Associate Director, Office of Research Services - Division of Finance

Associate Director, Office of Research Services - Division of Finance

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn's distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning. As an employer Penn has been ranked nationally on many occasions with the most recent award from Forbes who named Penn one of America's Best Employers By State in 2021.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

COVID-19 vaccination is a requirement for all positions at the University of Pennsylvania. New hires are expected to be fully vaccinated before beginning work at the University. For more information about Penn's vaccine requirements and the use of Penn Open Pass, visit the Penn COVID-19 Response website for the latest information.

Posted Job Title
Associate Director, Office of Research Services - Division of Finance

Job Profile Title
Associate Director, Research Services

Job Description Summary
The Pre-Award team in the Office of Research Services is responsible for the submission and negotiation of research agreements related to the University's $688 million annual federal research portfolio, as well as the negotiation of agreements with non-profit research funders and for non-monetary research. The Associate Director is part of a fast-paced and dynamic team focused on providing excellent service to our internal customers, the Penn research community. The Associate Director promotes the Office of Research Service's mission of providing excellent customer service for research projects with an overall focus on high levels of quality of work and departmental interaction.

Responsible for pre-award and non-financial post-award duties of sponsored research, which includes the review of proposals for compliance with sponsor and university terms and rules; and, the review, negotiation, and acceptance of resulting grant awards, and nonfinancial post award activities. Serve as point of contact for sponsoring agencies, and work with departments, schools, and centers to ensure timely submission of non-financial reports and requests for approval of changes to projects. Serve as a subject matter expert on federal sponsor policies. Review and negotiate awards as needed, binding the institution to contractual obligations related to projects. Negotiate ancillary agreements such as subawards, collaborative research agreements, material transfer and data use agreements, in support of research portfolio. Provide action-oriented and expert support to Principal Investigators (PIs) and handle specific grant and audit issues with confidentiality and integrity. Master a wide range of complex operational and administrative matters, and demonstrate a detailed understanding of the organization and functions of academic departments, organizational research units, and other campus units involved in research administration. Provide guidance to pre-award administrators and contract administrators for agreements related to assigned portfolio. The Associate Director maintains familiarity with, and ensures compliance with, external regulations and University academic policies and administrative standards.

In the Division of Finance, we recognize diversity and inclusion is paramount to a positive and thriving work environment; it is a business imperative. We are committed to actively fostering diversity, inclusion and cultural competency throughout our operational efforts in the Division of Finance. This role will be critical in supporting those efforts and demonstrating behaviors and competencies that reflect Penn's values.

We take pride in the myriad ways that diversity enriches our curriculum, and the cultural and social life of our campus. Penn's commitment to achieving eminence through diversity is ultimately a commitment to creating a more vibrant university so that our graduates will be both stimulated and empowered to shape a better world.

Job Description

1. Proposal Administration

Responsible for reviewing, authorizing, and submitting proposals on behalf of the University to a wide range of funding sponsors. Ensures proposals are submitted in accordance with University policy and in compliance with sponsor requirements to optimize likelihood of funding. Counsels faculty and departmental administrative staff on funding opportunities and administrative strategies for the preparation of successful grant/contract proposals.

2. Sponsor Communications

Independently manages communications with external funding sponsors as an authorized organizational representative with the authority to bind the institution in matters related to research. Serves as a liaison between funding sponsors and faculty. Prepares, reviews, and submits formal communications such as just-in-time and no cost extensions and other non-financial post-award requests throughout the award life cycle. Reviews and submits final non-financial reports. Maintains current working knowledge of federal regulations and sponsor policies to ensure the responsible conduct of research at Penn and advise faculty and departmental administrative staff accordingly.

3. Agreement Negotiation

Serves as an authorized signatory for the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania on matters related to research agreements. Responsible for binding the University to terms and conditions for funded research grants, contracts and ancillary agreements. Collaborates with contract administrators and provides guidance on terms and conditions for subawards and non-monetary agreements.

4. Internal Communication and Relationship Management

Coordinates with faculty and departmental administrators to help maintain currency on sponsor requirements. Regularly meet with faculty and administrators to ensure service needs are met; serve as subject matter expert on proposal preparation and submission as well as to advise on non-financial management during the life of the award. Addresses concerns or needs of assigned divisions and departments.

5. Training and Other Duties

Identifies training needs; develops and delivers training materials to meet those needs in a variety of formats, including individual training and classroom sessions. Develop, manage and deliver university-wide instructor led and web based sponsored projects training course offerings; ensure training materials and content are maintained and consistent with federal, city, state and sponsor compliance requirements

6. Compliance Coordination

Independently communicates with the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, Penn Center for Innovation and the Office of General Counsel to ensure Penn's research activities are coordinated across the institution. Communicates with regulatory offices, such as Penn's Institutional Review Board and the Office of Animal Welfare, to ensure regulatory requirements are met for sponsored research activity; maintain all proper and necessary documentation

7. Perform other duties as assigned


A Bachelor's Degree and 3 years to 5 years of experience or equivalent combination of education and experience is required.

Experience working with grants and contracts in a university or hospital setting.

Detailed knowledge of the administrative components of a proposal including: understanding of standard proposal requirements, terms, and conditions; budget development and resource requirements; bio-sketches; facilities pages.

Detailed knowledge of applicable federal, state and other sponsor regulations related to sponsored projects, including Uniform Guidance

Advanced user skills with Excel and other Microsoft programs and computer systems. Excellent interpersonal, communication and presentation skills. Demonstrated ability to be detail-oriented and accurate.

Able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. Demonstrated organizational and prioritization skills, along with the ability to work within tight and often conflicting deadlines. Must be flexible, show effective judgement, discretion and have the ability to handle confidential financial matters.

Work effectively in a highly matrixed and decentralized environment with the ability to navigate through ambiguity and demonstrate appreciation and support for diversity, inclusion and belonging in a constantly evolving academic/higher education environment.

Job Location - City, State
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School
Division of Finance

Pay Range
$59,703.00 - $95,524.33

Affirmative Action Statement
Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements
Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

University Benefits
  • Health, Life, and Flexible Spending Accounts: Penn offers comprehensive medical, prescription, behavioral health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits to protect you and your family's health and welfare. You can also use flexible spending accounts to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.
  • Tuition: Take advantage of Penn's exceptional tuition benefits. You, your spouse, and your dependent children can get tuition assistance here at Penn. Your dependent children are also eligible for tuition assistance at other institutions.
  • Retirement: Penn offers generous retirement plans to help you save for your future. Penn's Basic, Matching, and Supplemental retirement plans allow you to save for retirement on a pre-tax or Roth basis. Choose from a wide variety of investment options through TIAA and Vanguard.
  • Time Away from Work: Penn provides you with a substantial amount of time away from work during the course of the year. This allows you to relax, take vacations, attend to personal affairs, recover from illness or injury, spend time with family-whatever your personal needs may be.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: In partnership with Genworth Financial, Penn offers faculty and staff (and your eligible family members) long-term care insurance to help you cover some of the costs of long-term care services received at home, in the community or in a nursing facility. If you apply when you're newly hired, you won't have to provide proof of good health or be subject to underwriting requirements. Eligible family members must always provide proof of good health and are subject to underwriting.
  • Wellness and Work-life Resources: Penn is committed to supporting our faculty and staff as they balance the competing demands of work and personal life. That's why we offer a wide variety of programs and resources to help you care for your health, your family, and your work-life balance.
  • Professional and Personal Development: Penn provides an array of resources to help you advance yourself personally and professionally.
  • University Resources: As a member of the Penn community, you have access to a wide range of University resources as well as cultural and recreational activities. Take advantage of the University's libraries and athletic facilities, or visit our arboretum and art galleries. There's always something going on at Penn, whether it's a new exhibit at the Penn Museum, the latest music or theater presentation at the Annenberg Center, or the Penn Relays at Franklin Field to name just a few examples. As a member of the Penn community, you're right in the middle of the excitement-and you and your family can enjoy many of these activities for free.
  • Discounts and Special Services: From arts and entertainment to transportation and mortgages, you'll find great deals for University faculty and staff. Not only do Penn arts and cultural centers and museums offer free and discounted admission and memberships to faculty and staff. You can also enjoy substantial savings on other goods and services such as new cars from Ford and General Motors, cellular phone service plans, movie tickets, and admission to theme parks.
  • Flexible Work Hours: Flexible work options offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. These approaches involve use of non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures.
  • Penn Home Ownership Services: Penn offers a forgivable loan for eligible employees interested in buying a home or currently residing in West Philadelphia, which can be used for closing costs or home improvements.
  • Adoption Assistance: Penn will reimburse eligible employees on qualified expenses in connection with the legal adoption of an eligible child, such as travel or court fees, for up to two adoptions in your household.

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