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Director Pre-Award Services (Potential Hybrid/Remote Opportunity)

University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, Massachusetts
Salary commensurate with experience
Posted Date
Jul 21, 2022

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Position Type
Employment Type
Full Time
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University of Massachusetts Amherst
Director Pre-Award Services (Potential Hybrid/Remote Opportunity)


Job Summary

The Director of Pre-Award Services has primary duties of directing the overall management and oversight of the Office of Sponsored Research, which is responsible for the proper management of the university's pre-award activities. The incumbent is responsible for collaborating with campus administrators and academic units to assist with recommending, developing and implementing policies and procedures to facilitate and ensure compliance with sponsoring agencies and university regulations. As the Institutional Authorized Representative, the incumbent is responsible for endorsing and submitting proposals; and as related to pre-award activities, will act as the certifying official for assurances, providing representation and expanded authority as required by Federal and State statues, as well as executing sponsored activities documents to bind the Institution contractually. In addition to participating in University committees such as Research Council, this position serves as the point of contact and liaison for sponsored agency officials, auditors, University administrators, and faculty and staff for pre-award administration activities. In collaboration with the Director of Post-Award, the Director is responsible for dispersing information (verbal, written and electronic), interpreting regulations, developing and implementing procedures, resolving problems, articulating funding activity projections, participating in long and short-range planning, and publishing data and reports relative to pre-award  research activities. This position reports directly to the Associate Vice Chancellor of Research & Engagement.


Essential Functions

  • As institutional authorized representative, responsible for the authorization and submission of proposals to external funding sources. Responsible for all matters related to the submission of proposals and the oversight of the fiscal review, which includes reasonableness and accuracy of budgets, institutional commitments (financial and legal during and after period, pace, academic credits, etc.), securing appropriate internal reviews and approvals for regulatory compliance, documenting  collaborative arrangements, and executing assurances and certifications. Collaborate with Post-Award in reviewing terms and conditions of Requests for Proposals, Broad Agency Announcements, Program Announcements, etc., ensuring compliance with University policies and procedures as well with Commonwealth of Massachusetts law.
  • Participate in strategic unit planning and in campus policy development and implementation for pre-award sponsored activities.
  • Develop contacts in federal, state and private sector agencies and participate in professional activities to keep informed on changes and updates on sponsor requirements, funding trends and legislation. Monitor the grant proposal guidelines for key and significant external sponsors to maintain current knowledge of grant and contract requirements. Analyze and interpret federal regulations as related to pre-award activities; implement changes to keep the Institution in compliance; and be a liaison for faculty, staff, and administration. Collaborate with Vice Chancellors, campus administrative offices and academic units to design policies procedures, which facilitate service and compliance.
  • In collaboration with the Director of Post-Award formulate and implement sponsored activities administrative policies and procedures to ensure compliance with Federal, State, and Sponsor rules, regulations and law. Establish and revise guidelines and procedures for the efficient preparation, internal processing, submission and monitoring of applications for sponsored activities.
  • In collaboration with other units of the VCRE (e.g., Research Development, Office of Post-Award, Research Compliance) develop and promote educational  activities through the presentation of workshops, seminars, meetings and electronic resources to assist the  campus community in successfully receiving outside funding sources for their research, educational and other sponsored activities.
  • Serve as resource and liaison with faculty, staff and sponsors regarding administrative matters. Maintain and promote the liaison relationships with offices of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement, Controller's office, Procurement, Property, General Counsel, Human Resources, Budget Office, Deans, Department Chairs/Heads and other administrative offices.


Other Functions

  • Performs other duties as assigned.


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Master’s Degree in Business, Public Administration or related field (including reading and writing intensive fields such as English) and seven (7) years of progressively responsible experience in research administration or in grant and contract administration. OR, a Bachelor’s Degree in the same fields and ten (10) years of the required experience.
  • Three (3) years of supervisory experience.
  • Extensive knowledge of federal rules, regulations, and policies governing administration of grants and contracts.
  • Knowledge and experience with electronic research administration information technology systems with respect to grants management such as NIH Commons,, and
  • Must have demonstrated independent judgment and analysis skills in day-to-day implementation and administration of sponsored programs. Ability to define problems, develop solutions, implement procedures, meet frequent deadlines, and simultaneously coordinate and manage multiple responsibilities.
  • Certified Research Administrator certification within 1 ½ years of hire date required.
  • Must be detail oriented, able to work well under pressure, and reconcile differing points of view in a diplomatic and confidential manner.


Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Three (3) years of supervisory experience in higher education sponsored program.
  • Five (5) years of experience reviewing, approving or managing proposals for external sponsorship and/or managing fiscal issues related to sponsored program awards.
  • Excellent interpersonal, oral and written communication skills; analytical abilities; and demonstrated negotiation skills. Ability to interact effectively with faculty members, administrators, business managers, and sponsoring representatives.


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

  • Typical office environment.


Work Schedule

  • Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm (37.5 hours/week).
  • Required to work some nights & weekends.
  • This position has the opportunity for a hybrid work schedule, which is defined by the University as an arrangement where an employee’s work is regularly performed at a location other than the campus workspace for a portion of the week. As this position falls within the Professional Staff Union, it is subject to the terms and conditions of the Professional Staff Union collective bargaining agreement.


Salary Information

Level 31

PSU Salary Ranges


Special Instructions to Applicants

Along with the application, please submit a resume, cover letter, and contact information for three (3) professional references. The search will remain open until filled.


UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

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