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AME Research Administrator

Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Los Angeles, California

The Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering is seeking a Research Administrator (RA) to join its research administration team.  Under the direction of the Department Chair, Department Business Manager and faculty, this position will support departmental research activity, contracts & grants, and other department financial needs. This is leadership role and will have training responsibilities for other level RAs.

The core job duties are:


Research Proposals:

  • Assists assigned faculty, research associates/assistants, and post-docs with the preparations of complex proposals to assure all necessary university and agency requirements are met.
  • Develops budgets, budget justifications and other financial data necessary to submit proposals in accordance with agency and university guidelines. Disseminates information to Viterbi Research Administration, faculty home academic departments, the Department of Contracts and Grants (DCG), the Department of Sponsored Project Accounting, Principal Investigators, and Agencies.
  • Manages the notifications of awards are received by updating original account budgets proposed. Notify faculty of the receipt of awards and communicate necessary expenditures.
  • Trains and supports other level Research Administrators on proposal submission.
  • Point person to communicate university and government proposal policies to other level Research Administrators.

Account Management:

  • Develops and communicates reports supporting project status.
  • Monitors account activity and reconcile accounts to assure that all account activity is related to the project and is charged appropriately.  When discrepancies are found, inform faculty and take necessary steps to correct the transactions. Reference agency guidelines to make sure that budget changes are in compliance with the specified requirements from individual agencies.
  • Assist SPA and DCG with the preparation of financial and/or progress, expiring award reports requested by agencies for award continuation and/or final reports.
  • Processes, tracks, and posts expenditures for travel reimbursements, settlements of advances, and invoices on the assigned accounts.  Expedite procurement orders and reimbursements, requisitions, and foreign drafts. Keep in compliance with USC/School/Departmental expenditure policies and procedures to advise faculty and research related-staff to assure these policies are followed when handling their requests for all purchases and reimbursements.
  • Reconciles and reviews monthly account statements and provides faculty with account summaries reports on a monthly basis, and projections on a quarterly basis.
  • Conduct forecasts/projections for awards received to assure that original scope of work will be satisfied.  Communicate with faculty, review original proposal submission, and verify applicable fringe and F&A rates to prepare forecasts, annual, and final agency reports. 
  • Manages contract closeout process and audits inquiries.
  • Advise faculty of remaining time of project periods and account balances in advance to assure that extensions on research projects are requested in a timely manner if research has to be extended beyond current project periods. Consult agency guidelines to provide faculty with options regarding extensions on research periods.
  • Serves as a Subject Matter Expert (SME).
  • Expert in project management, including managing national and international collaborations and complex multi-sub award contracts.
  • Identifies and implements process improvements.


  • Prepare payroll for research staff, faculty, research assistants, student workers, visiting scholars.  Prepares and processes hiring paperwork for research assistants and research staff.
  • Using the eCERT Effort Certification Online System, review & prepare quarterly and semester reports for all faculty that serve as Principal Investigator.


  • Attend department meetings and central meetings (e.g. Viterbi Business Affairs, USC Research Administration Office, DCG etc.)
  • Perform varied administrative and analytical duties for the department.

Required Applicant Documents

Resume/CV Cover Letter

These documents may be submitted as one PDF.  Applications will not be considered complete without these documents.

Preferred Experience:

Four years of account and budget experience including knowledge of government and fund accounting and knowledge of university financial systems.  Expert knowledge of governmental regulations.

Expert in project management.

Strong computer skills using MS Office Suite, Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.  Excellent communication skills both written and verbal, ability to prioritize, organize, analyze and work independently in a fast paced and demanding work environment.

Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree
Combined experience/education as substitute for minimum education
Minimum Experience: Five years

REQ20071344 Posted Date: 02/25/2019

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