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Assistant Director for Research Development

School of Engineering and Applied Science Admin

Assistant Director for Research Development

  • 529028
  • Morningside
  • School of Engineering and Applied Science Admin
  • Full Time
  • Opening on: Aug 24 2022
  • Grade 12
  • Job Type: Officer of Administration
  • Bargaining Unit:
  • Regular/Temporary: Regular
  • End Date if Temporary:
  • Hours Per Week: 35
  • Salary Range:

Position Summary

The Assistant Director for Research Development (AD-RD) will work collaboratively to strengthen Columbia Engineering’s research enterprise through developing and pursuing large-scale funding strategies for complex, cross-disciplinary projects, utilizing a entrepreneurial, problem-solving approach to explore, launch, and sustain strategic research initiatives with the promise for broad, societal impact. Reporting to the Director for Strategic Research Initiatives, the Assistant Director for Research Development is tasked with supporting strategic planning efforts and developing large-scale ($5M+) funding proposal projects that align with Columbia Engineering’s priorities spanning research, talent development, broadening participation, science communications, and knowledge dissemination efforts. With a particular eye toward coordinating and crafting high-quality proposals that expand and enhance the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) interdisciplinary collaboration infrastructures, the Assistant Director will enable more – and more competitive – research proposals, particularly for initiative- and center-level, or complex, funding opportunities.


  • (40%) Editorial Communications

    The AD-RD will assist faculty in all aspects of proposal writing, editing and preparation. With sound judgment to support and streamline large faculty teams, the AD-RD will take responsibility for drafting and editing non-technical proposal material, such as Management Plans, Communications & Outreach Plans, Diversity Plans, Technology Transfer Plans, Education Plans, and Project Management Plans. They will also edit technical and non-technical research proposal content, ensuring exhaustive and rigorous compliance with all RFP requirements. The AD-RD will embark on other strategic writing and editing projects as determined by the individual project’s Lead PI and the Director for Strategic Research Initiatives. The AD-RD will develop proposal templates and boilerplate language for SEAS researchers to broadly leverage for future proposals.

  • (30%) Internal Communications

    Working closely with the Director of Strategic Research Initiatives, the AD-RD will identify large, multidisciplinary funding opportunities from federal and non-federal sources that capitalize upon the SEAS’ intellectual and programmatic expertise. They will ensure that appropriate faculty and research leadership are aware of the full suite of extramural funding opportunities available to them and will facilitate the flow of information to internal audiences, including faculty, committees, leadership, and staff, ensuring that communications content and protocols are responsive to client expectations. The AD-RD will develop a culture of appreciation for large research grant making and will lead internal communications strategy, including a bi-weekly newsletter, a complex website, and other integral content development for faculty. The AD-RD will closely collaborate with the Director of Strategic Research Initiatives, Senior Vice Dean for Research and Academic Programs, and relevant SEAS staff to facilitate grantsmanship training programs.

  • (20%) Develop Programming Targeting Funding-Specific Opportunities

    The AD-RD will work with the Director of Strategic Initiatives to develop strategies to better align funding opportunities with SEAS faculty research interests and school and university-wide strategic priorities. The AD-RD will launch and manage new programs that engage and incentivize SEAS faculty to pursue large-scale funding opportunities via funder-specific and program-specific research development training opportunities. The AD-RD will liaise with extramural sponsors and program offers, provide strategic planning, communications, and other operational support and guidance to match researchers seeking funding with strategic opportunities.


  • (10%) Special Projects

    The AD-RD will embark upon strategic, unforeseen, and opportunistic special projects that advance the visibility, nimbleness, and funding potential of SEAS’ research community, potentially including partnership formation and stewardship, strategic planning committees, and new program design and launch. The AD-RD will troubleshoot, participate in crisis management, and manage expectations of leadership and external partners. They will serve as an informed, insightful, and confidential sounding board to the Director for Strategic Research Initiatives and Senior Vice Dean for Research and Academic Programs, to test ideas, debate issues, and provide critical feedback. Special projects may require travel.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree. Master’s/PhD preferred.
  • At least three to five years of experience in fundraising and/or editorial communications.
  • Prior experience in research proposal development, preferably to federal agency sponsors.


  • Committed interest to learning more about complex, interdisciplinary research and the associated funding landscape. Though proficiency in technical research methods and concepts is not mandatory, an eagerness to learn and engage is unequivocally is essential for success.
  • Excellent communication (both verbal and written) and interpersonal skills required
  • Outstanding organizational and project management skills.
  • High level of discretion and good judgment, ability to take initiative, integrity, trustworthiness, diplomacy, respect, and team collaboration.
  • Flexibility, collegiality, and an overall eagerness to move projects forward within a start-up and risk-taking team environment.
  • Ability to multitask and respond professionally in challenging situations are essential
  • Ability to work occasional evenings and weekends, as determined by project deadlines and in discussion with the Director of Strategic Research Initiatives.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Advanced degree strongly preferred. This preference can also be met by candidates currently pursuing an advanced degree.
  • At least two to four years of experience in fundraising and/or editorial communications, or a comparable combination of a PhD and grant writing experience.


Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran

Columbia University is committed to the hiring of qualified local residents.

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