Director, Office of Proposal Development

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Department: Office of Proposal Development
Work type: staff full-time exempt
Location: Alabama
Categories: Research Administration

Purpose of the Position:

The Director of the Office of Proposal Development reports to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development and is responsible for increasing the University’s competitiveness for capturing extramural funding opportunities that are aligned with the University’s research objectives. The Director manages the day-to-day functions of the Office for Proposal Development, which provides expert guidance and service to UAH faculty and research staff in helping identify competitive extramural grant and contract opportunities, build competitive teams to pursue extramural grant and contract opportunities, and assist with the design and development of competitive proposals that will be submitted directly to funding sponsors or a partner leading a proposal submission. The incumbent will help ensure that major proposals delivered to funding sponsors and proposal partners are of the highest quality, compelling written, and maximally responsive to the solicitation. The Director is responsible for the management of the budget, staff, processes, and effectiveness of the Office for Proposal Development in service to the University’s Colleges and Research Centers. The proposal-related activities will be primarily related to capturing substantive and highly impactful research opportunities for the university, but will also assist with smaller proposal opportunities as available.


• Manage the vision and leadership for the University’s Office of Proposal Development (OPD).
• Manage identify and disseminate potential funding opportunities that are aligned with the research capabilities and growth interests of the University research enterprise.
• Manage the identification and pursuit of planning grants that would enhance the university’s competitiveness for securing large-scale federal funding.
• Direct the end-to-end development of moderately to highly complex proposals that are aligned with the strategic interests of the University research enterprise and assigned to OPD.
• Manage the determination of informed bid/no bid decisions for proposal opportunities.
• Manage proposal development and business capture for large, impactful proposals, including teaming strategies, partner negotiations, business intelligence collection, proposal writing, editing, professional-quality graphic illustration, production, internal and external review, oral presentation, and site visit preparation, from assignment and receipt of the RFP through award selection by the funding sponsor.
• Identify and communicate proposal-related resource requirements and proposal development/delivery status to university leadership, as appropriate.
• Manage the development of, and sustained focus on, a strong value proposition, strategic win themes, competitive discriminators, and outcome metrics for proposals as assigned.
• Manage and lead proposal development meetings such as kick-off meetings, budget and pricing strategy meetings, and both tactical and strategic reviews.
• Provide detailed guidance to proposal contributors; manage writing assignments and the receipt of all proposal materials from proposal authors and teaming partners within a proposal development timeline.
• Monitor and remain current on all amendments/modifications to the solicitation for assigned proposals.
• Determine consulting services requirements needed to maximize proposal competitiveness, prepare consultant agreements as needed, and monitor the performance of any consultants that might be used in support of proposal development.
• Manage internal competitions for internal funding programs and limited submission funding opportunities, including the development of the internal calls for proposals, the review of internal proposals, and the development of selection recommendations.
• Maintain a familiarity with federal agency funding trends, strategies, and priorities, and arrange and host campus and virtual visits from, and to, funding agency representatives.
• Build awareness of OPD services within the university’s colleges and research centers.
• Manage individual faculty members and research staff with proposal review, editorial, and design services as they conceptualize, develop, and write grant proposals to government agencies and other entities for research funding.
• Maintain and provide access to the University repository of templates, toolkits, and guides for commonly used proposal components, such as Postdoctoral Mentoring Plans, Data Management Plans, Responsible Conduct of Research Plans, Current and Pending Support Templates, and CV and Biography Templates for common major agencies including NSF, NIH, DOE, NEH, NEA, EDA, NASA, and DOD.
• Provide training opportunities to improve the proposal writing and proposal development skills of the university’s faculty and research staff.
• Identify and implement programming opportunities to foster a culture of collaboration, creativity, and innovation across the university’s colleges and research centers.
• Directly supervise and evaluate the performance of personnel employed within OPD.
• Participate in professional organizations to stay current on the best practices in proposal development.
• Serve on university committees as appropriate.
• Other duties as assigned by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

Minimum Requirements:

• Bachelor’s degree in a technical discipline from an accredited university.
• 7-10 years of progressively relevant experience (collaborative work experience in the proposal development or capture management field is preferred).
• Exceptional analysis, critical thinking, problem-solving, organizational, and time management skills.
• Familiarity with the federal funding landscape for research-intensive universities.
• A deep understanding of the proposal preparation and submission process for major federal funding agencies.
• Demonstrable experience with strategizing, writing, reviewing, and editing successful complex and technical proposals.
• Experience with university-industry collaboration.
• Proficiency with the use of computer software for word processing, developing spreadsheets, and developing presentations.
• Comfortable with the use of collaboration tools such as Zoom, Teams, and Webex.
• Energy level conducive to leading and working in a deadline-driven environment.
• Superior verbal communication, written communication, and presentation skills.
• Ability to travel occasionally.
• Ability to obtain and hold a U.S. government-issued Personnel Security Clearance.

Desired Qualifications:

• Advanced or Terminal degree from an accredited university.
• 7+ years of full-time verifiable work experience in the proposal development field working with researchers at a research-intensive university to develop successful proposals to major federal funding agencies.
• A strong understanding of the federal funding landscape for research-intensive universities.
• Experience with engaging program/project managers at various federal agencies.
• Familiarity with various sponsoring agency submission mechanisms and electronic research administration systems.
• Basic understanding of grants administration, policies, and procedures; basic understanding of Uniform Guidance and the FAR; basic understanding of federal regulatory compliance requirements including conflict of interest, export controls, and research involving animals and humans.
• Understanding of topics such as intellectual property rights, facilities and administration costs, and cost-sharing within the context of academia, and the ability to explain university positions on these topics.
• Experience with managing a university’s limited submission process.
• Experience with university collaboration with national laboratories.
• Experience with the direct supervision of employees.
• Certification in Capture Management, or an Active Membership in a national-level research development organization such as NORDP.

Published Salary (if available):


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