The Third Coast CFAR invites applications for a new Research Administrator (RA) position. Competitive candidates will have at least three years of directly related experience in research administration and a demonstrated track record of collaboration on cross-functional teams. This primary focus of this position will be to work with senior leadership in creating research budgets and the associated administrative work to establish subcontracts and pilot awards, monitor expenses, and organize and submit progress reports. Contact Justin Schmandt, CFAR associate director, with questions about this position.

Search for Job ID 39314 on Northwestern’s career website to see the full position description.

Job Summary

Provides administrative leadership and intermediate problem-solving in support of the unit’s research programs and mission. May provide sole support to a small to mid-sized unit, or support a portion of activities in a larger unit.  May provide lifecycle pre- & post-award research administration ensuring the fulfillment of all grant &/or contract & compliance requirements.  Manages overall day-to-day research administration activities & may research & identify funding opportunities & faculty &/or PIs with associated research competencies & interests.  Ensures that all activities are completed in compliance with associated local, state, federal & institutional rules & regulations.

Specific Responsibilities


  • Completes post-award administration of research grants &/or contracts.
  • Reviews account establishment.
  • Interprets awards documents.
  • Reviews and reports expenditures.
  • Verifies processing of cost share transactions.
  • Reviews award budget status with PIs.
  • Provides data needed for interim and final financial and technical progress reports.
  • Facilitates account close out activities, coordinating with ASRSP as needed. 
  • Establishes procedures at the small to mid-sized unit level related to post-award administration.
  • Serves as liaison between department & OSR, ASRSP, IACUC, IRB, internal audit, funding & regulatory agencies, subcontractors, collaborators, institutes, centers, etc.
  • Participates in efforts to improve research administration including serving on university committees related to research administration.


  • Oversees unit’s entire sponsored project portfolio. 
  • Reviews transactions and resolve issues that requires a more complex level of financial understanding such as cost-sharing &/or effort reporting knowledge. 
  • Provides information to senior management that is used for department budgeting purposes.


  • Manages pre-award administration of grants &/or contracts.
  • Reviews solicitation and proactively resolves any issues/questions within the solicitation with OSR and/or sponsor. 
  • Manage representation of sub-recipients, cost sharing and administrative costs on a proposal. 
  • Prepares &/or reviews complete budget.


  • Ensures compliance with all appropriate NU policies & practices; local, state, federal, agency & sponsor rules, regulations & requirements regarding grant &/or contract administration.
  • Recommends changes to improve programs, policy &/or practice. 
  • Resolves compliance problems & issues working in conjunction with faculty. 
  • Resolves compliance problems & issues involving research safety, animal subjects and human subjects. 
  • Alerts supervisor to potential higher risk compliance issues. 

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.
  • 3 years research administration or other relevant experience required.

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.