Department: Office for Sponsored Research Salary/Grade: EXS/10
As a professional staff member of the Office for Sponsored Research (OSR), the Senior Contract and Grant Officer is integrally involved in the review and analysis of complex contractual issues including the preparation, drafting, review, redlining, and negotiation of contracts and other sponsored programs agreements that require advanced knowledge of University, sponsor, and Federal regulations and policy. The Senior Contracts Officer considers the legal and business implications of the terms and conditions of OSR’s sponsored research agreements at an institutional level, such as potential risk and liability, ownership and licensing rights to intellectual property, freedom to publish research results and confidentiality restrictions, export control issues, and potential conflicts with current or future research engagements with other sponsoring entities, interfacing with the other appropriate Northwestern University offices as necessary.
Beyond the transactional components of the job, the Senior Contracts Officer strives to make contracting with Northwestern as efficient and transparent as possible. The position identifies bottlenecks in the contracting process flow and works with the responsible individuals and offices at those flow-points to address the issues. The Senior Contracts Officer also engages in training and educational efforts across Northwestern University’s campus and collaborations with peer universities, industry sponsors, government agencies, and other institutions.
Contracts Negotiation and Acceptance
Negotiate master agreements with industry sponsors spanning multiple principal investigators, research projects, scopes of work, or academic departments, considering implications to all parties involved.Negotiate terms and conditions for industry basic, applied and development research contracts, master research agreements, material transfer agreements, confidentiality agreements related to testing agreements, letters of indemnification, novation agreements for sponsored projects, termination agreements for sponsored projects, subcontract agreements for sponsored projects, and other award instruments.
Conduct comprehensive analyses of contracts proposed by governmental, foundation, industry or other private sponsors to identify those areas within the scope of work, period of performance, delivery schedule, terms and conditions (including, but not limited to, indemnification, insurance, confidentiality, termination, research subject injury, publicity, payment, publication, termination, ownership and disposition of data and intellectual property, reporting, debarment), and budgetary matters which may be inconsistent with the University's policies and objectives or which may involve financial or administrative risks.
Conduct negotiations to ensure an appropriate balance between the needs of the sponsor with those of the PI and the University.Clearly and concisely convey University positions and the rationale for these positions to sponsors while working to maintain good sponsor relations.
Interpret and define University and PI obligations pursuant to the terms of a particular agreement.
Craft various complex contracts, subcontracts, and other legal documents
Provide advisory consultative services to faculty and industry, federal, local government, and/or non-profit sponsor representatives regarding issues associated with basic applied research, contracts, cooperativeagreements, and or large complex grants. Consult with faculty, staff, sponsors, and sponsor representatives to facilitate research initiatives involving any combination of University, industry and government partnerships.Serve as OSR representative to assist in the coordination of large or interdisciplinary research programs, such as inter-institutional consortia, large cooperative agreements, contracts, or multi-project grants.
Brief constituents on University, sponsor, and contract grant requirements.
Draft and negotiate contract agreement modifications and subcontracts, assuring appropriate flow-down and coordination of programmatic effort, budget, and terms and conditions among prime sponsor, University, andUniversity subrecipients.
Provide assistance and guidance to OSR staff, faculty and departmental administrative staff during the life of an award and assure adherence to University and agency procedures and requirements.
Review and act on official agency correspondence.
Establish and maintain effective communications with the School Deans' Offices, faculty, departmental staff, central administrative units, and entity personnel. Work closely with faculty, chairs, deans, OSR managers,and other central administrative officials to resolve administrative and management problems, which may be complex and may involve divergent interests of a number of central offices and University departments.
Contribute to implementing, monitoring, and revising metrics that track the efficiency of OSR’s contracting transactions and identify and address particular areas to improve efficiency.
Establish and improve upon templates, tools, and standard procedures related to contracting at OSR, such as standard agreement templates, negotiation checklists, and policies for engaging industry collaborations, training the necessary individuals on using such templates and tools, and promoting the templates and tools to the broader community.
Maintain close relationships and information exchanges with Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO) on intellectual property issues and Office of Corporate Engagement (OCE) on issues relating to potential industry engagements.
Maintain close relationships and information exchanges with university academic departments and faculty to stay current on their work and research, future endeavors, interests, and opportunities to assist them.
Provide legal advice and analysis to OSR on all aspects of sponsored research and related issues.
Act as representative of Northwestern in external collaborations, workshops, presentations, and initiatives related to sponsored research such as the University-Industry Demonstration Partnership and the National Association of College and University Officers. Co-lead efforts to develop tools, templates, and materials involving Northwestern and other academic institutions and private companies.
Network with industry, governmental, and quasi-governmental individuals and entities to develop potential research opportunities.
Performs other duties as assigned.
A Bachelor’s Degree and Juris Doctor from an accredited institution.
Licensed to practice law in at least one state in good standing.
3+ years’ experience as an Officer focused on transactional and/or litigation matters.
1+ years’ experience supervising and managing one or more Officers or professionals, either on a project basis or more generally.
Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)
Working knowledge of federal and international regulatory requirements and guidelines involving research.
Demonstrated knowledge of contracting issues unique to industry-university research engagements.
Demonstrated knowledge of generally accepted contracting and subcontracting practices.
Demonstrated knowledge of copyright and patent law.
Demonstrated knowledge of Government grant and contract administration and a basic understanding of core contracting principles for educational institutions.
Ability to read statements of work, and other sponsor or investigator-provided study documentation and sufficiently understand the research in order to elucidate potential contractual or regulatory issues.
Demonstrated understanding of the technical issues affecting protection, use, and exploitation of intellectual property.
Demonstrated knowledge of indemnification and liability issues.
Demonstrated understanding of issues affecting publication.
Experience negotiating government and non-profit agreements and/or industry contracts.
Working knowledge of FAR clauses applicable to agreements with educational institutions.
Knowledge of general management principles and practices, skill in dealing with others in work relationships involving mentoring, teamwork, conflict resolutions, and the ability to make difficult decisions.
Management and professional experience, business acumen, judgment and integrity to effectively serve investigators and sponsors, while continuously advancing the best interests of the University.
Excellent oral and written communication skills.
Ability to work efficiently and effectively under deadline pressures.
Ability to effectively work with and deal with difficult people.
Ability to efficiently and effectively manage multiple projects simultaneously.
Strong service orientation.
Preferred Qualifications: (Education and experience)
Licensed to practice law in Illinois.
5+ years’ experience as an Officer focused on transactional and/or litigation matters.
1+ years’ experience negotiating contracts for a university or private institution.
Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.
Internal Number: 36194
About Northwestern University
Northwestern University is a major private research university with 12 academic divisions located on three campuses in Evanston, Chicago, and Education City in Doha, Qatar. We have approximately 2,500 full-time faculty members, 17,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and over 5,700 full and part-time staff. Northwestern University combines innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment. It provides students and faculty exceptional opportunities for intellectual, personal and professional growth.