Job Listings

Senior Grants & Contracts Specialist - Awards Management Team

Harvard University
Job Location:
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Sponsored Programs, Grants, and Contracts
Financial Administration


Job Summary
Facilitate complex pre-award activities, serve as a subject matter expert, and provide analysis, reporting and compliance applications.

Job-Specific Responsibilities
The Senior Grants and Contracts Specialist (SGCS) is responsible for managing compliance and administrative matters relating to sponsor-funded grants, contracts, and subawards. These responsibilities span all aspects of the grants/contracts award lifecycle and all elements of pre-award planning and evaluation of business processes. The SGCS participates in University-wide policies and procedures committees and provides leadership and expertise in research administration and ensuring compliance with relevant regulations.

This full-time position in the Office for Sponsored Programs (OSP) is responsible for the management of complex sponsored research awards and reports to the Manager, Grants and Contracts Operations. The SGCS collaborates with OSP colleagues, school and department-based research administrators, principal investigators, project administrators, and other key administrative stakeholders. They identify and resolve issues that arise throughout the lifecycle of an award.

The SGCS works as a member of a cohesive OSP pre- and post-award team, providing well-rounded support to the Harvard University research community. They participate in presentations, outreach, and trainings in schools and departments as necessary. The SGCS serves as primary customer service contact to clients (Principal Investigators, department administrators, sponsors, etc.) on a wide range of pre-award and other issues.

The SGCS participates in strategic planning, special projects, and policy/business development.

Responsibilities include:
  • Review Award Notices and ensure award compliance with all internal and external policies and procedures.
  • Coordinate with Grants and Contracts Officers and assist with negotiations and acceptance of terms and conditions of awards; Coordinate subawards and manage the development of subawards, MOUs, and related agreements.
  • Initiate communication and collaboration with Department Administrators/Principal Investigators on award terms and conditions
  • Collaborate with Authorized Organizational Representatives when institutional sign-off is required
  • Initiate and communicate with sponsors on prior approvals needed on awards, such as RPPR/Continuations, Supplement Requests, JIT, Change of Scope, No-Cost Extension Rebudgeting, , Revised Budgets, Carryforward requests, PI transfers, Early Termination, Effort reduction on Key Personnel, , etc.
  • Coordinate internal processes, such as subawards at no additional costs, new account requests, at-risk requests, and pre-award requests
  • Conduct meetings with school and department-based research administrators regarding key administrative and compliance requirements for a given portfolio
  • Consult with Research Finance staff on matters of prior approvals and internal business processes with Sponsor's communication, Carryforward requests, and consultation on different matters of sponsored related requests
  • Ensure agency compliance with all federal and grant-related requirements
  • Assess and propose solutions for advanced compliance related matters
  • Ensure proper close-out of awards (Annual and Final Invention Reports, Final RPPR, Interim Reports, etc.)
  • Provide and maintain accurate records in our system of record (GMAS)
  • Provide great customer service
  • Other duties as assigned
Typical Core Duties
  • May act as signatory for the University, to endorse, negotiate, and/or accept grants and awards
  • May function as a subject matter expert and/or project lead
  • Oversee such pre-award areas as: funding, searches, proposal submission, document tracking and reporting
  • Evaluate pre-award research administration procedures, recommend improvements
  • Provide technical advice for and problem resolution for a school/unit financial community on research administration
  • Act as the department representative at the School/University level
  • Provide staff mentoring and training
  • Ensure financial compliance with University policies and procedures and applicable federal and sponsor rules and regulations
Basic Qualifications
  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience required
  • Minimum of 7 years' relevant work experience
  • Advanced knowledge of sponsored research regulations
Additional Qualifications and Skills
  • Detail-oriented and analytical problem-solver
  • Excellent organizational and electronic document management skills
  • Ability to prioritize and manage multiple deadlines
  • Excellent people relationship management skills
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word and Excel with strong technology experience, including the ability to navigate grant websites, databases, and funder portals
  • Knowledge of federal and non-federal sponsor requirements and procedures (Uniform Guidance, NIH, NSF, DOD, etc.)
  • Knowledge of Harvard's policies and procedures (Chart of accounts, Provostial Approval List, cost sharing, awards management, effort reporting, etc.)
  • Knowledge of Harvard's Sponsored systems (GMAS, HART, ecrt, etc.)
  • Ability to work independently
  • Positive attitude and great customer service skills
  • Knowledge of sponsors' grants systems (,, eRA Commons, ASSIST, Foundations, etc.)
Working Conditions

In light of the global pandemic, all interview and onboarding activity for HUIT will be conducted via telephone & Zoom video conferencing. If you accept our offer and join the team, your position will be based on our campus in Cambridge, MA. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you will begin your work remotely. The remote nature of this job is only temporary, and all remote work must be performed within the United States. We currently expect that you will work remotely until July 31, 2021. We will, of course, keep you updated as we know more. Once the University and your supervisor determine that it is appropriate, we look forward to welcoming you to campus. At that time, you will be required to move your work location to the Cambridge campus as a condition of continued employment.

Harvard continues to place the highest priority on the health, safety and wellbeing of its faculty, staff and students, as well as the wider community. Information and details can be found via Harvard's Coronavirus Workplace Policies website:

Additional Information

Please provide a cover letter with your application and upload as one document.

Please note:

  • Harvard University requires pre-employment reference and background screening. 
  • We are unable to provide work authorization and/or visa sponsorship. 
  • This position has a 90-day orientation and review period. 

More about FAD:
FAD is committed to an engaging and diverse culture, strong values, and client partnership. The department is led by the Vice President for Finance (VPF), is comprised of eight reporting units:

  • Office of the Controller 
  • Office of Finance and Administration 
  • Office of Financial Strategy and Planning 
  • Office for Sponsored Programs 
  • Office of Treasury Management 
  • Risk Management and Audit Services 
  • Strategic Procurement 
  • Capital Planning and Project Services 

For more about the Financial Administration Department and its 8 reporting units, see:

Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging:
Harvard's commitment to Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging is rooted in our belief in drawing on the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity. Our community strives to uphold these beliefs by honoring the rights, differences, and dignity of others and embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values. Harvard aims to foster a campus culture where everyone can thrive, a key to which is ensuring that we each experience a sense of inclusion and belonging.

Total Rewards:
Harvard's Total Rewards Program is designed to attract, retain, and reward the performance of talented employees. As a Harvard staff member, you enjoy many perks that come with working for one of the top employers in Massachusetts, including:

Flexible work environment: FAD supports flexible work arrangements where business needs allow.

Time off: 3 - 4 weeks paid vacation, paid holiday break, 12 paid sick days, 12.5 paid holidays, and 3 paid personal days per year.

Medical/Dental/Vision: We offer a variety of excellent medical plans, dental & vision plans.

Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with full vesting after 3 years of service.

Tuition Assistance Program (TAP): $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and discounted options through participating Harvard grad schools.

Harvard University Employees Credit Union: Our employees credit union provides a complete line of services for all your financial needs.

Transportation: 50% discounted MBTA pass as well as additional options to assist employees in their daily commute.

Wellness options: A variety of programs and classes at little or no cost, including stress management, massages, nutrition, meditation, and complimentary health services.

Access to athletic facilities, libraries, campus events and many discounts throughout metro Boston.

Learn more

Harvard University IT plays an important role in supporting Harvard's commitment by seeking to create, procure and deploy technologies that are accessible to all, including and especially those who live with disability. Harvard welcomes individuals with disabilities to apply for positions and participate in its programs and activities. If you would like to request accommodations or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact our University Disability Resources Department. 

Job Function

USA - MA - Cambridge

Job Code
F1558P Research Admin IV Pr


Office for Sponsored Programs

Time Status

Salary Grade

00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Pre-Employment Screening
Education, Identity

EEO Statement
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.
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