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Director, Sponsored Programs and Foundation Relations
DATE:   3/9/2015
JOB TITLE:   Director, Sponsored Programs and Foundation Relations
TITLE OF IMMEDIATE SUPERVISOR:   Assoc. VP for Operations and Outreach
DEPARTMENT:   Sponsored Programs and Foundation Relations
SECTOR:   Executive Vice President


The Director of Sponsored Programs and Foundation Relations provides the leadership and oversight of a comprehensive system for obtaining, managing and stewarding external grant support for institutional priorities and faculty research. The office conducts prospect research, establishes and maintains relationships with funders, prepares new proposals and coordinates grants management activities at Niagara University with specific emphasis given to government agencies and foundation/corporate funders. The Director provides overall management in all these areas working collaboratively with senior administrators and faculty to identify funding needs, prepare successful grant applications and manage active grants effectively and efficiently. The Director supervises an Assistant Director in managing and coordinating post-award grant activity from all public and private funding sources. The Director guides the strategic vision of the office to increase grant funding for faculty scholarship and institutional needs and to improve grant development and management skills and capacities across campus.

  • Provide strategy direction to develop and manage an effective program of grant seeking and administration;
  • Promote and improve the grant seeking across campus and lead a customer service culture in the Office of Sponsored Programs to support Niagara University programs and projects;
  • Provide specific leadership in pre-award activities and provide oversight for post-award management of grants;
  • Oversee diverse constituencies across campus, including senior staff and faculty, to ensure effectives grants; development and management as well as timely, accurate and substantive reporting and conformance with funder requirements (fiscal/performance) and institutional policies/practices;
  • Monitor and communicate with faculty and administrators about opportunities in grant development as well as policies and procedures related to mandated compliance issues and best practices in grant management;
  • With Associate VP, lead cultivation efforts to private/public funders and serve as primary contact;
  • Provide faculty and administrators with support related to the articulation and development of fundable research agendas, the search for appropriate funding opportunities, proposal preparation, and budget development;
  • Work with stakeholders across the university to evaluate, formulate, and implement policies and procedures that promote research across the university and to assure responsible growth and administration of sponsored activity;
  • Conduct research and provide technical support to faculty and administrators in the identification and solicitation of potential funding opportunities to meet institutional needs, and the funding requirements of academic and individual faculty members;
  • Develop, write and present proposals, reports and institutional correspondence in support of public and private grants and initiate, prepare, review and submit proposals (including budgets) to external funders;
  • Exercise delegate signature authority in electronic submission systems with approvals;
  • Direct the budgetary, administrative and compliance review of all proposals and coordinate all necessary internal approvals;
  • Monitor administrative set-up and management of new grant to the university;
  • Advise on allowability, allocability and consistency of expenditures on restricted grant accounts;
  • Coordinate assistance to the General Counsel’s and other appropriate offices with all federal compliance areas, as related to specific grant awards such as: Human Subjects, Animal Welfare, Conflict of Interest, Responsible Conduct of Research, etc.;
  • Maintain and In-depth knowledge of and high level of expertise on the administrative and fiscal rules and regulations governing the federal, state and private grants as well as knowledge of funding opportunities related to faculty interests and higher education;
  • Represent university at meetings and conferences, both locally, and nationally, to help increase the university’s profile, network, and success rates in the area of sponsored programs;
  • Train and supervise Assistant Director and oversee all operations;
  • Remain abreast of trends in sponsored programs and foundation relations and funding in order to effectively positional the university’s sponsored research and foundation solicitation;
  • Represent the office across the Niagara University campus and in the broader community as requested and appropriate;
  • Advocate for and develop programs that build a grant orientation among faculty and promote outcomes and activities funded by external funders both on campus and in the community;
  • Regularly review office operations, liaison relationships and campus policies/ procedures and coordinate improvements and updates as dictated by changing and evolving best practices aligned with funder rules and regulations;
  • Direct the professional development of the office including promotion of an image of efficiency, service and courtesy throughout the university community;
  • Manage and attend departmental, college and administrative meetings as required;
  • Chair or act as responsible committee member as required;
  • Communicate effectively with university executive leadership concerning pertinent matters;
  • Act as non-voting Co-Secretary of Research Council and ex-officio IRB member;
  • Perform other duties as requested or as related and/or dictated by responsibilities.


55%   Lead continuum of pre- and post-award activities with primary responsibility in pre-award including research, team management, proposal development, funder cultivation and stewardship, and award acceptance

20%   Oversee, guide and manage Assistant Director in post-award activities including award set-up and management, reporting, compliance, review and monitoring of fiscal and performance aspects of award, as well as, campus training, technical assistance and maintenance of electronic and paper files

15%   Develop and implement cultivation and proposal submission/management projection plans, technical assistance materials, policy and procedure improvements and grant compliance and office operations excellence strategies

10%   Represent the office and university with potential funders, current funders, community partners, on and off campus stakeholders, and with the professional sponsored programs, and foundation relations community

  1. Abilities to develop and execute strategies for leading and overseeing a comprehensive system of obtaining, managing and stewarding external grant support for institutional priorities and faculty research;
  2. Ability to guide the strategic vision of the office to increase grant funding for faculty scholarship and institutional needs and to improve grant development and management skills and capacities across campus;
  3. Ability to lead manage a staff including an Associate Director and student workers;
  4. Knowledge and experience to carry out comprehensive public, corporate and foundation research and cultivation activities;
  5. Knowledge of grants development and management including working knowledge of compliance, fiscal and other critical areas of administration;
  6. Ability to creatively conceptualize programs and to communicate effectively and persuasively, both orally and in writing;
  7. Aptitude and skill to work effectively, developing and sustaining working relationships with public and private funders;
  8. Demonstrate ability to work effectively and comfortably under deadlines, manage multiple projects simultaneously and occasionally work outside normal business hours;
  9. Demonstrable understanding of federal compliance and grant administrative and fiscal management regulations;
  10. Ability to travel and work non-traditional hours as necessary;
  11. Facility with financial concepts and basic budgeting and cost accounting standards;
  12. Sophisticated interpersonal abilities, and value diplomacy, tact and discretion;
  13. Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively in a team environment;
  14. Strong organizational, oral and written communication skills;
  15. Must be articulate, high-energy and goal-oriented;
  16. Must possess a strong work ethic and unquestioned personal integrity;
  17. Ability to read and comprehend various forms, documentation, files and information;
  18. Proficiency to handle various office machines including but not limited to: computer keyboard, computer software applications, calculator, copy machine and fax;
  19. Ability to receive telephone calls, respond to inquiries and effectively communication to a variety of stakeholders.


The functions of the position usually performed sitting, but may require some amount of time standing. Some amount of stooping, kneeling, bending, crouching, lifting, walking, carrying and other movements may be required. Tasks involving working on a computer keyboard, computer software applications, calculator, cutting, labeling, and taping involve extensive wrist and hand movement. All individuals are required to be able to perform these movements without significant risk of injury to themselves or others.

  1. Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree strongly preferred;
  2. A minimum of ten  years of experience in grant development, grant management and/or philanthropy is required, preferably in an academic or foundation setting;
  3. Demonstrated experience managing complex projects with multiple diverse stakeholders;
  4. A valid NYS driver’s license is required that satisfies both university and insurance company underwriting rules and regulations for driving a motor vehicle. Must also be able to operate a vehicle in Canada.

Non Discrimination/Equal Employment Opportunity Statement Policy:

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY is an equal opportunity employer. Consistent with our Catholic mission, Niagara University is committed to providing equal employment and educational opportunities and will not discriminate on the basis of race, age, sex (gender), national origin, religious preference, sexual orientation, predisposing genetic characteristic, status as veteran or disability. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Megan Altman-Cosgrove, Interim Title IX Coordinator, Office for Equity & Inclusion, 716-286-8314, mcosgrove@niagara.edu, www.niagara.edu/oei, Office Location: O’Shea Hall, B27. For further information on notice of non-discrimination, visit http://wdcrobcolp01.ed.gov/CFAPPS/OCR/contactus.cfm for the address and phone number of the office that serves your area, or call 1-800-421-3481.

Niagara University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. A copy of the Student Right to Know Annual Security Report is available at: http://www.niagara.edu/safety
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