The Sr. Associate VP & Chief Research Operations Officer (CROO)
will oversee the development, coordination, and implementation of
strategies, processes, systems, and training to support the full
life cycle of sponsored program awards, while balancing risk,
transparency, and compliance demands. They will advance the
university’s research integrity and compliance policies and
programs to meet best practices and standards of excellence for
accreditation. They will contribute to a positive research
environment that promotes safety, integrity, and ethical behavior,
and follows the changing regulations of federal funding
The Sr. Associate VP & CROO will evaluate and advise leadership
on new and innovative operating and financial models for potential
strategic research investments, and they will support the
implementation and management of successful initiatives. They will
represent the research and innovation enterprise to advance major
university projects such as the future of financial planning,
research data analytics and sharing hub, and significant
enhancements to electronic research administration, controlled
research computing, and data systems.
The Sr. Associate VP & CROO will have a critical role in
ensuring that various groups and stakeholders are aligned and
working in concert to achieve shared goals and objectives, and in
communicating with campus stakeholders and external partners. This
requires an individual that possesses a deep understanding of
today’s complex academic research and innovation environment,
exceptional organizational, problem solving and people skills, and
great flexibility and patience.
The Sr. Associate VP and CROO reports directly to the Vice
President for Research (VPR) and will manage and supervise teams
responsible for sponsored programs, research integrity and
compliance, research systems, operations, and finance. They will be
a member of the Office’s senior leadership team responsible for
promoting transparent communication across diverse centers,
departments and colleges.
This position will lead across Research Administration and
Enterprise-wide Operations supporting compliance and research
integrity, diverse programs, regulatory affairs, new operations,
and varied business arms that drive grant-based activities. This
requires building effective relationships with industry and
research partners, along with an understanding of IT related
compliance and strategies.
Key Selection Criteria
- Advises and guides university leadership on effective,
efficient, and transparent administrative, operations, and
financial practices to support a leading academic research and
- Leads an innovative, adaptable, and responsible
customer-service oriented research administration and operations
team that supports CMU’s large, complex, and rapidly evolving
research and innovation enterprise .
- Develops and delivers data-driven information and research to
support decision making in alignment with strategic goals and
communicates effectively with stakeholders.
- Remains at the cutting edge of research trends and best
practices for a large and complex portfolio of federal, industry
and non-profit sponsors, and ensures these practices are integrated
into strategic plans and day-to-day operations.
- Partners across CMU’s decentralized environment to optimize and
harmonize enterprise-wide research administration and operations
functions to lower administrative burden and improve timely
outcomes for CMU researchers, staff, and external sponsors.
- Ensures CMU’s policies and enterprise-wide processes enable
effective and efficient submission, negotiation, and management of
complex sponsored program awards and contract vehicles, while
balancing risk and compliance demands.
- Ensures research integrity and compliance strategy, programs,
policies, and processes keep pace with the rapidly changing
regulatory landscape while simultaneously delivering streamlined
and effective support for CMU researchers and staff.
- Evaluates and advises leadership on business and financial
feasibility of strategic research and innovation initiatives,
including major research program investments, facilities and
instruments, service agreements, technology transfer and startup
partnerships and alliances.
- Partners in the selection, implementation, and management of
systems and processes that improve the accuracy and transparency of
research financial forecasting, project-level budget development
and projections, and non-financial commitments.
- Partners on innovative and sustainable operations and cost
models for self-supporting research units, and shared use
experimental and computational research facilities.
- Identifies and reports on benchmarked key performance
indicators (KPIs) and metrics for the research and innovation
enterprise, including campus-wide research expenditures,
operational and financial effectiveness measures.
- Promotes and manages strategic relationships with internal and
external partners and resolves conflicts as they arise.
Flexibility, excellence, and passion are vital qualities within
Carnegie Mellon University. Inclusion, collaboration and cultural
sensitivity are valued competencies at CMU. Therefore, we are in
search of a team member who is able to effectively interact with a
varied population of internal and external partners at a high level
of integrity. We are looking for someone who shares our values and
who will support the mission of the university through their
Required Qualifications and Skills
- Minimum 10 years of relevant work experience within a
research-intensive organization of similar size and complexity,
with at least 5 years in a senior leadership role in research
administration, business, and operations.
- Ph.D. or other terminal degree in discipline of relevance to
Carnegie Mellon’s research and innovation portfolio.
- Experience establishing and maintaining systems, processes, and
productive research policies to effectively manage a complex
federal, industry, and non-profit sponsored award portfolio in a
- Exceptional leadership, interpersonal, and communication
skills, and the ability to effectively interact and build trusted
relationships, establish priorities, and organize resources.
- Knowledge of analyzing, vetting, and making data-driven
recommendations for strategic investments, including new
infrastructure, capital, and sustainable operations models.
- Strong financial acumen with broader business skills in
financial budgeting and literacy.
- Ability to bring structure and transparency to complex
initiatives, and to build high-performing, collaborative matrixed
- Strong analytical and decision-making skills, persuasive with
the ability to lead change, presentation and people understanding
- Commitment to support diversity, equity and inclusion
- Experience working in higher education environment and/or a
non-profit overseeing a diverse portfolio of programs from diverse
federal and industry sponsors.
- Skill at managing an organization and its people during periods
of growth and change.
- Success in administrative leadership roles, and as intellectual
leader among faculty and staff.
- Leadership and vision in operational design, and a balance of
visionary thinking and practical perspective.
- Knowledge and ability to support controlled and classified
research awards and infrastructure.
- Possess empathy, compassion, integrity, and an ethical
- Skill as supervisor and coach, able to motivate or inspire both
junior and senior staff.
- Demonstrate patience, reliability, composure, and stability
- Dedication to the educational mission of Carnegie Mellon
Additional Information and Requirements
- Successful background check
- Work Posture: With the importance of stakeholder
relationships, the role is primarily in person on campus with some
- Sponsorship: Applicants for this position must be
currently legally authorized to work for CMU in the United States.
CMU will not sponsor or take over sponsorship of an employment visa
for this opportunity.
- Security Clearance: A security clearance or ability to
obtain a security clearance is preferred.
- Travel Requirements: This position may require travel
both domestically and internationally.
Joining the CMU team opens the door to an array of exceptional
benefits, available to all full-time Carnegie Mellon University
employees. Experience the full spectrum of advantages, from
comprehensive medical, prescription, dental, and vision insurance
to enticing retirement savings programs. Unlock your potential with
tuition benefits, and take well-deserved breaks with generous paid
time off and holidays. Rest easy knowing you're covered by life and
accidental death and disability insurance. For a comprehensive
overview of the benefits awaiting you, explore: https://www.cmu.edu/jobs/benefits-at-a-glance
At Carnegie Mellon, we value the whole package when extending
offers of employment. Beyond just credentials, we consider the role
& responsibilities, your invaluable work experience, and the
knowledge gained through education and training. We acknowledge and
appreciate your unique key skills and the diverse perspectives you
bring. Our commitment to fostering an inclusive work environment
means we also account for geographic differentials. Your journey
with us is about more than just a job; it’s about finding the
perfect fit for your professional growth and personal
Nomination and Application Procedures:
Interested candidates are invited to apply by January 31,
with a cover letter, resume, and through the CMU Careers
website. Applications received after that date may be considered
until the position is filled.
Carnegie Mellon University is committed to diversity and inclusion,
and we welcome applications from individuals of all backgrounds and
has been retained to manage the search. If you
have any inquiries or nominations, please send an email to:
Kathryn Ullrich, Managing Partner
Please use ‘”CMU CROO” as the subject line when you contact
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