Manager, PreAward Services

Job ID
Location : Location
US-MA-Woods Hole

Job Summary

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is located in Woods Hole, MA on beautiful Cape Cod, walking distance to stunning beaches, bike paths, lighthouses, and island ferries.  The Oceanographic is the world's leading, independent non-profit organization dedicated to ocean research, exploration, and education; it is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the ocean and its connection with the Earth system through a sustained commitment to excellence in science, engineering, and education, and to the application of this knowledge to problems facing society.  Make a difference for the ocean and the planet by working at the Oceanographic!


The Manager, PreAward Services is an integral member and leader of the Grant & Contracts Services (GCS) team and works collaboratively with Principal Investigators (PIs), Department Administrators (DAs), campus administrative offices, and funding agencies to support the WHOI research community in identification of funding opportunities, proposal development, review and submission, and award negotiation and acceptance. This is a regular, full-time, exempt position and is eligible for benefits. This position will have the option to be partially remote, or fully on campus.

Essential Functions

  • Assist in developing and implementing short- and long-term grants administration strategies intended to improve quality and service; works closely with the Director and Institution staff to ensure these goals are achieved.
  • Assist project team with Streamlyne research administration software. Recommend modifications and improvements during final stages of development and part of the training team on the system prior to launch. Will be a key project team member post implementation for content maintenance, updates, and training.  Work closely with the IS business support team on system updates.
  • Supervise the PreAward team within GCS. Responsible for goal setting, monitoring and mentoring staff.
  • Manage the PreAward sponsored research activities by working closely with Institution staff involved, including Department Administrators, Finance/Accounting, General Counsel and others, to ensure effective, accurate and efficient procedures for submission of proposals and acceptance of awards.
  • Review proposals to ensure compliance with agency and institutional guidelines, regulations, and policies. Provides faculty and administrators with application preparation information, analyzing possible solutions to problems that arise using standard procedures.
  • Provide review and approval of all proposal submissions prepared by departmental and unit grants personnel and routed through ERA and funding agency systems; communicate issues to Department/PI and work to resolve them prior to submission.
  • Reviews and provides institutional endorsement for all proposals/applications or Just-in Time (JIT) requests, including revised budgets, regulatory protocol approvals, Other Support documentation, any other documentation or post-submission materials requested by the agency prior to an award; Reviews work of team members as needed.
  • Confirms appropriate evidence of approvals that commitments (cost sharing, matching, space) made in proposals can be honored, to help protect the institution from the inability to meet proposal requirements and to protect the University and PI from potential claims that might arise resulting from work proposed or completed under a sponsored project.
  • In collaboration with Director, lead the development and delivery of trainings, workshops and other activities that assist the WHOI research community to improve skills in the areas of proposal preparation, contract/grant acquisition, and overall administration of sponsored programs.
  • Negotiate and endorse contracts and agreements from a variety of sponsors, including federal and state agencies, private foundations, and industry sponsors.
  • Lead the review, interpretation, and negotiation of contract and grant terms to determine compliance and/or conflict with federal regulations and procedures.
  • In-depth knowledge of and coordination with postaward to support high-quality service throughout the sponsored research life cycle.
  • Provide continuous guidance to investigators throughout the proposal and award negotiation/acceptance.
  • Initiate and maintain contact with agency representatives through professional communication and prompt responses to issues. Work with GCS and department colleagues to respond to sponsor’s request for additional information. 
  • Work with Director on strategic planning related to the management of the proposal development As identified, improve operating procedures, activities and policies to enhance the pre-award process.
  • Provide expertise on all relevant federal rules, guidelines, policies and regulations relevant to preaward activities and lead development, in partnership with GCS, Finance, and legal colleagues, of internal policies, guidelines, business processes, procedures and training to support compliance with these federal rules, guidelines, policies and regulations, i.e., Uniform Guidance, FAR clauses, NSF PAPPG, etc.


Non-Essential Functions:

  • Perform related duties as required. 

Education & Experience


  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • 5+ years of directly related preaward department or central research administration/grants management experience in a research-intensive setting.
  • 5+ years experience reading, analyzing, interpreting, reviewing, and negotiating complex proposals and awards including Federal Awards (grants, contracts, cooperative agreements) including diverse funding agencies and sponsors such as NSF, ONR, and DoD.
  • Supervisory experience required.


  • Use Microsoft Office suite and Adobe PDF;
  • Use Electronic Research Administration (ERA) systems (Streamlyne, Kuali, Coeus, etc.);
  • Work independently, proactively and flexibly;
  • Utilize spreadsheet and database software to review and analyze most complex proposal and award budgets;
  • Create and follow written and verbal instructions;
  • Manage multiple priorities and prioritize competing priorities in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment;
  • Effectively balance customer service with regulatory compliance and ensure WHOI remains compliant with all terms and conditions of proposals and awards;
  • Communicate and work effectively and collegially in a team environment;
  • Communicate effectively and efficiently in writing and verbally;
  • Work with both detailed and broad guidance, seeking out answers using available resources and synthesize/ communicate information to team and customers;
  • Analyze most complex and/or ambiguous situations, identify workable solutions and the potential outcomes, and demonstrate to the team how to implement the final solution;
  • Be proactive and flexible and demonstrate good judgment and decision-making skills;
  • Strong organizational, time management and interpersonal skills;
  • Demonstrated commitment to excellence in customer service and performance with the ability to interact and collaborate with diverse internal and external constituents.
  • Strong interpersonal, communication and organization skills essential, along with demonstrated leadership, teamwork and personal initiative. Computer proficiency required.


Certified Research Administrator (CRA) Or similar. 

Special Requirements

WHOI has a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy in effect, where you must register your full vaccination status [vaccination plus booster] in order to begin your employment. The registration process is confidential and entails submitting your official vaccination records, or requesting to engage in the interactive exemption process for either a medical or religious reason. 

Physical Requirements

Physical tasks include mostly sedentary with occasional prolonged standing/walking, use of hands for basic grasping and manipulation, and repetitive motion. Other occupational requirements include talking, working around others, and with others. Physical duties are subject to change.


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