Posted: Apr 4, 2023

Project Officer - Research

Columbia University - New York , New York
Salary: $75,000.00 - $85,000.00 Annually
Application Deadline: N/A

Position Summary

The Project Officer (PO) will provide comprehensive, high-quality, and customer-focused pre-award research administration support to assigned units at the Columbia Climate School. Working within the Climate School’s new Office of Research, the PO will perform key services that ensure timely submission of high-quality, responsive, compliant, and rigorously reviewed grant proposals. These services include the review of budgets and other administrative documents, preparation and review of application packages, and collection of appropriate institutional approvals prior to submission. The PO will also perform other essential duties including handling a variety of information requests, data entry, and compliance documents, all while building and maintaining positive relationships with internal and external customers.

In addition, the incumbent must have a strong interest in data maintenance and reporting, and a willingness to train others in standard processes in support of the pre-award endeavor. This position requires comprehensive knowledge of sponsor and University guidelines and procedures for engaging and stewarding a diverse portfolio of extramural funders.


Pre-Award Management

  • Coordinates and assists with the preparation and pre-submission review process for all grant and contract proposal submissions from assigned Climate School units. Reviews RFP/sponsor guidelines, and provide guidance related to University and sponsor guidelines.
  • Performs initial compliance review for proposals, often within short time frames. Ensures proposals are fully compliant with and responsive to extramural sponsor requirements and guidelines; communicate clear, concise feedback regarding necessary revisions. Verify that compliance requirements are met and necessary internal forms are provided prior to proposal submission (i.e., Conflict of Interest disclosures, PI Waivers, ICR Waivers, IRQ forms, Pre-Award Assessment forms).
  • As part of the review process, receive and review subaward and collaborator documents and confirm accuracy and compliance.
  • Reviews budgets for Climate School investigators participating in proposals submitted by other Columbia departments/divisions and verify compliance with Climate School requirements.
  • Ensures that Climate School-level approvals are obtained, and route proposals to central Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) for final review and submission.

Data Analytics, Reporting & Communications

  • Supports Senior Grants Manager with regular reporting requests, perform quality assurance review of data records, and, along with Manager of Administration & Outreach, collaboratively develop Office of Research systems to maintain such records and utilize data in response to a wide variety of reporting needs.
  • Maintains up-to-date records of proposal submissions, ensuring that internal records are updated in a timely manner.
    Upon request, provide reports and data to internal and external stakeholders.
  • Regularly draft and issue Climate School-wide communications related to policy updates and other critical topics on behalf of the Pre-Award Unit. Respond to requests for guidance related to Pre-Award policy and procedures from a wide variety of stakeholders, including senior leadership of the Climate School.

Customer Support

  • During proposal review, at the time of award, and as otherwise determined by business needs, review Current & Pending support (C&P) documents of researchers within assigned portfolio and work with the researchers to reconcile discrepancies.
  • Reviews responses to pre-award information requests from agencies, including budget revisions, compliance documentation, updated C&P statements, and other revisions and clarifications as required by sponsors.
  • Notes deliverables and interprets award conditions for the PI and administrators.
  • Provides Climate School administrators and researchers with needed information and context regarding agency restrictions, allowable costs, and audit-related concerns.
  • Logs and files submitted progress reports and notify researchers of overdue progress reports

Special Projects

  • Stay up to date on sponsor guidelines and application systems such as Fastlane,, Workspace, etc. and maintain knowledge of resources available for proposal preparation.
  • Serve as backup to other Project Officers as needed.
  • Other strategic initiatives and special projects as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent.
  • At least 3 years of relevant experience in research and/or financial administration.
  • Eagerness to contribute to the construction of a new Office of Research, and to create processes and administrative structures that endure.
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate effectively with a number of stakeholders, including researchers of all career levels, executive leadership, government employees and federal civil servants, vendors, and external partners.
  • Must have excellent time management, computer, and communications skills.
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment.
  • Highly skilled in Microsoft Office, particularly Excel; must be comfortable with pivot tables and charts, and able to envision new ways to structure information.
  • Experience with complex budget preparation and proposal processing for government and non-profit agencies.
  • High level of discretion and good judgment, independent motivation and initiative, integrity, trustworthiness, diplomacy, respect, flexibility, and team collaboration.
  • Must be able to work independently and communicate professionally with external parties including funding sponsors, Climate School leadership, and collaborators from other institutions.

Other Requirements

  • Ability to work additional hours, as determined by project deadlines and in discussion with Senior Grants Manager.