Associate Director, Sponsored Projects and Contracts - (PRO00000296)


SMU’s more than 12,000 diverse, high-achieving students come from all 50 states and over 80 countries to take advantage of the University’s small classes, meaningful research opportunities, leadership development, community service, international study and innovative programs.

SMU serves approximately 7,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students through eight degree-granting schools: Dedman College of Humanities and SciencesCox School of BusinessLyle School of EngineeringMeadows School of the ArtsSimmons School of Education and Human DevelopmentDedman School of LawPerkins School of Theology and Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies.

SMU is data driven, and its powerful supercomputing ecosystem – paired with entrepreneurial drive – creates an unrivaled environment for the University to deliver research excellence.

Now in its second century of achievement, SMU is recognized for the ways it supports students, faculty and alumni as they become ethical, enterprising leaders in their professions and communities. SMU’s relationship with Dallas – the dynamic center of one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions – offers unique learning, research, social and career opportunities that provide a launch pad for global impact.

SMU is nonsectarian in its teaching and committed to academic freedom and open inquiry.

About the Department:

The Office of Research provides research services to all faculty and staff at the university.

About the Position:

The Associate Director of Pre-Award is responsible for management of pre-award services including assisting with supervision of a cohesive and flexible research administrator team that supports the communication of University policies; fairly applies rules and regulations of all sponsors; supports and improves the proposal submission process; and develops and maintains streamlined processes to support the research community. 

Responsibilities include: allocating workload and resources for the submission of all proposals; collaboratively working with the research community in identification of funding opportunities, proposal development, review and submission, and award negotiation and acceptance as well as oversight of post-award non-financial management activities.

Essential Functions:

  • Supervision of Research Administrators: Providing training and direction on all applicable policies, procedures, federal and sponsor regulations; distributing and monitoring workload assignments; review and approval of employee vacation/sick leave requests; goal setting, monitoring and mentoring staff and conducting performance reviews on an annual basis.

  • Proposal Submission and Review: Assist in identifying possible funding opportunities;Guidance regarding proposals and awards development; Review proposals and contracts for accuracy and conformance with regulations/guidelines; Endorsement of Just-in-Time (JIT) and post-submission materials; Provide smooth transition into contracting and post-award grant administration.

  • Post-award non-financial activities: Oversight of activities related to management of non-financial award actions including award set up, develop & negotiate contract agreements, process budget change requests, progress reports, process No Cost Extension (NCE) requests, as well as closeout activities.

  • Communication and Collaboration: Representation, as appropriate, at internal/external meetings; Develop network of contacts and promote the research interest of the University to funding agencies; Assist Director in preparing reports and related communications on research programs, activities and initiatives of the university to both internal academic units and external agencies as required.

  • Research Administration and Regulatory: Contribute to maintenance and further development of internal systems/procedures; Educate the campus research community regarding all applicable policies and procedures; Assist the Director with planning and introduction of new initiatives; Provide recommendations to the Director on policy updates/changes. Other tasks as assigned.





Education and Experience:

A Bachelor’s degree is required. Master's degree is preferred. 

A minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience in research administration is required. Experience in project budgeting, cost accounting, and administration is also required.

A minimum of three years of experience managing/supervising a professional staff is required. 

Experience overseeing large complex grant funded projects is strongly preferred. Experience in administration of research and sponsored projects in a university setting desired.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

The ideal candidate is team oriented, collegial, flexible, adaptable to different work styles and able to receive constructive feedback.

Candidate must demonstrate strong interpersonal and verbal communication skills, with the ability to communicate broadly across the University and develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of constituencies, including research faculty, staff, and students. Must also demonstrate strong written communication skills. A strong customer service orientation is essential.

Candidate must possess strong problem-solving skills with the ability to identify and analyze problems, as well as devise solutions. Must also have strong organizational, planning and time management skills with the ability to manage and respond to competing deadlines and priorities.

Candidate must have the ability to interpret/understand federal and non-federal regulations and operations of sponsored research. Must also have knowledge of 2 CFR Part 200 Uniform Guidance.

Candidate must have a strong working knowledge of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook) and ability to use a variety of information systems. Experience with PeopleSoft and/or Electronic Research Administration (eRA) systems preferred. CRA certification desired.

Physical and Environmental Demands:

  • Sit for long periods of time

Deadline to Apply:

The position is open until filled.

EEO Statement:

SMU will not discriminate in any program or activity on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. The Executive Director for Access and Equity/Title IX Coordinator is designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies and may be reached at the Perkins Administration Building, Room 204, 6425 Boaz Lane, Dallas, TX 75205, 214-768-3601,


SMU offers staff a broad, competitive array of health and related benefits. In addition to traditional benefits such as health, dental, and vision plans, SMU offers a wide range of wellness programs to help attract, support, and retain our employees whose work continues to make SMU an outstanding education and research institution.

SMU is committed to providing an array of retirement programs that benefit and protect you and your family throughout your working years at SMU and, if you meet SMU's retirement eligibility criteria, during your retirement years after you leave SMU.

The value of learning at SMU isn't just about preparing our students for the future. Employees have access to a wide variety of professional and personal development opportunities, including tuition benefits.

Contact Information

First Name
Last Name
Contact Email
Contact URL

Background Information

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

Target Job Information

Job Type
  • Full Time