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Research Portfolio Manager

Harvard University

Harvard University

Posted on Saturday, April 6, 2024


Featured Job

Research Portfolio Manager

Faculty of Arts and Sciences


Job Summary

In the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, we research and teach how the collective behavior of molecules and cells forms the basis of life. We are driven by a passion for discovery and value collaborative approaches to scientific inquiry, where connections between people fuel interdisciplinary science and break boundaries across varied experimental systems. Against a backdrop of cutting-edge biological research, we work as a team of educators and mentors to inspire and train the next generation of scientists and global citizens. The Department has an opening for a Research Portfolio Manager who will be responsible for providing comprehensive pre- and post-award support to a portfolio of Principal Investigators (PIs), and postdoctoral fellows, and students of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB).

In this position, you will have the opportunity to work closely with some of the brightest scientific minds in the world. You will be a key contributor in obtaining the funding required to continue the groundbreaking science performed in our labs daily. You will be in charge of the full life cycle of funding sources with direct insight into how that funding is specifically being used to advance innovative research. There are also ample opportunities for professional development including conference attendance and access to professional affiliations as well as career advancement within the department and university.

Position Description

This position requires independent judgment and problem-solving skills to ensure compliance with sponsor and donor regulations, school and University policies, and department procedures. The Research Portfolio Manager (RPM) provides superior customer service to PIs and their lab members in support of research activities in a high volume, fast paced, and dynamic environment.

Pre-award responsibilities:

  • Proactively establish relationships with PIs, their Lab Administrators, and other lab members; maintain effective communication; and protect confidential information
  • Provide direct support to PIs and their lab members with proposal preparation, including budget development and assembly of supporting documentation and required institutional information
  • Shepherd supported proposals through the school and University proposal review and submission process
  • Facilitate award setup with the Office for Sponsored Programs
  • Schedule non-financial reports in the Grants Management Application Suite (GMAS)
  • Ensure compliance with federal regulations and University, school, and sponsor policies
  • Notify PIs of funding opportunities, providing information and application forms as necessary
  • Analyze and report sponsored funding trends

Post-award responsibilities:

  • Manage designated funding (sponsored and non-sponsored) for the PIs and their lab members. This includes complex financial management and analysis, compliance with university policy and sponsor's terms and conditions, and reporting.
  • Conduct monthly detailed financial analysis of portfolios and provide individual consulting to PIs
  • Strategize with PIs on resource and personnel allocations. Monitor balances, reconcile accounts, perform spending projections, and address ad hoc queries
  • Work closely with the PI and Office for Sponsored Programs to review new awards, set up budgets, and provide guidance on policy
  • Review and approve financial transactions, such as reimbursements for travel and corporate card payments, PCards, and Buy to Pay
  • Facilitate the effort certification process and advise the PI on related policies
  • Provide guidance to lab administrators on finance and sponsored research matters including systems, policies, and procedures
  • Implement local procedures, recommend process improvements, and resolve issues related to research funding
  • Advise and assist Principal Investigators (PIs) with sponsor policies and programmatic reporting requirements of the various funding organizations, including progress reports

Basic Qualifications

A minimum of three years' experience in pre- or post-award management required; a combination of education and experience may be considered.

Additional Qualifications and Skills

  • Excellent interpersonal and verbal and written communication skills
  • Associates degree in Accounting or Business
  • Exceptional customer service skills
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Computer proficiency with Excel and a strong knowledge of MS Office suite and current technologies
  • Procurement and/or accounting experience preferred
  • Experience with Harvard systems and procedures preferred, including Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, HART, and B2P
  • Strong attention to detail, ability to multitask, and work towards deadlines
  • Proven ability to work independently and collaboratively as part of a team
  • Ability to handle confidential information with discretion

Working Conditions

This position offers hybrid remote/in person work flexibility. There is an expectation that employees be able to work in person in Cambridge, MA.

The health of our workforce is a priority for Harvard University. With that in mind, we strongly encourage all employees to be up-to-date on CDC-recommended vaccines.

Additional Information

In order to be considered for this position, a cover letter and resume must be submitted.

All formal written offers will be made by FAS Human Resources.

We are unable to provide visa sponsorship for this position.

Work Format Details

This is a hybrid position that is based in Massachusetts. Additional details will be discussed during the interview process. All remote work must be performed within one of the Harvard Registered Payroll States, which currently includes Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Washington, and California (CA for exempt positions only). Certain visa types and funding sources may limit work location. Individuals must meet work location sponsorship requirements prior to employment.

About Us

At the core of the MCB Department is a commitment to foster an environment in which all individuals have the opportunity to thrive. It is our shared responsibility to create an inclusive culture, where we support and respect each other as colleagues. We embrace a diverse range of perspectives, expertise, identities, experiences, talents, and abilities. By continually strengthening this foundation of investing in the well-being of our people, we enable our community's growth and pursuit of the creative and innovative approaches that underlie scientific excellence.


We invite you to visit Harvard's Total Rewards website (https://hr.harvard.edu/totalrewards) to learn more about our outstanding benefits package, which may include:

  • Paid Time Off: 3-4 weeks of accrued vacation time per year (3 weeks for support staff and 4 weeks for administrative/professional staff), 12 accrued sick days per year, 12.5 holidays plus a Winter Recess in December/January, 3 personal days per year (prorated based on date of hire), and up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents who are primary care givers.
  • Health and Welfare: Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision benefits, disability and life insurance programs, along with voluntary benefits. Most coverage begins as of your start date.
  • Work/Life and Wellness: Child and elder/adult care resources including on campus childcare centers, Employee Assistance Program, and wellness programs related to stress management, nutrition, meditation, and more.
  • Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with contributions from 5% to 15% of eligible compensation, based on age and earnings with full vesting after 3 years of service.
  • Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive program including $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and reduced tuition through other participating Harvard graduate schools.
  • Tuition Reimbursement: Program that provides 75% to 90% reimbursement up to $5,250 per calendar year for eligible courses taken at other accredited institutions.
  • Professional Development: Programs and classes at little or no cost, including through the Harvard Center for Workplace Development and LinkedIn Learning.
  • Commuting and Transportation: Various commuter options handled through the Parking Office, including discounted parking, half-priced public transportation passes and pre-tax transit passes, biking benefits, and more.
  • Harvard Facilities Access, Discounts and Perks: Access to Harvard athletic and fitness facilities, libraries, campus events, credit union, and more, as well as discounts to various types of services (legal, financial, etc.) and cultural and leisure activities throughout metro-Boston.

Job Function


Department Office Location

USA - MA - Cambridge

Job Code

405007 Financial Professional (N)

Work Format

Hybrid (partially on-site, partially remote)




Molecular and Cellular Biology


55 - Hvd Union Cler & Tech Workers

Time Status


Pre-Employment Screening



Monday - Friday, 35 hours per week

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Harvard University views equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging as the pathway to achieving inclusive excellence and fostering a campus culture where everyone can thrive. We strive to create a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent to unify excellence and diversity while fully embracing individuals from varied backgrounds, cultures, races, identities, life experiences, perspectives, beliefs, and values.

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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