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Vanderbilt University Program Specialist, Research Development & Support, Sponsored Programs Administration in Nashville, Tennessee

The Program Specialist is part of a team providing research development and support services to Vanderbilt within the Office of the Vice Provost for Research. The goal of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR) is to promote Vanderbilt’s distinctive research culture, which aspires to improve the human condition through path-breaking discovery and innovation. The office develops strategies and provides services to enhance extramural support for research, advance a cohesive and vibrant trans-institutional research agenda, build strategic partnerships around shared priorities in research, and maintain compliance with research related regulations and policies.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develop (1) deep content knowledge of faculty/center research/university capability, (2) awareness of relevant external funding opportunities, and (3) connections between Vanderbilt strengths and sponsor priorities.

  • Maintain knowledge of Federal funding agency directions, long-term strategies, new programs, public events, and program officers. Advise Vanderbilt leadership, faculty, and key research centers on key funding and partnership opportunities.

  • Develop and provide services including high-level conceptualization to match sponsor priorities; effective team organization; red-team review; and credible administrative, management, education/outreach, and/or data sharing plans to assist investigators in the complex process of developing competitive proposals for prestigious opportunities.

  • Develop sponsor relationships with VU centers and projects, including visits to VU by program officers, visits by VU teams to sponsors, and communications (such as one-pagers) for distribution to sponsors for relationship-building and shaping sponsor initiatives.

  • Bring together strategic teams of faculty and academic leadership that cross departmental and disciplinary lines to create and pursue opportunities where trans-institutional support is available.

  • As needs arise, support Vanderbilt programs for research compliance and adherences to federal laws, regulations, and institutional policies associated with research.

  • Work effectively and collaboratively with diverse stakeholders.


  • A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education is necessary.

  • Ph.D. from an accredited institution of higher education is preferred.

  • Five years of relevant experience, or the equivalent, is necessary.

  • Prior expertise in research or research administration at a top research university is preferred.

  • Prior experience with federal, industry, or foundation grant writing is preferred.

  • Prior experience in developing center-scale proposals for federal agencies or foundations and in working with large cross-disciplinary faculty groups is preferred.

  • Working knowledge of the principles and current trends in federal funding is preferred.

  • Strong team building, analytical, technical writing, and communications skills are necessary.

  • Demonstrated competence in interdisciplinary environments, communications, or research administration and familiarity with inter-university and inter-institutional collaborations is preferred.

  • Ability to assume a lead role in project management is necessary.

  • Experience working with private and/or public sector executives and high-level academic officials is preferred.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

At Vanderbilt University, we are intentional about and assume accountability for fostering advancement and respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion for all students, faculty, and staff. Our commitment to diversity makes us who we are. We have created a community that celebrates differences and lets individuality thrive. As part of this commitment, we actively value diversity in our workplace and learning environments as we seek to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of everyone. The diverse voices of Vanderbilt represent an invaluable resource for the University in its efforts to fulfill its mission and strive to be an example of excellence in higher education.

Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.

Please note, all candidates selected for an offer of employment are subject to pre-employment background checks, which may include but are not limited to, based on the role for which they have been selected: criminal history, education verification, social media review, motor vehicle records, credit history, and professional license verification.