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Grant administration career prospects

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Grant administration career prospects

Postby Tony Derten » Wed May 02, 2018 10:49 am

I am interviewing for a grant administration scientist position with a non-profit research funding org. Think Susan G. Komen, but much smaller. One big question that I have is the career prospects with this kind of experience. Any advice on what a Ph.D. with 3 years of such experience could do after?
Tony Derten
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:32 am

Re: Grant administration career prospects

Postby D.X. » Mon May 07, 2018 2:24 am

Hi Tony,

No one responded so I'll make the attempt. If you are going to a non-profit research funding org, chances are you'll be involved in to key activities from a Grants Administration perspective. First would be Fund Raising. Second could potentially be Grant funding.

In the first instance, you would mainly be in a grant writing role trying to secure funds from both private sector (i.e. seeking donations from pharma and other non-pharma corporate), and government/non government organization sources. I can imagine a heavy writing role here.

The second instance you would be receivng grant requests from either from academia or early stage start-ups to fund research - here your role would be to coordinate review and approval between stakeholders in the non-profit org to include senior members and perhaps external board members if relevant to that org. This second activity assumes that the non-profit org has a pool of funds available for this activity. Usually most small non-profits are in Fund Raising mode, usually always.

So your role would be to understand were you'll be having most of your time spent. I would ask questions on number of granst received, time on fund raising, and how they get grant solicitation and your role in that.

Career wise, you could move into a larger non-profit with more grant funding actitivities, though I dont' think you could ever get away from fund raising. You could also moving in other functions in non-profit or even look into NGOs depending on the experiences you get (depending on the roles you see inside the org you join). That you can only see once you're on the inside.

If you choose to move into pharma, then you are only really in grant funding mode, and you'll be under a "Grants and Donations" function, usually with high linked to Corporate Social Responsibilty activities. Here you'll looking a grants/donation requests both for charitable causes as well as Continuing Medical Education (not so much research, that's handled by another group with different processes). Note this is highly process driven role to include Grants Adminstration System management, i.e. an electronic system that will help you sheppard the grant/donation request through th process, you will learn certain compliance aspects (i.e. ensuring no risk for bribary/quid pro quo as well as transparency reporting). You role would be a high coordination role ensuring review between varios function to include legal, regulatory A&P functions, compliance, finance and medical. As mentioned is is highly processed procedure inside a pharma so knowing the compliance and reason for process will help you.

I have a few friends who have go into non-profits and stayed there. They liked it. You get to build up a big network of people and in general you get to feel good about what you do - it can be an upside to the job. A long time ago ...a long long time ago, i had an offer to join a non-profit with a 100 Million USD war-chest to support research funding (cool!) which I would help adminsiter over - but turned it down for reasons of stupidity. I have a professional relationship with the person who eventually got that job and I can see they're having a great time over these years.

Be aware you can get niched in the world of non-profit but good networking, self investment and being attentive to your career experiences can help mitigat (like any other job really).

All the best,

DX
D.X.
 
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Re: Grant administration career prospects

Postby Tony Derten » Tue May 08, 2018 9:46 am

Hi D.X.,

Thanks for your input. The position would actually manage grants and track progress of funded projects. There is no fundraising or grant writing as an explicit part of the job. It is more of being an interface between the organization and researchers seeking funds and those who are already funded.

The organization and mission are fantastic, but I am concerned about getting niched/sandboxed. Ultimately, I'd be open to being a lifer for the org if there is a solid promotion potential, or going back to research or crossing to the banking/investment side. I understand that the networking can be great at a non-profit but really wonder about the outside opportunities after developing such experience.

Tony
Tony Derten
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:32 am

Re: Grant administration career prospects

Postby D.X. » Wed May 09, 2018 2:25 am

Hi Tony,

Based on your post it seems you have other interest beyond Grants Administration/Tracking as you describe within a non-profit. Then that experience will be hard to port to banking/investing - other skills are needed. Forget going back to research, once you leave academia its very difficult to get back, and hard to get into an industry research role, if not, impossible.

So I think you need to go back and explore why you applied for that role - I would challenge that you need to do your homework on understanding where you want to focus your efforts career wise. That will dictate how you prepare.

There are promotion/lateral moves that can be done in non-profits orgs, some can be quite large and have organizational complexity as a business would (non-profit is kinda like there tax status and financial reporting defination, does not mean they don't operate like a business). However like anyother organization you join you are in charge of finding those opportunities and navigating accordingly. You need to ask those questions, just be advised in small non-profits movements can be hard as the air is thin - few roles, few people and little movement can be challenging.

My last piece of advice,really really think about the step you take as your first job outside of academia, don't just go for any role - if ther is something you're really really want, don't waste time and apply for positions that are irrelevent to your target job or job area - you're just being dumb at that point...pardon the bluntness. Have your target job then see if you can map the stepping stones, try to reasonably assess which jobs/experiences you can take that will get you there. And while you're on the path you choose, keep an open mind - once you're on a path you will definately learn of other jobs and opportunities that can also beomce in-focus for your further steps as well.

All the best,

DX
D.X.
 
Posts: 1212
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:29 pm


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