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Director, Grants and Contracts


Director, Grants and Contracts

  • R0040119
  • Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
  • Research
  • The University of Virginia
The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) at the University of Virginia (UVA) seeks a Director of Grants and Contracts to serve in a key leadership role for OSP. Reporting to the Executive Director of OSP, the Director will manage a large team of about 30, including two Assistant/Associate Director-level direct reports. The Director will oversee proposal review and submission; contract negotiation, including industry and clinical trial agreements; issuance of outgoing subawards; and sponsored account creation. In addition, the Director provides guidance to faculty and administrators regarding regulations and compliance, and coordinates with multiple administrative offices to ensure appropriate resources are available to project teams seeking funding. The Director works with the research administration community to develop and improve business processes to better serve the faculty’s research endeavors and meet the ever-changing compliance requirements of sponsors more effectively. A major component of the Director’s responsibility includes liaising with institutional leadership, including schools with delegated signing authority for research administration activities, to collaboratively manage process improvement, training, research development, and other focused initiatives. Because of the Director’s expertise in multiple research administration subject areas, including proposal development, contract negotiation, and interpretation of regulations, the position has signing authority for the University.

UVA has a growing research enterprise with support from senior University leadership for the infrastructure needed to meet the demand. The University is undertaking a research infrastructure review, the results of which will further define the direction of research growth over the coming years. The Director of Grants and Contracts will be expected to collaboratively implement and lead process changes and participate in initiatives as defined by the review group to meet the University’s research goals. Additionally, OSP added 12 new staff positions in the most recent fiscal year and implemented a new Research Administration system, Huron Grants and Agreements, in 2022. The office also played a key role in the 2022 implementation of Workday Financials for the University. The Director of Grants and Contracts will lead an experienced and high-performing team through this transitional period and shape the future of sponsored programs at UVA.

OSP at UVA operates as a hybrid work environment. The Director of Grants and Contracts will have the opportunity to enjoy a flexible arrangement. A regular presence in Charlottesville and on Grounds will be expected.

Office of Sponsored Programs

Reporting to the Vice President for Research, the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) leads research administration activities at the University including proposal review and submission, contract negotiation, sponsored accounting and other post-award financial activities, internal and external reporting, optimization of the University’s Huron Grants and Agreements-based pre-award system and the sponsored programs interfaces with the Workday financial system. University faculty submit nearly 2,000 proposals per year and in FY22 received more than $448M in funding. OSP is comprised of four units: Grants and Contracts, Post-Award, Electronic Research Administration, and Operations. Within Grants and Contracts, pre-award and account create activities are led by the Assistant Director of Pre-Award, and contract negotiation is led by the Associate Director for Contracts. OSP has an overall staff of 65.

OSP’s relationship with the University’s research administration community is pivotal to our collective success. OSP leadership meets routinely with colleagues through scheduled weekly meetings and quarterly community meetings. The weekly meetings are community driven and provide opportunities to share ideas for process improvement and resolving specific challenges. OSP also cultivates educational and training opportunities for the community.

Three schools at the University have delegated proposal submission authority: School of Medicine, School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of Education and Human Development.

Key Responsibilities

  • Serve in senior leadership role as one of five direct reports to the Executive Director of OSP.
  • Direct and coordinate staff, systems, and business processes related to the review and submission of sponsored proposals, negotiation and execution of agreements, creation of sponsored accounts and other related activities.
  • Promote the professional development and work satisfaction of team members, including entry level staff through seasoned and highly competent research administration professionals.
  • Provide expert guidance on research administration matters to faculty, research administrators, external colleagues, and sponsor personnel.
  • Lead efforts to develop and improve business processes, procedures and policies pertaining to research administration.
  • Catalyze partnerships with team members and schools/central leadership for strategic initiatives.
  • Provide, and conduct as appropriate, training opportunities for the team.
  • In partnership with other offices, facilitate proposal preparation and award management for large, complex collaborations and initiatives.
  • Identify and support partnerships with both internal and external organizations (regionally, nationally, and internationally) in seeking funding opportunities.
  • As needed, participate in internal or external audits of grants, contracts, and agreements and associated project activities.
  • Clarify, interpret, and disseminate information related to sponsored programs to colleagues with varying knowledge, experience, and focus.
  • Serve as an OSP representative on relevant committees.
  • Manage personnel actions including hiring, performance appraisal, promotions, transfers, and vacation schedules for direct reports.
  • In addition to the above job responsibilities, other duties may be assigned.

Candidate Profile

Competitive candidates will bring extensive expertise with grant and contract administration and contract and agreement negotiation with a range of sponsors, including Federal agencies, Foundation and Non-profit groups, and large and small For-profit/Industry companies. The candidate will have experience leading and managing a large, multi-dimensional team and building partnerships across a decentralized organizational structure. Strong candidates will have a demonstrated ability to provide strategic leadership in a complex and fast-paced environment.

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • Ten years of sponsored research administration experience, preferably in an academic environment, with some experience in a central office.
  • Experience leading a large team, facilitating professional development, and promoting a culture of inclusiveness, mentorship, collegiality, and support.
  • Ability to lead and motivate team members in a hybrid work environment.
  • Strong background in contract negotiation, including experience with government and industry negotiations.
  • Strong background with research administration, including proposal review, award acceptance and management, and broad knowledge of sponsor terms and federal regulations.
  • Ability to effectively articulate the mission and objectives of OSP and research administration generally.
  • Ability to be a strong advocate for the University’s research mission.
  • Excellent knowledge of sponsors appropriate to the span of research conducted at the University.
  • Excellent knowledge of Uniform Guidance and other federal regulations (including FAR) related to sponsored research.
  • Ability to initiate, cultivate, and strengthen relationships related to research with various stakeholders, including university leadership, faculty, administrators, external collaborators, and sponsors.
  • Substantial experience with agreement negotiation with federal and non-federal sponsors.
  • Strong written and oral communications skills.
  • Strong interpersonal and coordination skills.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree.
  • Certified Research Administrator (CRA) certification.
  • Previous institutional signing authority.
  • Experience negotiating industry clinical trials.
  • Experience with implementing enterprise-level research administration and/or financial systems.
  • Familiarity with medical research.
  • Active with professional organizations such as National Council of University Research Administrators and Society of Research Administrators.

To Apply or Nominate

UVA Executive Search Group, an internal search firm in the Office of the President, is assisting in the recruitment of the Director, Grants and Contracts in the Office of Sponsored Programs.

Confidential inquiries and nominations should be directed to AJ Davidson, Senior Search Consultant, at ajh2d@virginia.edu .

To apply, submit a resume and letter of interest that includes interest in the role and previous experiences working with diverse stakeholders . The search will be carried out with full confidentiality.

Additional information can be found at: http://executivesearch.virginia.edu/searches .

COVID Vaccination Requirement and Guidelines

Please visitthe UVA COVID-19 Job Requirements and Guidelines webpageprior to applying for current information regarding vaccination requirementsandguidelines for employment at UVA.

The University of Virginia, i ncluding the UVA Health System which represents the UVA Medical Center, Schools of Medicine and Nursing, UVA Physician’s Group and the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, are fundamentally committed to the diversity of our faculty and staff. We believe diversity is excellence expressing itself through every person's perspectives and lived experiences. We are equal opportunity and affirmative action employers. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, and family medical or genetic information.


Each agency within the Commonwealth of Virginia is dedicated to recruiting, supporting, and maintaining a competent and diverse work force. Equal Opportunity Employer

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