Department: Office Sponsored Research Salary/Grade: EXS/9
As a professional staff member of Northwestern Sponsored Research (SR), the Contracts Officer is integrally involved in the review and analysis of complex contractual issues including the preparation, drafting, review, redlining, and negotiation of sponsored research contracts and related agreements that require advanced knowledge of University, sponsor, and Federal regulations and policy. The Contracts Officer will manage a range of research agreements with federal, corporate, and private industry, subcontracts, and associated agreements pertaining to nondisclosure, confidentiality, licensing, data use, and material transfer for all academic departments on Northwesterns Chicago, Evanston and Doha, Qatar campuses.
The Contracts Officer interfaces with a number of individuals in SR, in other Northwestern offices and departments, and outside the university.Incoming agreements and proposals may come from Senior Contract Officers in OSR, from the faculty members proposing the research, or from the entities seeking to sponsor the research.The Contracts Officer works with these individuals and coordinates compliance with the Universitys Innovations and New Ventures (INVO) office, Office of Corporate Relations, Office of General Counsel, Institutional Review Board (IRB), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and others.Reporting to the Assistant Director, Contracts & Negotiations, the Contracts Officer has autonomy and ownership over particular agreements, transactions, relationships, and issues.
Northwestern Sponsored Research is committed to being BRAVE (Battling Racism and Valuing Equity). Through deliberate words and actions, we endeavor to confirm to our colleagues that we see them and acknowledge their humanity and value.
The Contracts Officer will support the Office for Research mission and values by exhibiting the following: understand empathy, model accountability, ensure fairness, embrace community, and value creativity. The incumbent will strive to provide excellent service when performing job responsibilities.
Note: (a) Not all aspects of the job are covered by this job description. (b) The primary work location for this position is Chicago, Illinois (travel to other campuses is required to foster necessary relationships). For the immediate term, the interview process and position will be remote including virtual interviews, remote onboarding, and remote work. The remote nature of this position is temporary. Local, on-campus work will be required once the University and this role resume an operational status that supports it.
Contract and Agreements Negotiation and Acceptance:
�Draft various complex contracts, subcontracts, and other legal documents.
�Negotiate terms and conditions for industry basic, applied and development research contracts, master research agreements, material transfer agreements, confidentiality agreements, letters of indemnification, novation agreements for sponsored projects, termination agreements for sponsored projects, subcontract agreements for sponsored projects, and other award instruments. In this capacity, Contracts Officer assumes responsibility for differentiating between negotiable positions and absolute requirements.
�Accept contracts and awards exercising appropriate delegated signatory authority.
�Develop knowledge base of Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and analyze proposed agreements to determine whether clauses in the prime agreement should properly flow down to Northwestern and, if not, negotiate such revisions or waivers with the other party.
�Conduct comprehensive analyses of provisions regarding intellectual property ownership and licensing, publication and confidentiality, liability, indemnification, warranty, export control, choice of law, scope of work, deliverables, and budgeting.
�Conduct negotiations to ensure an appropriate balance between the needs of the sponsor with those of the PI and the University.Clearly and concisely, convey University positions and the rationale for these positions to sponsors while working to maintain good sponsor relations.
�Identify issues during research negotiations in which Northwesterns position and/or goals diverge from the sponsoring entity, work with Contracts & Negotiations Managers and Directors, as appropriate, to favorably resolve those issues, and assist with alerting more senior management when resolution is not able to be reached in a timely manner or when there are issues that are broad-based or potentially applicable to or problematic in other situations.
�Solicit input from principal investigators and other central administrative offices, such as IRB, IACUC, Technology Transfer, Financial Operations, General Counsel, and Risk Management as appropriate.
�Advise principal investigators and their staff of unusual or problematic terms, coordinate plans of action, and keep informed of negotiation process.
�Work with Grants Officers, Coordinators and Assistants to ensure that each sponsored project has the appropriate University approvals for human subject research, animal use, and if applicable, indirect cost waivers prior to execution.
Agency and Industry Liaison:
�Maintain ongoing liaison with funding entity personnel to enhance ongoing research relationship.
�Monitor proposed and imposed modifications in sponsor regulations, requirements, and policies.
Training, Professional Development, and Other Duties:
�Work with SR management team and other central and University units to develop training programs and materials on sponsored research related topics such as working with sponsors, industry, patents, and intellectual property.
�Provide support to investigators and Grants Officers in the proposal review and submission process for sponsored research proposals.
�Ensure that proposals and terms of award adhere to university, agency, and federally mandated requirements.
�Assist in education and training meetings, specialized training seminars, and staff professional development and participate actively in staff meetings and departmental working groups.
�Participate actively in national and regional research administration organizations and activities, with an emphasis on continuously enhancing job knowledge and skills.
�Represent Sponsored Research and the University as part of working groups.
Minimum Qualifications: (Education, experience, and any other certifications or clearances)
�A Juris Doctor or MBA from an accredited institution.
�1-3 years Experience negotiating government, industry, and non-profit agreements and contracts.
�Prior transactional legal experience: drafting, redlining, and negotiating contracts and agreements.
Minimum Competencies: (Skills, knowledge, and abilities.)
�Demonstrated knowledge of generally accepted contracting and subcontracting principles, practices and issues (e.g., indemnification, intellectual property, publication) related to institutions of higher education).
�Working knowledge of federal and international regulatory requirements and guidelines involving research.
�Ability to read statements of work, and other accompanying documentation to understand the research and communicate potential contractual or regulatory issues.
�Working knowledge of FAR clauses applicable to agreements with educational institutions.
�Knowledge of general management principles and practices, skill in dealing with others in work relationships involving mentoring, teamwork, conflict resolution
Northwestern University is a major private research university with 12 academic divisions located on three campuses in Evanston, Chicago, and Education City in Doha, Qatar. We have approximately 2,500 full-time faculty members, 17,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and over 5,700 full and part-time staff. Northwestern University combines innovative teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment. It provides students and faculty exceptional opportunities for intellectual, personal and professional growth.