• Palo Alto, CA, USA
  • DOE
  • Full Time

Associate Director of Research Administration (ADM1814.19)

The Palo Alto Veterans Institute for Research (PAVIR) is seeking an Associate Director of Research Administration to manage pre-award and post-award administration, overseeing nine staff members who comprise the team. Reporting to the Director of Sponsored Research, the Associate Director partners closely with the Director of Industry Sponsored Research to fulfill PAVIR's mission of advancing Veteran and public health through innovative research.

This is a new leadership position at PAVIR and the successful candidate will have the opportunity to create and define it; the role will evolve as the Director of Sponsored Research, Associate Director, and Contract and Grant (C&G) team structure it. The Associate Director will need to perform the duties of pre-award and post-award team members to best understand how to guide the C&G Team and will be responsible for an independent portfolio of proposal submissions and accounts management.

The Associate Director is a collaborative leader who takes initiative for staff supervision, customer satisfaction, and process improvement; this position ensures that job functions are performed in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations and in fulfillment of PAVIR's standards of excellence, utilizing continuous improvements in processes, policies, and procedures to optimize productivity and service to our customers. 

This is a regular, full time (40 hrs/wk), exempt position. The hiring manager encourages job applicants to submit a cover letter when they apply for this position.

Why Join Our Team? PAVIR, located on the premises of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, is a mid-size nonprofit foundation, closely connected with the VA and Stanford University. We are a nimble organization, offering ongoing training, opportunities for growth, generous benefits, great work-life balance, as well as a friendly, close-knit, and supportive environment. At PAVIR we work with more than 160 uniquely talented medical scientists across a broad spectrum of research areas. We recruit talented employees who believe in making a difference in the lives of others through innovative research.


  • Medical Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vacation
  • Sick Pay
  • Holidays
  • Life Insurance - paid by PAVIR
  • Long-term Disability Insurance - paid by PAVIR
  • Short-term Disability Insurance - paid by PAVIR
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • 401(k) Retirement Plan with Company Match and Profit Share
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Commuter Benefit

As a condition of employment, all PAVIR employees are required to have an approved appointment with VAPAHCS and complete a background check.


Manage, train, motivate, and supervise Pre-Award and Post-Award C&G staff, including C&G workload and priorities, assuring strong productivity and quality of work.  Activities include, but are not limited, to:

  • Supervise the Pre-Award Manager and Post-Award Manager;
  • Direct staff and provide leadership to achieve goals and fulfill mission of the organization; Recruit, retain and reward Pre-Award and Post-Award staff; Provide mentoring, coaching, professional enrichment and conduct annual performance evaluations, including holding staff accountable and intervening to correct performance issues; Recommend annual and as needed salary adjustments;
  • Provide daily oversight to staff, including all aspects of supervision as well as workload assessment and assignment;
  • Ensure team members provide excellent customer service; Manage and resolve issues and complaints related to customer service;
  • Ensure implementation of new processes and procedures;
  • Resolve a wide breadth of issues related to research administration policies and processes;
  • Ensure quality and standards of excellence in service delivery for pre-award and post-award teams;

Oversee and ensure compliance on all Pre-Award and Post-Award C&G activities, including:

  • Ensure timely, compliant, and accurate submission of proposals, Just-in-Time information, and any responses to sponsor queries;
  • Ensure timely, compliant, and accurate submission of annual and close-out reports;
  • Ensure adherence to applicable federal, state, and local regulations and policies.

Identify opportunities, problems and capabilities related to PAVIR's C&G infrastructure and systems to contribute to and maintain PAVIR's culture of process improvement:

  • Initiate, manage and contribute to teams and workgroups to develop and implement solutions for improved C&G operating procedures, improved processing methods, communication, information and work flow, operational efficiency, and goal deployment;
  • Develop and maintain reports on C&G operations to measure departmental KPIs, such as proposal submission, success/probability rates, account setup/closeout, account deficit/surplus, etc.;
  • Perform quality assurance on database entries so that standard reports contain reliable data;
  • Work with the Director of Sponsored Research to ensure close and dynamic collaboration and to develop and deliver appropriate and needed staff training;
  • Responsible for the effectiveness of the distributed PAVIR workplace; determine standards and practices that provide a positive framework for a workplace that has both on-site and remote staff; ensure that technology supports the effective and timely collaboration and minimizes the impact of distances;
  • Determine the impact of working remotely, managing performance and building a culture that is aligned with the team's core competencies;
  • Motivate and hold C&G staff responsible for contributing and maintaining SOPs for all C&G activities;
  • Maintain up-to-date information on proposal / award disposition;
  • Develop and maintain ad hoc reports as requested.

Supervise and facilitate the following types of communication:

  • Between pre-award and post-award C&G staff at all stages of research project from inception to closeout;
  • With Human Resources and Finance/Accounting staff;
  • With VA Research Administration and Stanford University colleagues (e.g. PI eligibility, grantee organization status, etc.);
  • Between PIs and respective sponsors.



Required:  Bachelor's degree.

Desired:  Master's degree.

License / Certification: Certified Research Administrator certification is a plus.



  • Eight to ten years of sponsored research administration experience, encompassing a complex and diverse portfolio of grants/sponsored programs with proven results as a manager;
  • Relevant and current knowledge of all functional areas of sponsored research administration, including federal and sponsor regulations and requirements, with specific knowledge of NIH and DoD grants management processes and policies;
  • Demonstrated experience motivating and supervising a diverse staff, including mentoring, professional enrichment and performance evaluations.

Knowledge / Skills / Abilities:

  • Personal Talents: Leadership; cooperation; and initiative. Demonstrated supervisory talents and skills, including conflict resolution.
  • Technical Skills: Thorough knowledge of federal, state, and local agency policies and procedures in the administration of sponsored research; e.g. Uniform Guidance, CFRs, VA Handbook, DODGAR, Federal Acquisition Regulation, Cost Accounting Standards, academic environment. Demonstrated hands-on experience using NIH ASSIST, NIH eRA Commons,, Fastlane, eBRAP.
  • Planning and Organization: Demonstrated track record of setting and meeting goals as well as self-prioritizing in a deadline-driven environment. Strong project leadership, process improvement, decision making, organization, planning, and implementation skills.  Strong process orientation with an ability to set priorities, analyze and resolve problems, and make decisions in a timely fashion. Ability to balance attention to detail with big picture thinking; work in partnership with scientists in a customer-oriented environment; effectively balance customer service with regulatory compliance
  • Organization / People Management: Demonstrated experience managing, motivating, developing, evaluating, and retaining staff. Ability to lead, influence and motivate in teams, including cross-functional workgroups and teams.  Ability to attract, manage, develop, evaluate and retain staff; ability to lead influence, and motivate individuals and teams; skilled in holding staff accountable and developing their abilities to perform their jobs.
  • Analytical Skills: Excellent analytical and abstract reasoning skills plus organization skills with experiencing interpreting goals and objectives into an operational model as well as being well versed in using accounting software tools to maximize institution's effectiveness. Excellent decision-making skills including ability to analyze complex and/or ambiguous situations, identify workable solutions and their potential outcomes, and make appropriate determinations based on regulations and policies; must possess high ethical standards, good judgment, and ability to review detailed work for critical incongruencies.
  • Interpersonal Skills/Communications: An effective and constructive communicator at all levels in the organization, with strong oral and written skills and a willingness to share information. A collaborative and flexible style, with a strong service mentality.  Ability to present complex financial/budgetary information to non-financial audiences while maintaining discretion when handling confidential information.  Ability to establish credibility throughout the organization as an effective listener and problem solver. Excellent communication skills to convey PAVIR policies and pre-award and post-award procedures to all levels of employees and researchers. Ability to lead discussions related to personnel performance, development and growth.
  • Computer / Information Technology Skills: Highly proficient with computer applications including MS Outlook, Word, Excel, Adobe, and online submission portals.
  • Other: Ability to stay current in job knowledge and technology.

Environmental Conditions / Physical Demands: 

Physical: Sitting for extended periods of time, repetitive movement/typing, etc.

Environmental: Office environment.

PAVIR engages in nonprofit medical research and works with sponsors and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) in administering funds for conducting research to find new and improved ways to combat human disease and help people with disabilities. Please refer to our website for additional information: 

PAVIR is pleased to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. Minorities, Women, Veterans, and Individuals with a Disability are encouraged to apply. We welcome and encourage diversity in the workplace regardless of race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. If you need special assistance or an accommodation to apply for a posted position, please contact Human Resources department.

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