Research Development Officer, Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Tennessee, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Jul 22, 2021
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Research Development Officer, Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Job Identification: 10000262

The Research Development Officer works as part of the Research Development (RD) team in the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR), with a primary focus on mapping Vanderbilt University (VU) research strengths to external federal and foundation opportunities, including assisting faculty and teams of faculty in the preparation and submission of complex grant proposals to federal and private foundation sponsors. Reporting directly to the Director of Research Development, this individual will work closely with the Associate Deans of Research in the various colleges and schools, including the College of Arts and Science, the School of Engineering, and Peabody College, as well as the Vice Provost for Research, on defining strategy for increased successes in external sponsorship.

The Research Development team within the Office of the Vice Provost for Research provides development and support services to VU leadership, faculty, and program staff throughout all VU colleges and schools. The RD team strives to match the interests and priorities of federal and private foundation sponsors with Vanderbilt’s research and programmatic strengths, as well as to advance the University’s academic, research, and institutional goals through lasting partnerships with sponsors. These partnerships help develop solutions to scientific, technical, and social challenges, as well as enrich the excellence of faculty research and teaching. The RD team focuses on federal funding opportunities, as well as non-family private foundations supporting scholarly and scientific research.

The goal of the OVPR is to promote Vanderbilt’s distinctive research culture, which aspires to improve the human condition through path-breaking discovery and innovation. The office develops strategies and provides services to enhance extramural support for research and its application to significant challenges, advance a cohesive and vibrant trans-institutional research agenda, and build strategic partnerships around shared priorities.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Advise Vanderbilt leadership, faculty, and key research centers in the identification and prioritization of funding and partnership opportunities; remain abreast of university-wide priorities and interdisciplinary programs that may be pertinent to sponsors; and maintain knowledge of sponsor directions, long-term strategies, new programs, public events, and program officers.
  • Provide consulting services on strategic proposal development, including high-level conceptualization to match sponsor priorities; effective team organization; and credible administrative, management, education/outreach, and/or data sharing plans to assist investigators in the complex process of developing competitive proposals.
  • Bring together strategic teams of faculty and academic leadership that cross departmental and disciplinary lines to create and pursue opportunities where trans-institutional support is available.
  • Develop a working knowledge of the university's existing relationships with sponsors in order to utilize, leverage, and expand those relationships, as well as identify opportunities to establish ties with new prospects.
  • Organize grant writing workshops/seminars for potential Principal Investigators. 
  • Establish relationships with early career faculty as they start their academic career and provide a calendar of funding opportunities to help them navigate time-sensitive grants and awards.
  • Plan and execute site visits, including the development of effective briefing materials for university leaders, preparation of faculty for their roles in meetings and events, and the creation of communications (such as one-pagers) for distribution to sponsors for relationship building and shaping sponsor initiatives.
  • Work collaboratively with colleagues on the development of proposals, providing technical expertise, mentorship, and informal leadership to those seeking support.
  • Track and maintain grants calendar which summarizes funding opportunities, grant submission dates, historical funding data, and other funding agency requirements.
  • Undertake other projects, as assigned.


  • A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education is necessary.
  • A Master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education is preferred.
  • Five years of relevant experience, or the equivalent, is necessary.
  • At least four years of experience working on a high functioning research development or advancement team is preferred. 
  • Higher education, foundation, or federal funding agency experience is strongly preferred.
  • Exceptional persuasive writing and verbal communication skills are required, as is superior ability to creatively articulate the needs, interests, and accomplishments of Vanderbilt University to a wide range of audiences. The ability to convert scientific and academic writing to lay language is required.
  • A proven track record of soliciting and closing research grants is preferred, as is prior experience in developing center-scale proposals working with large cross-disciplinary faculty groups.
  • Working knowledge of internal processes related to research administration and proposal submission is preferred.
  • Working knowledge of the principles and current trends in federal and foundation funding is preferred.
  • The ability to balance multiple priorities is required.
  • Demonstrate a high level of professionalism, diplomacy, and tact in all work efforts.
  • Possess creative skills that facilitate success in an environment where critical thinking and teamwork are essential.
  • Reflect experience in collaborative project management, independently setting and reaching goals and gathering and organizing information.
  • Project a high degree of intelligence, energy, and imagination, and have an outstanding work ethic and personal enthusiasm for the mission of Vanderbilt University, as well as a genuine commitment to the advancement of science and education.
  • Value the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion as an organizational operating principle.

Please apply online at

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
At Vanderbilt University, we are intentional about and assume accountability for fostering advancement and respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion for all students, faculty, and staff. Our commitment to diversity makes us who we are.  We have created a community that celebrates differences and lets individuality thrive. As part of this commitment, we actively value diversity in our workplace and learning environments as we seek to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of everyone. The diverse voices of Vanderbilt represent an invaluable resource for the University in its efforts to fulfill its mission and strive to be an example of excellence in higher education. 

Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply. 

Please note, all candidates selected for an offer of employment are subject to pre-employment background checks, which may include but are not limited to, based on the role for which they have been selected: criminal history, education verification, social media review, motor vehicle records, credit history, and professional license verification.