly apply award requirements and provide accurate instruction and guidance to faculty and staff to ensure contract compliance with federal and institutional policies;

   -   Serve as a resource and provide education and training to the University community on issues related to sponsored programs;

   -   Contribute to the development of, and recommend necessary modifications to university policies, procedures, and guidelines that impact sponsored programs activity.

•  Promote and contribute to ORSPA’s pursuit of continuous improvement:

   -   Provide excellent customer service and assistance to the campus community;

   -   Develop and deliver stakeholder resources and training through various media; 

   -   Develop and nurture positive relationships both inside and outside of the institution;

   -   Assist in developing and maintaining the electronic generation, tracking and management of sponsored program activities in ORSPA’s electronic research administration system;

   -  Identify and recommend necessary reports, upgrades, enhancements and innovations to ensure transparent and efficient peformance of sponsored programs activities;

   -  Actively participate in professional development activities and cross-training efforts.

•  Perform other related duties as assigned.

Disclaimer: The Job Summary is intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by individuals in this classification. It is not intended to be a complete list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required. Management reserves the right to revise the job or require different tasks to be performed as assigned to reflect changes in the position. The employee must be able to perform the essential functions of the position satisfactorily with or without reasonable accommodations.

Education and Experience

Bachelor’s Degree and two years of relevant work experience; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Knowledge and Abilities


  • Working knowledge of, and ability to correctly interpret and apply federal and state regulations, policies, and guidelines governing sponsored research, including OMB Uniform Guidance (2 CFR 200), and those pertaining to financial conflicts of interest, responsible conduct of research, biosafety, and the use of human and animal subjects.
  • Working knowledge of budgetary processes and demonstrated ability to develop accurate and appropriate budgets for a variety of sponsored projects.
  • Excellent time management and organizational skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to proactively manage expectations in relation to agreed deliverables and produce high-quality work products even when faced with competing priorities.
  • Strong math, reading comprehension, and problem-solving skills.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and presentation skills.
  • High aptitude for learning electronic systems, and applied knowledge of common, web-based, and other computer application programs, including Microsoft Office Suite and Adobe.
  • Proven ability to build and maintain collaborative relationships across a wide stakeholder group and provide excellent customer service.
  • Demonstrated commitment and willingness to learn and develop new skills and knowledge individually and as part of a team.


•     Considerable hands-on experience assisting and guiding members of a university community to navigate successfully through all stages of the grant lifecycle

•     Significant experience working with InfoEd ® or similar grants management system.

•     Earned CRA, CPRA or CFRA, or equivalent designation.


About ETSU

East Tennessee State University (ETSU) is a regional state-supported institution serving approximately 13,400 students yearly, and is located in a beautiful, prosperous, Southern Appalachian Mountain community. The northeast corner of Tennessee, which surrounds Johnson City is metropolitan in population but provides a friendly, small town atmosphere. The area abounds in scenic beauty and in places of historical interest.

ETSU is committed to a diverse and inclusive workforce by ensuring all of our students, faculty, and staff work in an environment of openness and acceptance. Successful candidates should have a demonstrated commitment and contribution to fostering and advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion. East Tennessee State University (ETSU) is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.

Contact Information

East Tennessee State University



Box 70565

Johnson City, TN 37614


Background Information

4-Year Degree


  • College/University
  • Sponsored Projects/Programs
  • Research Administrator/Manager
  • Grants and Contracts
  • Compliance
  • Administrator or Administrative

Authorized to work in the US


Target Job Information


  • Full Time