Federal Contracts Manager and Senior Contracts Officer - Office of Sponsored Projects, OVPR

Carnegie Mellon | Pittsburgh, PA

Posted Date 9/02/2021
Description Carnegie Mellon University is dedicated to creating and disseminating knowledge through research. The Office of Sponsored Programs (“OSP”) contributes directly to this mission by providing comprehensive support to faculty and staff in the administration of externally sponsored research.

The Federal Contracts Manager and Senior Contracts Officer (“Federal Contracts Manager”) has managerial responsibility for federal contract functional areas in OSP. The Federal Contracts Manager, in conjunction with the Associate Director(s), OSP Manager and Senior Contracts Officer(s), and Executive Director, leads the proposal submission and negotiation of complex federal awards, and provides training and guidance on substantive federal contractual issues and terms, and applicable University policy.

Core responsibilities will include:

  • Manages proposal, contracting, and subcontracting processes related to complex federal funding awards (including federal pass-throughs), and shepherds proposals, awards, and subcontracts through full lifecycle from concept to completion.
  • Leads the negotiation of complex federal contracts and subcontracts, and related agreements. Reviews legal and contractual issues of proposed agreements. Revises and negotiates agreements to comply with University policies and relevant laws, and to reduce institutional risk. Prepares and negotiates modifications to agreements.
  • Reviews, analyzes and interprets US Government contract terms and conditions.
  • Drives the creation or revision of policies and procedures to keep up with evolving requirements.
  • Interprets and clarifies policies, procedures and regulations to ensure consistent administration and compliance. Provides guidance in ambiguous policy situations. Works with next level of management as appropriate.
  • Supports and mentors junior staff in their agreement reviews and negotiations.
  • Creates project teams and delegates appropriate responsibilities to maximize effectiveness.
  • Provides direction to OSP staff as assigned.
  • Establishes priorities and develops project plans and executes own and/or assigned team work. Supervises junior staff in prioritization efforts. Revises priorities and plans as appropriate. Ensures adherence to deadlines.
  • Supervises project team progress and holds team accountable toward fulfillment of goals. Ensures adherence to deadlines.
  • Collects relevant information from faculty, other internal stakeholders and/or other parties to ensure that agreements accurately reflect the nature of the desired collaborations and address relevant legal and/or compliance issues.
  • Identifies issues for review and approval by various internal compliance partners, and shepherds agreements through the approval process.
  • Identifies and prepares any necessary documentation, materials or information in support of agreements and sponsored activities.
  • Assists and provides guidance to all functional units within the Office of Sponsored Programs.
  • Acts as the lead representative for designated federal awards and manages the assigned agreement workload.
  • Trains and supports junior staff.
  • Creates and presents training programs for University community.
  • Provides input for the development and/or improvement of procedures/processes for reviewing and negotiating research related agreements.
  • Provides input for the development and/or improvement of procedures/processes for managing compliance with agreement terms.
  • Works collaboratively with University Government Relations as well as University Advancement and responds to requests to assist in discussions and provide guidance on engagements with potential funders.
  • Provides back-up support to colleagues on the Contracts Team.
  • Provides excellent customer service to the University community. Leads customer service initiatives.
  • Monitors communications with stakeholders. Assists in the monitoring and maintenance of the OSP mailbox.
  • Documents and monitors the proposal and contract negotiation lifecycle through regular communications with stakeholders and updates to appropriate databases.
  • Manages special projects and other tasks as assigned by supervisor.


Master’s Degree or Bachelor's Degree plus federal contracting experience.

At least 5+ years of government contract experience.

Working knowledge and understanding of all aspects of an academic research enterprise.

Demonstrated knowledge of FAR, DFAR, Uniform Guidance (including Subrecipient Monitoring and Risk Assessment), and export control regulations.

Analytical skills, negotiation skills, oral and written communication skills, organization and planning skills, problem-solving and reasoning skills.

Active (or ability to obtain) Secret or Top Secret security clearance.

Preferred qualifications:

Master's Degree or Professional Degree (JD).

At least 2+ years’ experience negotiating complex contracts.

Experience with university research administration, including Requirements for Pass-Through Entities.

Contracts certification (CPCM, CFCM or CCCM).

You should demonstrate:

  • Ability to work well with others and/or as part of a team.
  • Ability to work with sensitive information, maintain confidentiality and use discretion.
  • Ability to meet deadlines, prioritize multiple assignments, and work under pressure with frequent interruptions.
  • Ability to manage conflict.
  • Strong negotiation, drafting, oral and written communication skills, including excellent customer service skills.
  • Walking and standing, bending and lifting are occasionally required. May be required to travel to and work at various locations on campus.


  • Successful background check


Pittsburgh, PA

Job Function


Position Type

Staff – Regular

Full Time/Part time

Full time

Pay Basis


More Information:

  • Please visit Why Carnegie Mellonto learn more about becoming part of an institution inspiring innovations that change the world.
  • Click here to view a listing of employee benefits
  • Carnegie Mellon University is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Disability/Veteran.
  • Statement of Assurance

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