Reporting to the Executive Director of Research Initiatives, the Director of Proposal Strategy (DPS) partners primarily with teams of scientific, engineering, and biomedical research faculty to develop innovative and high-impact grant proposals that support the University's long-term research vision.
Working closely with the Executive Director of Research Initiatives and the Executive Director for University Research Planning and Development, and through close partnership with school and institute senior leadership, the DPS supports collaborative faculty teams in the complex planning, execution, and submission of large proposals requesting funding typically in excess of $10M. The goal of this position is to increase the funding for new research efforts that often bridge disciplines, schools, and campuses. These multimillion-dollar, multi-year, multi-investigator centers build interdisciplinary communities, advance cutting-edge research, develop junior faculty, attract high-quality faculty, postdocs, and students, and provide a platform for follow-on small and large research grants. The DPS will build, maintain and continuously develop a proposal development service and will lead efforts to support faculty to develop high-impact grant opportunities that align with the strategic goals of the University's research enterprise.
A strong internal candidate has been identified for this position, however, we are still accepting applications from other qualified candidates.
Project Management of Proposal Development (70%)
Collaborate with faculty in developing project timelines and in the management of the full proposal lifecycle, from concept to submission. Facilitate proposal process for faculty by creating internal deadlines and tracking internal deliverables, reiterate RFP requirements needing focus, and assemble human and non-human resources to support teams to develop the most competitive possible grant proposals. The DPS will often temporarily "embed" alongside investigators in the academic unit for part or all of the proposal preparation.
Coach interdisciplinary faculty teams through proposal strategy and resource allocation procedures, including assembling Co-Investigator and Senior Personnel teams, dispatching writing assignments, engaging external partners, and editing proposal drafts.
As requested by faculty teams, take responsibility for drafting and editing material, such as non-scientific proposal components, (Governance and Management Plans, Communications and Outreach Plans, Diversity Plans, Technology Transfer Plans, Education and Student Mentoring Plans, etc.). Coordinate with experts at Columbia and partner universities as appropriate. Facilitate overall coordination between the faculty team and non-academic key experts.
Represent senior faculty teams in establishing strategic partnerships with external organizations - other academic institutions, K-12 schools, non-profits, corporations, city and state governments - often in order to gather letters of support or collaboration for submission with research grant proposals. Conceptualize meaningful partnerships, communicate and plan with senior executives at external organizations, draft letters, set deliverables timelines, and coordinate the project's development with all constituencies.
Liaise between faculty and relevant University units, particularly the Offices of the President, Office of the Provost, Sponsored Projects Administration, Institutional Review Board, Columbia Technology Ventures, Research Compliance and Training, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, Alumni and Development, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, the Libraries Data Management Office, and multiple Dean's Offices and institutes.
Identify large, multidisciplinary funding opportunities from federal and non-federal sources that capitalize on existing strengths and expertise across Columbia. Ensure appropriate faculty and research leadership are aware of the opportunities.
Maintain document version control; provide a comprehensive editorial review of all drafted content; advise investigators on proposal organization; and contribute to formatting and figure editing.
Develop check-list of requirements from exacting reviews of RFPs.
Program Management (10%)
Supported by the Associate Director of Proposal Strategy, lead administration of the Research Initiatives in Science and Engineering (RISE) program, the broadest internal seed funding competition for Columbia faculty. Responsibilities include design of application, evaluation, and promotional materials; recruitment and project management of 80+ senior faculty reviewers; and preparation of materials for the Executive Director of Research Initiatives and the Executive Vice President for Research. Advise on process improvements to expedite the review timeline, and increase the competition's visibility, integrity, and utility.
Human Resources and Administration (10%)
Supervise the Associate Director as well as coach the Proposal Strategy unit responsible for administrative management, communications, procurement, and other objectives supporting faculty grantsmanship.
Assign tasks to the Proposal Strategy staff to meet project plan goals and internal and sponsor deadlines.
Work closely with departmental administrators in planning budget drafts, which may often involve highly confidential and protected information.
As needed, hire external consultants, casual employees, and student employees to support project management, data collection, and/or communications needs.
Facilitate the flow of communications to internal and external audiences, including committees, leadership, and staff. Develop a culture of appreciation for large research grantmaking across administrative offices not typically knowledgeable about the research funding landscape.
For proposals ultimately awarded funding, and as directed by the Executive Director of Research Initiatives, support faculty teams in hiring key Officers of Administration to solidify the new unit, including drafting job descriptions, conducting interviews, and engaging senior faculty and staff leadership as appropriate.
Special Projects (10%)
Represent the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research on internal governance committees and working groups, as appropriate.
Lead short-term working groups of senior Columbia administrators in developing content, particularly templates for administrative components of research proposals.
Host and speak at informational sessions for faculty seeking to pursue specific center-level funding mechanisms.
Other opportunistic projects as assigned by the Executive Director of Research Initiatives, including high-profile event planning, preparation of training documents, staff mentorship, and initial launching of internally-funded projects.
Bachelor's degree and at least six years of related experience.
Four or more years of progressively responsible experience in program management, preferably in an academic or non-profit setting.
Experience in complex proposal development, with a record of accomplishment in successfully obtaining external funding, preferably from the federal government.
Experience in providing optimal customer service, preferably to faculty and other academic audiences.
Outstanding organization and project management skills required.
High level of discretion and good judgment, ability to take initiative, integrity, trustworthiness, diplomacy, respect, and team collaboration are required.
Demonstrated ability to work effectively with faculty in a support capacity.
Demonstrated ability to collaborate effectively with a number of stakeholders, including executive leadership, government employees, vendors, and external partners.
Demonstrated ability to develop written content for internal and external audiences, and alter narrative styles for promotional, instructional, and analytical purposes.
High level of organization, and the ability to initiate and complete projects on deadline.
Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment.
Highly organized, enthusiastic and personable approach.
Strong writing and presentation skills.
Cover Letter required
Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran
Columbia University is committed to the hiring of qualified local residents.
Internal Number: 502500
About Columbia University
Columbia University is one of the world's most important centers of research and at the same time a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields. The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the university to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.