Research Administrator

Job ID
Location : Location
US-MA-Woods Hole

Job Summary

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is seeking a Research Administrator to work in the Department of Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering (AOPE). The Research Administrator works closely with Principal Investigators (PIs) and other research and technical staff on all activities associated with the full lifecycle of awards: from proposal development and submission through post-award activities, ensuring compliance and following policies of the agencies and the Institution. Working within a world-renowned organization and supporting its mission, the work is fast-paced and complex, and requires excellent organizational, critical thinking, problem solving, and interpersonal skills. A preference will be given to those who have prior experience working within the scientific research environment, federally funded awards and/or sponsored research.


This is a regular, full-time, exempt position, and is eligible for full benefits. The working title is Research Administrator; the level of Administrative Associate I / Administrative Associate II will be determined based on a candidate's level of experience.

Essential Functions

  • Provides key support for the Department working on the full lifecycle of grants and contracts, from preparing proposals for submission to overseeing post-award management.
  • Pre-Award responsibilities:
    • Advise and assist scientific and technical staff with the development, preparation, and submission of proposals. This includes budget development, preparation of all internal materials, and serving as an interface between the Principal Investigator and Grant & Contract Services (GCS).  Primarily responsible for the non-scientific administrative content (ensuring all content is complete, up to date and compliant with sponsor guidelines).  Responsible for assembling the entire proposal package in accordance with agency guidelines for a handoff to Department and GCS for the final review and submission.
    • Works on Current and Pending used in proposals (uses government-required system (SciENcv).
    • Coordinates the response to post-submission requests from sponsors prior to the issuance of award.
  • Post-Award responsibilities:
    • Works closely with institutional offices (Procurement, Finance, Grants and Contracts, etc.) and the PI to ensure award compliance and deliverables.  
    • Assists in monitoring award budget status and spending for awards; keeps track of possible issues with charges and alerts responsible counterparts; reconciles sponsored project expenses against financial systems, tracks cost share expenses, and forecasts budget balances.
    • Facilitates set-up of subrecipient agreements: monitors execution, invoicing and compliance and reconciles accounts.
  • Other research administration:
    • Conducts administrative work (proposals, budgets, purchasing, tracking, financial transactions) using a number of electronic business systems.
    • May be assigned to assist with AOPE reimbursement approvals (Unanet).
    • May be assigned other tasks as needed.

Education & Experience

Administrative Associate I Level:

  • Bachelor’s degree with 3‐5 years of increasing responsibility, directly related research administration experience or equivalent combination of education and experience.

Administrative Associate II Level:

  • Bachelor’s degree with 4-7 years of increasing responsibility, directly related research administration experience or equivalent combination of education and experience.

Desired Experience:

  • Experience supporting scientists and engineers in the areas of federal and non-federal grants and contract administration. Knowledge and experience working with diverse funding agencies and sponsors.
  • Knowledge of research administration methodologies, practices, and policies, including federal regulations and statutes.
  • Demonstrated critical thinking skills. Ability to read, analyze, interpret, negotiate, and manage complex documents, federal contracts, and agreements.
  • Ability to function as a team member while taking initiative and ownership of assigned duties and projects. Self-motivated and proactive in resolving issues, with ability to multi-task and prioritize workload.
  • Strong customer service focus with the ability to interact and collaborate with diverse internal and external constituents.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with confidential information, exercise discretion, good judgment, and take initiative.
  • Facility with budgeting and reporting using Microsoft Excel.
  • Demonstrated intermediate/advanced level proficiency with the use of Microsoft Office applications (e.g. spreadsheets, databases, Adobe, etc.), ERA systems (Kuali, Streamlyne, InfoEd, etc.), ERP systems (OneSolution, PeopleSoft, SAP, etc.) on PC and/or Macintosh platforms.
  • Ability to cultivate relationships and communicate regularly with research administration officials at collaborating organizations.
  • Demonstrated interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills.
  • Aptitude and interest in learning new systems and databases.
  • Demonstrated ability to produce and maintain accurate data and records.
  • Can work independently as well as in a team environment to provide solutions for improved workflow of tasks related to a large and diverse scientific community.
  • Can lead, train, mentor junior staff in own areas of expertise.

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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