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Associate Director of Pre-Award Research Administration

George Mason University
Virginia, United States
Salary Not specified
Posted Date
Oct 25, 2021

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Position Type
Administrative, Academic Affairs, Research Administration
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time
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George Mason University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) invites qualified applications for the newly created position of Associate Director of Pre-Award Research Administration.  The Associate Director will provide leadership for the development and oversight of pre-award research administration in CHSS as part of university efforts to enhance research infrastructure across campus. Reporting to the Associate Dean for Research, the position will be charged with two major areas of responsibility: (1) staffing and leading a pre-award team in the Dean’s Office who will work with researchers, academic units, and Dean’s Office colleagues to build, refine and evaluate college-based pre-award support, and (2) working directly with CHSS researchers in the provision of research administration services, including proposal development, budget development, and submission to sponsors in coordination with the university’s Office of Sponsored Programs.


As a major contributor to the university’s R-1 status, CHSS submits an average of 167 proposals a year to a diversity of sponsors. The College manages about 200 active grants worth approximately $18 million in annual research expenditures.  


George Mason University has a strong institutional commitment to the achievement of excellence and diversity among its faculty and staff, and strongly encourages candidates to apply who will enrich Mason’s academic and culturally inclusive environment.


Responsibilities include:


  • Develop strategies and create resources and systems to meet college priorities for the growth of sponsored research in a diverse and intellectually rich environment.
  • Assess college needs and assist in the development and implementation of university research administration platforms, including the HURON research suite. Coordinate training efforts and the adoption and maintenance of tools and techniques.
  • Work with stakeholders to address issues that arise and seek the involvement of colleagues in the Dean’s Office, central research offices, and local academic units.
  • Prepare reports and strategies to show the breadth and depth of CHSS Research, Scholarship and Creative Works.


Pre-Award Research Administration

  • Develop and coordinate pre-award research administration services to provide a supportive and streamlined environment for CHSS researchers seeking external funding.
  • Manage the day-to-day operations of CHSS pre-award research administration.
  • Provide direct supervision of CHSS pre-award research administrators. Hire, train, supervise, and evaluate staff. Assign duties to staff members, and review work of staff members. Provide coaching and professional development opportunities.


Direct Support to Researchers

  • Provide high quality pre-award research administration support to CHSS researchers as they seek external funding. Areas of responsibilities include proposal preparation, budget development and submission; reporting and data gathering; and training and outreach.
  • Advise researchers and prepare proposals and required forms to ensure they are complete, compliant and follow sponsor and local policies.
  • Advise and/or prepare non-technical components of proposals, such as current and pending support, biographical sketches, facilities and equipment, and others.
  • Coordinate and advise researchers on complex proposals to a variety of agencies.
  • Advise and work with PIs and research staff to create budgets, justifications and forms that accurately reflect effort and resource commitments; are allowable and allocable; and address F&A rates, cost share, and adequacy of proposed funding.
  • Advise and prepare applications for submission through federal and non-federal online submission platforms including HURON research suite’s S2S platform and others. Coordinate proposal submission with the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) for university approval prior to submission.


Reporting and data gathering 

  • Track metrics to monitor efficiency and efficacy, utilize and become proficient in HURON research suite and other college/university grant related systems, generate reports, and determine if operational adjustments and improvements should be made.


Training and Outreach

  • Work closely with, and provide training, outreach and resources to faculty and staff on aspects of proposal/budget development, submission, navigating electronic systems and application requirements, and working within the regulatory and compliance framework for sponsored research.


Other duties as assigned by the Associate Dean for Research.



  • Required Education: Master’s degree in a CHSS or closely allied field to the profession of research administration.
  • Required Experience: Seven to ten years of directly relevant experience in pre-award research administration and sponsored programs, preferably in a university setting.
  • Broad understanding of college, university and sponsored research environment.
  • Supervisory and leadership experience in successfully hiring, managing, evaluating, and encouraging professional development of staff. Ability to work with staff/teams to solve problems and create solutions in daily workload.
  • Knowledge of federal rules and regulations relating to research grant and/or contract activity, with deep understanding of proposal processes for multiple sponsors.
  • Knowledge of university and college policies, procedures, systems and offices related to grant and contract submissions, and pre-award research administration.
  • Demonstrated ability to prioritize work effectively, work on multiple tasks or projects, ensure attention to detail, and maintain composure in high-stress situations.
  • Demonstrated experience with electronic platforms for proposal submission and sponsor interfaces.
  • Excellent communication skills (oral, written, and listening).
  • Experience working with faculty from academic disciplines represented in the College, and a deep understanding of opportunities and scholarly priorities in the humanities and social sciences.
  • Experience in cultivating relationships and working collegially and respectfully with colleagues and funders.
  • Strong organizational and problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to work independently and in teams.
  • Proficient use of computers, requires solid working knowledge of MS Office Suite (Word, Access, Excel, PowerPoint), and familiarity with enterprise level systems such as Banner.
  • Ability to develop and deliver presentations, workshops and other training.
  • Understanding of human resources policies and procedures related to staff supervision and staff development.
  • Creativity and curiosity and interest in working in an academic environment.


Preferred Experience:

  • Experience in implementing S2S platforms, such as HURON or an equivalent system.
  • Certified Research Administrator, Certified Pre-Award Research Administrator, or equivalent.
  • Membership in professional associations related to research administration and sponsored programs.
  • Knowledge of and coordination with post-award to support a high-quality service orientation throughout the sponsored research life cycle.


About the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS)

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) is one of Mason’s largest colleges, offering 19 undergraduate majors, 65 minors, 10 doctoral degrees, 18 master’s, and 13 graduate certificates, to an enrolled student population of 7,390 as of fall 2021. CHSS has about 400 full-time faculty, 100 staff, 12 postdocs, 400 graduate assistants and 200 part-time faculty.  Its faculty and students are highly active in research, with external research funding to the college averaging $15-$20 million annually.  CHSS is at the educational heart of the University, and the liberal arts tradition of broad and integrative learning that our faculty support through courses for the Mason Core as well as for the college’s own majors and minors prepares students exceptionally well for economically successful and civically engaged lives. Our faculty take great pride in being active scholar-teachers, and research is a vital part of the undergraduate and graduate student experience. The College is rooted in intellectual leadership tied to real-world outcomes on regional, national, and global levels. Our faculty are committed partners in innovative programs, service offerings, and strategic alliances that strengthen the public and private sectors of the community. See: for more information.


Special Instructions to Applicants  

For full consideration, applicants must apply for position FA18GZ at; complete and submit the online application; and upload a cover letter, resume, and a list of three professional references with contact information.


George Mason University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, committed to promoting inclusion and equity in its community. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability or veteran status, or any characteristic protected by law.

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