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Career management for Research Administrators

The Career Management for Research Administrators page contains key information on career opportunities and advancement for current and future Duke employees in the field of research administration.

Research Administrator Job Descriptions 

Access a summary of jobs (netID required) in the Grants and Contract Administrator classification.

Setting Salaries and Extending Offers for Research Administrators

Access guidance below on setting salaries and extending offers for Research Administrators. Associated templates, forms, and policies are located in the Related Resources section.
Required Information

The following information will need to be provided to the Provost’s management center and the Medical Center management center (SoM and SoN) for salary review and approval:

  • Resume for candidate*
  • Calculation of education and experience
  • Certifications held
  • Proposed tier (Grants and Contracts Administrator only)
  • Internal equity (employee name, job title, tier, education, experience, certifications, current salaries, and other incumbents within the same classification)
  • Desired salary

*Resume will need to include the following information:

  • Complete list of all positions held by the employee
  • Each position should list the start and end date for that role (including month and year)
  • Part-time positions should be identified
  • Information on the duties and responsibilities for each of the positions should be listed on the resume
  • All education should be listed (including the month and year it was completed)
  • Access a sample PDF resume in the "Related Resources" section of this page
Relevant Education and Experience Guidelines

Relevant Education Guidelines

  • Employees should receive credit for relevant education above the minimum qualifications. For the exempt grants and contracts job classifications, Masters = additional 2 years of experience credit, Doctorate = additional 3 years of experience credit.
  • Employees may receive credit for international education and experience; education should be validated by a professional organization that evaluates educational credentials from other countries in terms of education at accredited institutions in the United States (example: Education International, Inc.). This experience & education will be reviewed on an individual basis.

Relevant Experience Guidelines

  • Experience must be in a paid position (no experience credit provided for volunteer work or internships that are part of a degree program)*
  • Experience in a part-time position should be pro-rated based on FTE
  • Experience in a position that is only partially grants and contracts (40%-75% of the role) should be given 50% of the credit outlined below
  • Experience should be counted in years and months
  • To make sure the dates do not overlap, SuccessFactors needs to require the applicant to indicate the month and year for the experience
  • If someone has a partial month credit because you have provided partial credit, round up. Ex. 5 years and 2.5 months = 5 years 3 months. The rounding should take place once the total relevant experience has been calculated.

 

* With prior approval from the management centers, work experience credit may be recognized for certain unpaid relevant experience such as Teach for America and Peace Corps.

 

Direct and Indirect Experience

Direct Experience

  • Prior experience that is the same or very similar to the responsibilities outlined in the Duke job description

Examples of Direct Experience

Experience Sr. Grants &
Contracts
Manager
Grants &
Contracts
Manager
Grants &
Contracts
Administrator
Research
Administration
Specialist
Grants and Contracts - Management (full-time grants administration and managing staff) Full Full Full Full
Grants and Contracts -  Administrator (full-time grants administration responsibilities) Full Full Full Full
Grants and Contracts - Support (providing full-time support to grants administrator) Full Full Full Full
Grants and Contracts - Other (full time positions in Financial Analysis, Compliance, Export Control, Research Administration) Full Full Full Full

 

Indirect Experience

  • Prior work experience that is indirectly relevant to the responsibilities outlined in the Duke job description. Responsibilities support research but are not necessarily referenced in the Duke job descriptions for research administration

Examples of Indirect Experience

Experience Sr. Grants &
Contracts
Manager
Grants &
Contracts
Manager
Grants &
Contracts
Administrator
Research
Administration
Specialist
Management: Managerial experience that primarily supervises a group of employees with hire, fire, performance management, salary setting, etc. Partial, not to exceed half Partial, not to exceed half Partial, not to exceed half Partial, not to exceed half
Other: experience primarily (75% or more of the time) performing duties related to financial reporting, banking, accounting, etc.  Half Half Half Half
         
Indirect Experience - No Credit: Other secretarial or administrative office experience including general office work No Credit No Credit No Credit No Credit

Guidelines also apply to central department classifications: Associate Director, Research Administration, Research Administration Manager & Research Administrator

Examples:

  • Lawyers: if practicing law related to contracts, regulatory, compliance, it may be appropriate to provide full credit
  • Librarians: if practicing as a Research Librarian, it may be appropriate to provide full credit
  • If performing clinical research, IRB, regulatory, compliance work, it may be appropriate to provide full credit
  • Research: if conducting research and also submitting grants for their research, it may be appropriate to provide partial credit.

Career Progression: Grants & Contracts Administrator

Tiers are used to differentiate among the Grants & Contracts Administrator classifications. These Tiers are based on an individual's proficiency, years of experience and training/certification accomplishments within the role of the Grants and Contracts Administrator.
Tier Details
  • Employees must maintain the certification and training requirements for the job classification and tier.
  • New hires to Duke can be hired into the Associate, Advanced, or Senior tiers. New hires cannot be hired into the Team Leader. New hires have 12 months to complete RAA and an additional 6 months to complete AGM (if required for their tier).  If the requirements are not met, the employee may receive a pay and tier reduction.
  • Failure to meet/maintain the RAA requirement will be addressed through the performance review process.
  • If an employee does not maintain the certifications for the Advanced, Senior, and Team Lead tiers, the tier will be reduced and the employee’s salary will typically be reduced.
  • A typical pay increase for a tier promotion is 5%. If an increase of greater than 5% is warranted due to equity and other factors, approval is required by the management center. An increase may be less than 5% due to internal equity.
  • The need for a Lead is determined by the Business Manager. It may not be needed in every unit. Generally, there is no more than 1 lead/unit.
  • The Lead role reflects an individual’s advanced competencies as well as responsibilities for mentoring and developing staff.
  • The Lead may or may not carry the same responsibilities as a full supervisor.
  • The pay increase for a Lead applies only for the period the individual serves in the Lead capacity and is removed if s/he transfers or steps down from the Lead role.
Tier Advancement
  • During both the annual performance review and mid-year performance review, the manager should discuss the certification and training requirements for the position and the tiers with each incumbent as part of their individual development plan.
  • In late July/early August, R&R will provide the management centers with a tier advancement template that will include the Grants and Contracts Administrators and their current tiers.
  • In order to be eligible for tier advancement, the Grants and Contracts Administrator must meet the training requirements by June 30th.
  • By mid-September, managers will submit requests for tier advancement to the Dean’s offices in the University and the SoM Management Center for further review.
  • If approved, the working title changes and increases for tier advancement will typically be effective October 1 (processed via rate and schedule change form).
  • If employees no longer meet the requirements of the tier, their tier will be reduced and it may impact their salary.

       *A timeline will be provided by the management centers with specific dates

  Expected Function of the Tier Years of Relevant Exp. Training/ Certification Requirements Performance Accelerator (no NI) Recommendation for Professional Development Typical Pay Increase* Comments
Associate Proficient as a grants and contracts administrator 0 RAA (within 12 months)   North Carolina Chapter of the Society of Research Administrators International (NCSRA), Symposium attendance   Must complete required continuing education to maintain active certification(s) as outlined by Research Costing Compliance.
Required to Advance     AGM achievement OR completion of two additional electives toward AGM beyond the cont. education requirements        
Advanced Experienced, highly capable, and requires minimal oversight of work 3 years RAA required and AGM (AGM within 12 months – must enroll in AGM prior to taking AGM classes) 2 Exceeds evaluations reduces years of relevant experience to 2 year minimum. CRA certification can reduce years of experience to 2 years. Certified Research Administrator (CRA) prep, NCSRA 5% Must complete required continuing education to maintain active certification(s) as outlined by Research Costing Compliance.
Senior Subject matter expert; role model; may be responsible for mentoring and developing others 6 years RAA and AGM required. Expected to attend all the appropriate Internal updates 4 Exceeds evaluations reduces years of relevant experience to 5 year minimum. CRA certification can reduce years of experience to 5 years. National or Regional NCURA, Society of Research Administrators International (SRA) 5% Must complete required continuing education to maintain active certification(s) as outlined by Research Costing Compliance.
Team Leader Advanced tier competencies and responsibilities for mentoring and developing staff. Oversees work of others. May/may not carry same responsibilities as a full supervisor 3 years RAA and AGM required. Expected to attend all the appropriate Internal updates 2 Exceeds evaluations reduces years of relevant experience to 2 year minimum. CRA certification can reduce years of experience to 2 years. National or Regional National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA), SRA 5% Must complete required continuing education to maintain active certification(s) as outlined by Research Costing Compliance.

* An increase may be less than 5% due to internal equity. If an increase of greater than 5% is warranted due to equity and other factors, approval is required by the management center. Rev 10/1/2018

Transfers (Research Administrators)

A lateral transfer occurs when a staff member assumes a job that has a midpoint comparable to the staff member’s present job. A lateral transfer generally does not change the staff member’s pay rate, as there is no increase in job level or responsibility.

Below are the guidelines to help determine if an employee transferring into the traditional grade and range structure from the grants and contracts titles will be viewed as a lateral transfer, promotion, or demotion:

Transferring from a Grants and Contracts Title to the Traditional Grade and Range Structure

Present Department New Department Action Determination
Grants and Contracts Title Traditional Grade and Range* Promotion The midpoint is at least 10% higher than the staff member's current rate of pay.
Grants and Contracts Title Traditional Grade and Range* Transfer The midpoint is within 10% of the staff member’s current rate of pay.
Grants and Contracts Title Traditional Grade and Range* Demotion The midpoint is at least 10% less than the staff member’s current rate of pay.

*Grants and Contracts titles include the following:

Job Code Job Title
2627 RESEARCH ADMINISTRATOR
2628 RESEARCH ADMINISTRATION MANAGER
2629 ASSOC DIR, RESEARCH ADMINISTRATION
2647 GRANTS AND CONTRACTS ADMINISTRATOR
2648 GRANTS AND CONTRACTS MANAGER
2649 SENIOR GRANTS AND CONTRACTS MANAGER