The Third Coast CFAR leadership seeks candidates to manage research administration and financial processes at Northwestern University and to facilitate programmatic reporting to the NIH for the center’s P30 grant. Competitive applicants will have a track record of successful collaborations with cross-functional teams, the ability to effectively managing multiple priorities, and enthusiasm for the CFAR’s mission. Contact Justin Schmandt, CFAR associate director, with questions about this position.

Search for Job ID 38829 on Northwestern’s career website.

Job Summary:

Oversees a major division/department-wide program or project.  Provides direction and thought leadership to develop strategic administrative initiatives that meet the mission/objective of the program/project.  Oversees the effective, compliant, & efficient daily management of all operational, financial, & business functions in support of the program/project & in coordination with central offices such as HR, Budget, Facilities, IT, & Provost.  Represents program/project on internal & external business affairs & is viewed as an expert resource regarding program/project administrative affairs. 

The project engagements are: The NIH-funded Third Coast Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), which is a citywide collaboration between Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, the Chicago Department of Public Health, and multiple community organizations; and the NIH-funded Rebound HIV Program, which is a collaboration between investigators at five different universities. Richard D’Aquila, MD is the PI of both projects.

Specific Responsibilities:


  • Oversees & ensures that day-to-day operations are appropriately managed, efficient and effective.
  • Manages customer service; creates associated practices & procedures & metrics to measure success.
  • Analyzes data & recommends & implements changes & improvement to better ensure attainment of mission.
  • Oversees documentation of agreements between NU and partner institutions, ensuring that agreements are complete and reviewed by all necessary NU officials. 

Budgets & Financial

  • Ensures that the program/project meets associated revenue & expense goals.
  • Develops and implements ideas for improving business processes, and increasing program/project revenues and margins.
  • Plans & manages complex budget(s) which fund strategic mission including financial sustainability & enhancement models. 
  • Plans & implements annual budget process.
  • Oversees all daily, monthly & annual financial activities including transactions, analysis, & reporting.
  • Approves funds reallocation within budget as necessary & appropriate.   

Grants & Contracts

  • Manages professional research administration support staff in order to facilitate & enhance all administrative grant processes & related compliance. 
  • Responsible for pre- & post-award administration completed by research administrators. 
  • Builds relationships with Principal Investigators (PIs) & NU research associated offices.
  • Transfers knowledge & advises on research policy & procedure. 
  • Manages payroll administration for research appointments.

Program Development

  • Manages goals, objectives, outcome measurements and metrics, financial feasibility, marketing strategies and collaboration. opportunities with other internal and external organizations. 
  • Provides leadership for planning, scheduling, delivering and maintaining program(s)/project(s)

Regulatory Compliance & Miscellaneous

  • Ensures compliance with all applicable federal, state, local & NU laws, regulations, policies & procedures.
  • 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.
  • 4 years program/project administration or other relevant experience.  

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

  • Action oriented – Willing or likely to take practical action to deal with a problem or situation.
  • Coachability – Receptive to feedback, willing to learn, embracing continuous improvement.
  • Collaboration – Facilitates open and effective communication, cooperation and teamwork within and outside of one’s own team.
  • Collegiality – Helpful, respectful, approachable; builds strong working relationships and a positive work environment.
  • Initiative – Exhibits energy and desire to achieve; sets ambitious goals and acts decisively; takes action that no one has requested to improve or enhance job results and avoid problems.
  • Meets deadlines – Displays consistency and success in adhering to deadlines.
  • Multi-tasking – Demonstrates ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Organization – Plans, organizes and schedules in an efficient, productive manner; anticipates contingencies and pays attention to detail.

Preferred Qualifications & Competencies:

  • Prior working experience with extramural grants, including assembling, managing, and reporting.
  • Prior working experience with managing budgets.
  • Demonstrated skill/ability in using Microsoft Excel.

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.