Research Project Manager, Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere
Description of Work Unit
The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) at Colorado State University (CSU) is a multi-million dollar research organization located on CSU’s Foothills Campus in Fort Collins, Colorado. CIRA is a cooperative institute (CI) that is also a research department within CSU’s College of Engineering, in partnership with the Department of Atmospheric Science. Its vision is to conduct interdisciplinary research in the atmospheric sciences by entraining skills beyond the meteorological disciplines, exploiting advances in engineering and computer science, facilitating transitional activity between pure and applied research, leveraging both national and international resources and partnerships, and assisting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), CSU, the State of Colorado, and the Nation through the application of our research to areas of societal benefit. Expanding on this Vision, our Mission is to serve as a nexus for multi-disciplinary cooperation among CI and NOAA research scientists, University faculty, staff and students in the context of NOAA-specified research theme areas in satellite applications for weather/climate forecasting. Important bridging elements of the CI include the communication of research findings to the international scientific community, transition of applications and capabilities to NOAA operational users, education and training programs for operational user proficiency, outreach programs to K-12 education and the general public for environmental literacy, and understanding and quantifying the societal impacts of NOAA research.
The individual in this position provides day-to-day financial and project management of a broad range of scientific research projects, working closely with principal investigators (PIs) at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) to ensure successful on-time and on-budget project completion. He/She also plays a role in the preparation and submission of scientific proposals to external sponsors, including federal, state and local government agencies, industry, and foundations. The individual in this position should be capable of coordinating expenditure planning for a varied portfolio of research projects, forecasting and recommending appropriate solutions for any funding shortfalls with respect to support of scientific staff, consumables, scientific equipment, or project travel. The individual in this position does not typically execute financial transactions, but fields, reviews, and decides to approve or decline requests for project-related expenditures, in consultation as needed with the PI. The individual in this position must possess organizational skills, attention to detail, strong writing ability, and the ability to learn quickly; excellent interpersonal skills, including an ability to work with individuals and teams of research scientists, university administrators, and department and college staff. He/She must possess a strong work ethic, commitment to a quality work product and environment, and be both proactive and a self-starter, and have the ability to prioritize and deal with frequent interruptions in a fast-paced research environment. This individual in this position reports to CIRA’s Assistant Director.
Required Job Qualifications
- Bachelor’s Degree in accounting, finance or related field;
- 3 years of experience working in an accounting/finance capacity at a professional level directly relevant to the position responsibilities as described;
- experience using Microsoft Office, with advanced knowledge of Excel;
- experience using Adobe Acrobat
- proven effective oral and written communication skills demonstrated by an established history of successfully executed interpersonal skills deployed across a diverse range of people and personalities;
- demonstrated time management skills essential to meeting critical deadlines.
Preferred Job Qualifications
- experience preparing/submitting scientific research proposals and budgets;
- experience using Kuali Financial System (KFS), Kuali Research (KR), Oracle;
- experience with interpreting and ensuring compliance with regulatory policy;
- experience with Cost Accounting Standards and Uniform Guidance Requirements;
- financial working knowledge and project management within an institution of higher education;
- experience using data management software (eThority, Access, Birst, etc.) to create reports;
- certification in Research Administration such as CRA, CPRA, CFRA.
Ability to advance the department’s commitment to diversity and inclusion through research, teaching and outreach with relevant programs, goals and activities.
Job Duty Category Project Management Duty/Responsibility
- manage diverse research funding portfolio, including federal, international, private sector, and non-profit agency grant, contract, and cooperative agreement funding;
- make day-to-day project expenditure decisions, based on a familiarity with project objectives and available funding, consulting with the project PI as needed;
- design and implement models to forecast expenditures on existing projects (1-5 years out), including monthly burn rates and future funding increments in addition to common expenditures such as salary, travel, grad students, supplies, equipment, and overhead;
- incorporate expenditure forecasting into overall PI/research group plans, with understanding that all projects are unique and often include joint activities between multiple research groups and require constant communication with PI’s to ensure that spending aligns with actual work (and not just based on the submitted proposal);
- monitor pending proposals for probability of acceptance and expected start date and update expenditure forecasts so that 1-, 3-, and 5-year projections are as accurate as possible;
- interact with program managers, contracting staff, and grant management staff at external funding agencies (federal, international, and private sector) to address questions and resolve problems related to budget categories, contracting issues, project status updates, requests for project extension or supplemental funding, project reporting, and project staffing, including spotlighting over- or under-committed PI’s and researchers across multiple projects for possible substitution of a post-doc for a research scientist’s time on a project, and determining whether or not such decisions are within existing sponsor guidelines or require a waiver request to the sponsor;
- each spring, analyze current funding levels and use expenditure forecasts to create detailed staffing plans for PI’s, students, and Research Associates for the next fiscal year and make projections for 3-5 years out, then meet with PI’s and review travel, deadlines, new funding sources, etc. and adjust staffing plan as necessary, including inputting staffing changes into the Oracle payroll system and reviewing staffing plans for accuracy on a monthly/bi-monthly basis and/or when new funding is received and/or pending proposals are rejected;
- interpret and apply principles, rules, regulations, policies, precedents or other guidelines specific to the assigned research project(s) and its sponsor to resolve problems, answer questions and provide information and advice;
- work with PIs, hardware engineers, property management, and sponsored programs personnel to properly set up, monitor and close out Work-in-Process (WIP) accounts for computer equipment fabrications;
- when requested/required by funding agencies, download data from ODS/KFS/CIRA and/or use existing forecasting data and prepare ad hoc reports that are formatted according to sponsor requirements and track federal equipment purchased on projects, summarize expenses by category over a designated time period, or project expenses for 1-6 months; often such projections assist sponsors to regulate future funding increments.
Percentage Of Time 65 Job Duty Category Proposal Development Duty/Responsibility
- coordinate preparation of scientific research proposals for submission to federal, state, local government, international government/agency, industry, foundation and other potential sponsors; this includes the following activities:
- developing a timeline to ensure a timely submission of the proposal
- determining what information each potential sponsor requires (or not), such as current and pending PI and CO-I staffing, details on fringe and cost inflation in the out years, and/or reporting/calculating out years in present value dollars;
- researching and gathering budget/cost information such as salary, fringe, travel, tuition, supplies, services, service agreements, subcontracts, OH rate, and cost share, etc., and contacting relevant personnel at CSU and other institutions for quotes, GRA tuition/stipends, and subcontract data;
- reviewing budgets and budget justifications to ensure expenses are categorized appropriately and justified adequately for specific funding agencies, and to ensure that justifications for equipment and travel align with the PI’s technical write-up (scope of work) and sponsor’s cost allowance; this requires understanding indirect cost percentages and applying knowledge of current salaries plus estimated inflation rates, fringe rates per employment categories, estimated fringe rates, tuition and department stipends, OMB guidelines, travel rates and restrictions, business math for correct calculations, and knowledge of the sponsor’s fringe, OH and other cost allowances (some private sector sponsors limit these costs);
- soliciting letters of support from third parties interested in supporting proposed research objectives;
- input scientific research proposals into KR for electronic review/approval, and/or submit proposals directly to sponsors; this requires observing and adhering to deadline dates and understanding that late proposals result in automatic rejection; sometimes involves creating cover letters.
Percentage Of Time 30 Job Duty Category Other Duties Duty/Responsibility
- participate in professional meetings and/or other professional growth opportunities (NCURA/SRA) to promote improved job knowledge and performance;
- represent CIRA project management team at various on and off campus functions.
Percentage Of Time 5
Special Instructions to Applicants
References may be contacted immediately and without further notification to the candidate.
NOTE: In your cover letter, please specifically address the required and preferred qualifications of this position. A cover letter that fails to address the required and preferred qualifications of this position may not be further considered after review by the search committee.
Conditions of Employment
Pre-employment Criminal Background Check (required for new hires)
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