Research Administrator – (Los Angeles, California, United States)

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Office of Research is seeking a full-time Research Administrator to join its research administration team.  Viterbi faculty members generate wide-ranging and multifaceted research programs, sponsored projects, grants and contracts. This position will support comprehensive, skillful management of a portfolio of complex contracts and grants research activity and related operational and financial needs.

Primary Responsibilities Include:

  • Serves as account manager and facilitates comprehensive, proficient financial management of a complex portfolio of grants and contracts. Maintains monthly reconciliation of managed accounts to proactively identify and resolve issues. In consultation with principal investigators, assists with resource allocation decisions as needed. Develops and communicates reports supporting project status. Processes, reviews and approves expenditures.
  • Collaborates with PIs, the Viterbi Office of Research, Department of Contracts and Grants and Sponsored Projects Accounting to ensure awards are set up properly, including cost-sharing when required.
  • Initiates student and research staff payroll set up. Facilitates graduate research assistant hiring.
  • Assists in the resolution of highly complex issues escalated from the research team, and determines if further review by senior management or key University constituencies is necessary.  May serve as primary communication liaison between faculty principal investigators and the Viterbi Office of Research, the Department of Contracts and Grants, and program sponsors, as required. 
  • Proactively manages contract closeout process and audits inquiries, as well as quarterly effort reporting certification process.
  • Serves as a Subject Matter Expert (SME). Interprets complex university and government policies. Identifies and suggests process improvements.
  • Maintains currency on changes within legal, regulatory, competitive economic and technology environments which may affect specialized programs.
  • Uses expert knowledge and sound judgment to interpret sponsor guidelines. Serves as an expert resource to ensure ongoing compliance with all applicable regulatory and financial requirements imposed on institutions of higher education.

Job duties may be added or modified as needed.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the mission of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Viterbi staff are expected to facilitate a culture of support and service, to model civility and respectful engagement at all times, and to maintain the highest ethical standards and to maintain strict confidentiality across all facets of their work.

Additional Information

This is a hybrid position. The Research Administrator will be expected to work onsite as needed and up to 3 days per week. The annual base salary range for this position is $98,186.70 – $115,036.01. When extending an offer of employment, the University of Southern California considers factors such as (but not limited to) the scope of responsibilities of the position, the candidate’s work experience, education/training, key skills, internal peer equity, federal, state, and local laws, contractual stipulations, grant funding, as well as external market and organizational considerations. 

Preferred Qualifications

  • Thorough understanding of research administration guidelines of Federal and non-Federal sponsors supporting research and educational activities, preferably in a university environment. 
  • Experience administering research funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense and Department of Energy.
  • Outstanding customer support, poise, tact, and diplomacy.
  • Meticulous attention to detail and organization.
  • Capacity to work independently with demonstrated commitment to building and supporting a strong, engaged team.
  • Flexibility and adaptability in a continuously evolving operational environment.
  • Leadership and training skills.
  • Eagerness to continue growing, learning, and developing professionally.

To be a successful member of our team, we will measure performance in the following areas:

  • Customer satisfaction and collaboration – you embrace a philosophy that everyone is a customer, including peers and teammates
  • Initiative and ownership – you are a self-starter and are responsible for the quality and accuracy of your work, including acting as a resource to others in your department
  • Problem-solving and resourcefulness – you demonstrate creative critical thinking and exercise good judgment and intuition
  • Timeliness – you thrive in a deadline-driven environment

Minimum Qualifications

  • Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Combined experience/education as substitute for minimum education
  • Experience: 5 years
  • Expert knowledge and fluency of governmental regulations (e.g. FAR, A-21, A- 110, A-133, CAS).
  • Knowledge and ability to understand, interpret, and communicate University policies and procedures.
  • Excellent oral, written, and communication skills. Excellent analytical skills; demonstrated proficiency in Excel and web-based tools.
  • Strong accounting skills; knowledge of accounting principles. Expert in project management, including managing international collaborations and complex multi-sub award contracts.
  • Knowledge of personnel management, including proposing effort for and training and hiring of students, post-doctorals, academic appointments, regular staff, bargaining unit staff, and consultants, along with the circumstances appropriate for each type of position.

Required Applicant Documents

A resume/CV and a cover letter are required. Please feel free to upload your application materials in a single document.


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