The University of Southern California (USC), founded in 1880, is located in the heart of downtown L.A. and is the largest private employer in the City of Los Angeles. As an employee of USC, you will be a part of a world-class research university and a member of the “Trojan Family,” which is comprised of the faculty, students and staff that make the university what it is. This role is focused within one of the largest schools within the university, namely USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences.
Job Title: Director, Research Administration
The Director of Research Administration (RA) position within the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences in the Business Office works with the Vice Dean and serves as the main contact for the research administration. The Director of Research Administration position manages a team of approximately 15 direct and indirect reports. Oversees proposal development and is responsible for the general management and oversight of all proposal submissions for the College. Oversight includes both pre-award and post-award activities. This includes the oversight of proposal submission, management of awards, and training and development the research administration team. The Director interacts and collaborates with school leadership, faculty, department managers, and the USC Office of Research Administration to assess and improve research administration (RA) resources and to ensure adequate RA coverage and effectiveness. Additionally, the Director serves as a resource for faculty and staff in regard to research administration. The director administers a varied award portfolio including complex sponsored awards school-wide and or cross-school research collaborations. Utilizing extensive research administration knowledge, the director works with faculty and research teams to help develop sponsored proposals and manage the post-award needs of the portfolio, and assists faculty and staff in navigating new research administration tools and systems.
Training & Mentorship:
- Designs and develops reference materials for research administration team and customers.
- Develops and coordinates standardized research administrators’ orientation programs, including one-on-one onboarding and mentoring with new research administration staff.
- Manages the development path and/or career ladder for advancement of team based on appropriate competency demonstration.
- Acts as liaison between administrators and senior leadership regarding professional development issues; provides regular updates to and collects feedback.
Pre-Award – Proposal Development and Submission
- Facilitates and oversees the application process via proposal review, approval, and submission; tracks deadlines to ensure timely submission of proposals.
- Furnishes advice, guidance and oversight to pre-award team and departmental grant coordinators and managers.
- Actively manages the proposal submission process and makes adjustments as necessary during heavy deadlines to accommodate workloads for the pre-award team.
- Actively monitors resource assignments and makes adjustments as necessary.
- Develops and implements strategies for communicating and monitoring compliance with the College, University, and extramural research administration policies and procedures for proposal development and submission.
- Acts as back up during staff absences; at times, may be assigned specific departments, centers, and institutes if the workload is unmanageable for existing pre-award staff.
- May be required to perform department pre-award activities to support proposal overflow; this would include sitting with the principal investigator to establish proposal timelines, budget development, and all components necessary for a successful grant submission.
- Provides regular proposal metrics to school leadership and maintains proposal information and prepares scheduled and special reports, and analyses as necessary.
- Reviews, approves and signs grant applications on behalf of the school.
Post-Award – Award management
- Actively manages the award lifecycle and makes adjustments as necessary to accommodate workloads for post-award team.
- Actively monitors resource assignments and makes adjustments as necessary.
- Acts as back up during staff absences; at times, may be assigned specific departments, centers, and institutes if workload is unmanageable for existing pre-award staff.
- May at times be required to perform department post-award activities to support award management.
- Provides regular award metrics to school leadership and maintains account information and prepares scheduled and special reports, and analyses as necessary.
- Ensures understanding of the current fiscal performance of studies and identify areas of concern that need resolution; advises faculty and principal investigator on budget adjustments and revisions necessary to meet the sponsor requirements.
- Manages budget, reporting and compliance timelines through the lifecycle of the grant or contract; communicates as appropriate to research and department personnel.
- Establishes sub-recipient financial and reporting requirements; coordinate issuance of sub-agreements.
- Manage the reconciliation of monthly budget reports and inform faculty and principal investigator and/or supervisor of corrections and adjustments that have been made.
- Identifies and submits the cost transfers resulting from budget reconciliation.
- As requirements change, prepares and submits requests for re-budgeting and modifying the funded project; reconciles and closes all sub-recipient cost objects and obtain all sponsor-required reports.
- Maintains financial records per the institutional documents retention guidelines.
- Manages overdrafts in line with unit procedures and institution guidelines.
- Closes all funded projects consistent with university processes and timelines.
Miscellaneous Duties as Assigned
- Remains current on developments in policies and processes relating to research administration; provides proactive outreach and communication to faculty and administrators on new policies and procedures and updated sponsor guidelines;
- Acts as a resource for any compliance questions and issues using existing knowledge, experience and available resources (e.g., sponsor regulations, University policies) for supporting and/or providing guidance within the MNMC research community.
- Manages special projects and initiatives as identified by senior research administration leaders.
- Education: BA or BS degree in Business or related field. MS degree in related field or equivalent preferred.
- Experience: Five years of related research administration and grants management. Experience with risk monitoring, policy implementation or an equivalent combination of relevant education and/or experience.
- Master’s degree and a minimum of 5-7 years of experience in grants and contracts administration preferably in a university or non-profit research setting. Or Bachelor’s degree with 7-10 years of experience.
- Strong background in research administration and accounting.
- Experience in managing compliance with federal government grants and contracts and ability to interpret and apply university and sponsor policies and procedures.
- Proficiency with proposal review and electronic proposal submissions.
- Ability to analyze complex situations, identify workable solutions, and make appropriate determinations based on regulations and the relevant policies.
- Effective written and verbal communication skills and excellent interpersonal skills.
- Commitment to maintaining a productive and supportive research environment while providing mentoring and assistance to departments.
- Ability to deliver presentations to the research administration community as well as the faculty community on relevant research administration topics.
- Experience in institutional processes and policy and procedure development.
- Thorough knowledge of information systems supporting research administration.
- Ability to manage multiple priorities in a fast-paced, deadline-driven setting.
- Good leadership, judgement, and decision-making skills.
Job Location: Los Angeles, CA
Department/School: Business Office, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences
Annual Salary Range: $150K - $170K
Performs other related duties as assigned or requested. The university reserves the right to add or change duties at any time.
Required Documents and Additional Information:
- Resume and cover letter required (may be uploaded as one file). Please do not submit your application without these documents.
- Job openings are posted for a minimum of (5) five business days. This job may be removed from posting boards and filled any time after the minimum posting period has ended, so please apply on the same business day if interested.
- USC has excellent benefits, including health benefits for staff and their family with access to the renowned university medical network; eligibility for retirement plans with employer contributions after six months of employment; tuition benefits for staff and their family; free Professional Development classes; central Los Angeles location with easy access to commuter trains, buses and free tram pick up services; discounts to sporting and other campus events.
The University of Southern California is an Equal Opportunity Employer that Values Diversity.
Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree Minimum Experience: 5 years Minimum Field of Expertise: Management experience in busy, multi-faceted department, preferably within a university setting.