Senior Pre-Award Administrator

Date: May 6, 2019

Location: Saudi Arabia

Company: King Abdullah University of Science & Technology

Position Summary:

The role is to manage and facilitate complex, multi-partnered and non-standard research applications to funders as well as proposal development and budgeting of all sponsored research activities in alignment with KAUST policies and procedures, in particular any approval processes required.


Major Responsibilities:

  • Manage and administer complex and non-standard research applications in reply to internal or external funding calls;
  • Develop and maintain pre-award processes and policies in particular with regards to costing, pricing and ethical compliance requirements;
  • Manage the application process for Call for Proposals and ensure all proposal submissions are in compliance with KAUST policies and follow a sound proposal approval process, in particular ensuring that applications are evaluated and priced in accordance with KAUST policy;
  • Work with international funders and KAUST sponsors;
  • Act as a gatekeeper and first point of contact when engaging with international funding agencies and industries;
  • Lead the budget and project negotiations with industrial partners;
  • Provide direct advice and assistance to faculty on sources of funding and the requirements of sponsors and develop individual search strategies for funding;
  • Identify and distribute funding opportunities for KAUST faculty;
  • In liaison with the Awards and Contracts Specialists, review sponsor’s terms and conditions for suitability of funding;
  • Work with faculty to ensure all funded research projects are channeled through and managed by the Research Services;
  • Advise faculty on how most effectively present applications to specific sponsors by ensuring that proposals meet sponsor expectations and regulations;
  • Ensure that research proposals are signed off in accordance with the applicable KAUST protocols and proposal alignment with KAUST strategies;
  • Provides the necessary reports to KAUST senior management;
  • Organize and run training programs and workshops for faculty on all aspects of budgeting, proposal development and other aspects of funded research activities;
  • In liaison with the Manager and other departments at KAUST establish sound costing and pricing processes for KAUST;
  • Work with the Awards and Contracts Specialists as well as other internal departments, in particular the Technology Transfer Office team on any intellectual property issues in research proposals;
  • Work with Contracts and Awards Specialists and the Post Award Team to establish an integrated, synergistic and cooperative relationship between the different units within the Research Services.



  • Excellent understanding of academic research and of research processes;
  • A wide knowledge of the sources of information on potential funding opportunities;
  • Experienced to interpret contracts and sponsors’ terms and conditions and implement processes to ensure compliance with contractual obligations;
  • Sound understanding of potential ethics and governance issues in research;
  • Experience to cost and price research projects and approval processes required in a higher education environment;
  • Ability to use financial IT systems preferably SAP;
  • Strong interpersonal, communications and presentation skills;
  • A well-developed approach to decision making coupled to strong influencing skills;
  • Demonstrated organizational and time management skills. Ability to manage multiple projects that require independent planning, organizing and prioritizing daily operations and projects in order to meet deadlines;
  • English proficiency in legal, business and scientific vocabularies;

Cross cultural sensitivity and awareness.



  • Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, preferably in science, engineering, business or in another area applicable to job requirements or a professional qualification of equivalent standing;
  • About 8-12 years of experience working in a relevant field, preferably in higher education;
  • Prior sound experience in developing and/or managing research-related projects or project funding is a must;
  • Experience in managing external research funding preferably in a Higher Education Environment with little supervision;
  • Experience of working in an international environment is desirable.