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 Contract and Grant Officer also facilitates the smooth operation of these projects after award and is expected to be involved in staff and campus training initiatives, and in assisting in the overall development and operations of OSR. The portfolio of activity assigned to a Senior Contract and Grant Officer typically involves industry sponsored basic and clinical trial agreements and associated agreements such as confidentiality agreements and material transfer agreements but Senior Contract and Grant Officers are also expected to assist in the review of legal documents for Federal, State, and foundation agreements.
This Contract & Grant Officer position exists within the Northwestern University Office for Sponsored Research and as such operates to actively further the mission and research goals of a large, not-for-profit, educational institution. While an individual with a J.D. is strongly preferred, the Contract & Grant Officer position is considered that of a non-attorney and exists outside of the Office of General Counsel.
Provide advisory services to faculty and industry, federal, local government, and/or non-profit sponsor representatives regarding contract issues associated with clinical trials, basic/applied research, and large/complex grants.
Serve as OSR representative in the coordination of large or interdisciplinary research programs, such as Investigator-initiated multi-site clinical trials, inter-institutional biomedical consortia, or multi-project grants/contracts.
Contract and Grant Negotiation and Acceptance
Provide support to investigators in the contract review and submission process, supplying information on University, agency, and federally-mandated requirements and coordinating institutional responses to Requests for Proposals and Requests for Application.
Negotiate terms and conditions for clinical trial, industry basic research contracts, master research agreements, material transfer agreements related to clinical research, confidentiality agreements related to clinical research, testing agreements, letters of indemnification, novation agreements for sponsored projects, termination agreements for sponsored projects, subcontract agreements for sponsored projects, and other award instruments. In this capacity, the Senior Contract and Grant Officer will assume responsibility for differentiating between negotiable positions and absolute requirements.
Ensure that contracts and proposals adhere to University, agency, and federally mandated requirements, including compliance with federal and international laws and guidelines governing clinical research, effort reporting, costing principles, cost sharing commitments, Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) approvals, and conflict of interest policies.
Ensure that each sponsored project has the appropriate University approvals for human subject research, animal use, and if applicable, indirect cost waivers prior to execution.
Solicit input from PIs and other central administrative offices, such as IRB, ACUC, Technology Transfer, ASRSP, General Counsel, and Risk Management as appropriate. Keep PIs, their staff, departments, and others informed of negotiation process. Advise PIs and their staff of unusual or problematic terms and coordinate plans of action.
Facilitate the preparation of small business subcontracting plans when required, coordinating with the PI and Purchasing Department.
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.
Alert senior management when resolution is not able to be reached in a timely manner or when there are issues that is broad-based or potentially applicable to or problematic in other situations.
Craft various complex contracts, subcontracts, and other legal documents.
Negotiate multiple-party agreements with multiple sponsors and/or donors/loaners/leasors relating to a particular study such that all parties are informed, but no confidentiality obligations are breached and there are no conflicts among the multiple obligations.
Endorse contracts and grants on behalf of the Institution as authorized.
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.
Draft, negotiate, and execute contract/agreement modifications and subcontracts, assuring appropriate flowdown and coordination of programmatic effort, budget, and terms and conditions among prime sponsor, University, and University subrecipients.
Review and act on official sponsor correspondence.
Work with the IRB during the life of a project to negotiate with sponsor requests to change PI, add or delete personnel, change IRB titles, or change the goals.
Establish and maintain effective communications with the School Deans’ Office, 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.
Maintain ongoing liaison with funding sponsor’s personnel to enhance ongoing research relationship.
Monitor proposed and imposed modifications in sponsor regulations, requirements, and policies. Upon request of senior management, provide critical analyses of these changes and/or analyze potential impact to the University, alternative responses, and implementation strategies.
Represent the University during sponsor site visits if requested/required.
Assist auditors when performing audits by providing requested information and appropriate responses to questions, and coordinating responses with ASRSP personnel.
Training, Professional Development, and Other Duties
Consult with faculty, staff, sponsors, and sponsor representatives to facilitate research initiatives involving any combination of University, industry and government partnerships.
Work with OSR management team and other central and University units to develop training programs and materials on sponsored research related topics such as negotiation of basic research agreements and clinical trials, working with industry, and patents and intellectual property. Take a lead role in education and training meetings, specialized training seminars, and staff professional development.
Participate in national and regional research administration organizations and activities, with an emphasis on continuously enhancing job knowledge and skills.
Represent OSR on OSR, OR, University, regional or national committees and working groups.
Bachelor’s degree required.
5-7 years’ experience in contract negotiations
Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)
Working knowledge of federal and international regulatory requirements and guidelines involving clinical trials and research
Demonstrated knowledge of generally accepted contracting and subcontracting practices.
Demonstrated knowledge of grant and contract administration for industry-funded projects and a basic understanding of FDA regulations governing clinical trials along with GCP Guidelines, IRB regulations and requirements.
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.
Ability to read clinical protocols and consent forms and sufficiently understand the research in order to elucidate potential contractual or regulatory issues and assure research is consistent with contractual obligations.
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 negotiating industry contracts. Incumbents in Chicago are expected to also have experience working with pharmaceutical and medical device companies.
Working knowledge of FAR clauses applicable to agreements with educational institutions.
Demonstrated knowledge of the distinctions between gifts, grants, and contracts and the ability to articulate these distinctions to faculty, staff, and industry sponsors.
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.
A law degree is strongly preferred or equivalent combination of education, training, and experience working with research contracts from which comparable skills can be acquired.
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: 34746
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.