Careers at UMass Amherst

Proposal Development Specialist / Sr. Proposal Development Specialist (Remote/Hybrid Opportunity)

Apply now Job no: 518926
Work type: Staff Full Time
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: Research Development
Union: PSU
Categories: Sponsored Programs, Grants and Contracts, Research

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.


About Research & Engagement

The UMass Amherst community engages more than 30,000 students, 1,400 faculty, and 5,000 staff in 11 schools and colleges with a wide variety of degree programs, research, and public service. More than 800 faculty lead sponsored research projects in many areas from basic to applied are sponsored by federal, state, and private sources with expenditures of more than $200 million in 2021.


Job Summary

The Office of Research Development (ORD) Proposal Development Specialist / Senior Proposal Development Specialist advises and supports faculty on the design and preparation of large-scale research proposals and budgets, coordinates internal grant competitions, delivers capacity-building workshops, supports inclusive collaborations among faculty, and monitors the funding landscape for opportunities aligned with campus strengths. 


Essential Functions

  • Provides comprehensive proposal development services to principal investigators and teams pursuing external research funding. Assists in developing competitive proposals by providing funding opportunity analysis, producing writing outlines, guides, and timelines, reviewing proposed drafts, preparing budgets, drafting supplementary documentation, editing, and providing overall detail management of the proposal preparation and tracking of internal deliverables to ensure deadlines are met.
  • Implements the application and review process for internal funding competitions and limited submission opportunities including outreach to prospective faculty applicants, review of applications, selection of reviewers, and delivery of information sessions.
  • Promotes collaborations and inclusive teaming advising investigators on developing the diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) elements of proposals. Participates in campus working groups and provides proposal development support for diversity programs.
  • Delivers workshops and programs to provide information about best practices for research development. Develops toolkits, including sample language and guidance documents, to aid and expedite proposal development.
  • Conducts critical analysis of funding agency programs, opportunity announcements, previous awardees, news and trends. Utilizes grant-seeking tools and provides guidance in their use for faculty and staff. Builds knowledge of campus research strengths through developing working relationships with staff and faculty.

Senior Proposal Development Specialist has the following additional essential functions:

  • Assumes staff leadership roles, including:
    • Serves as team lead for strategic proposal development and special projects;
    • Provides guidance to principal investigators (PIs) and faculty teams on grantsmanship, strategic planning, visioning, management planning, and setting goals;
    • Develops reports, presentations, and recommendations for future funding targets;
    • Liaisons with external consultants providing proposal development support to research faculty;
    • Produces faculty trainings on proposal development strategies and funding agency programs;
    • Makes data-driven reports and presentations that contribute to strategic planning for priority research initiatives.
  • Makes recommendations on strategies and business process improvements for proposal development, internal funding programs, prospecting and capacity building programs.
  • Provides mentorship and guidance to the Proposal Development Specialist drawing on professional knowledge of best practices in research development.


Other Functions

  • Performs other related duties as assigned.


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Ability to write clear, engaging, persuasive text combined with strong editing skills.
  • Possesses strong attention to detail, timeliness in meeting firm deadlines and other organizational skills.

Proposal Development Specialist has the following additional minimum qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree and one (1) year of related experience. Advanced degree (Master's or Doctoral) may be substituted for experience.

Senior Proposal Development Specialist has the following additional minimum qualifications:

  • Graduate degree.
  • At least five (5) years’ experience in research development.


Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

Proposal Development Specialist has the following preferred qualifications:

  • Advanced degree.
  • Experience that reflects successful proposal writing in academia or industry.
  • Experience with collaborative teamwork.
  • Strong presentation skills.
  • Experience in higher education and sponsored programs.

Senior Proposal Development Specialist has the following preferred qualifications:

  • PhD or terminal degree.
  • Experience with scientific and/or technical writing and editing.
  • Experience developing multi-investigator or multi-institution grant applications.
  • Knowledge of federal grants websites and award databases.
  • Experience planning events/seminars/workshops for large groups, including development of agendas and active facilitation of such events.
  • An open collaborative style that promotes partnerships and the ability to build strong relationships across constituents.


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

  • Typical office environment.
  • May be required to work some nights/weekends.


Work Schedule

  • Monday - Friday, 8am - 5pm.
  • This position has the opportunity for a hybrid work schedule, which is defined by the University as an arrangement where an employee’s work is regularly performed at a location other than the campus workspace for a portion of the week. As this position falls within the Professional Staff Union, it is subject to the terms and conditions of the Professional Staff Union collective bargaining agreement.
  • This position has the opportunity for a remote work schedule, which is defined by the University as an arrangement where the employee’s work location is to work from a site other than the UMass Amherst campus. As this position falls within the Professional Staff Union, it is subject to the terms and conditions of the Professional Staff Union collective bargaining agreement.


Salary Information

Proposal Development Specialist: Level 26

Senior Proposal Development Specialist: Level 28

PSU Hiring Ranges


Special Instructions to Applicants

Along with the application, please submit a resume, cover letter, and contact information for three (3) professional references. The search will remain open until filled.


UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

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