Research Center Operations Manager, Solar Durability and Lifetime Extension (SDLE)

Job description

Job Title: Research Center Operations Manager, Solar Durability and Lifetime Extension (SDLE)
Location: Case Main Campus
Regular/Temporary: Regular
Full/Part Time: Full-Time
Job ID: 8457
Job Description


Working with a high degree of independence and under general direction, the Solar Durability and Lifetime Extension (SDLE) Center Operations Manager will manage the administrative, business and operational activities of the SDLE Research Center to include leading the budgeting and forecasting processes, performing financial management, analysis, and reporting; and will manage the SDLE Core Facility, SDLE-associated major projects, including major awards, industry sponsored projects, and supports the Applied Data Science Minor. The Operations Manager acts as the point of contact for these major projects and activities. The Operations Manager will work closely with the Great Lakes Energy Institute Executive Director and the SDLE Research Center Principal Investigator as well as internal and external investigators on these awards, including those in academia, industry, national laboratories and at government installations.

Case Western Reserve University’s Great Lakes Energy Institute (GLEI) was created in 2008 to empower faculty, students and partners to catalyze breakthroughs in energy sustainability that address the most pressing problems facing our world. Since the Institute’s inception, CWRU has quintupled its level of energy-related research and has established credibility in attracting energy awards across funding agencies and with industry. Built on historical strengths in fundamentals ranging across the sciences, engineering, policy and business, university’s energy research unites disciplines. GLEI’s activities focuses on catalyzing growth in energy related research, technology commercialization, education, and outreach activities among the faculty and serves as the face for energy leadership at the university. The SDLE Research Center was established in 2011, and has since performed groundbreaking work in improving the durability and lifetime of solar energy materials by leveraging applied data science platforms. The SDLE Research Center Operations Manager will work closely with the Center Director, Institute Executive Director, GLEI advisory board, GLEI staff and university leadership to serve the mission and long term sustainability of the Institute and SDLE Research Center.


  1. Manage sponsored research projects, as assigned. During projects’ periods of performance, support investigators on major projects to deliver project outcomes on time, on budget and with the results expected by the grant-funding agency. Track and manage schedules proactively. Be familiar with the research goals and progress on those goals. Help to facilitate continuity of funding by focusing investigators on technical delivery and by providing exemplary financial and administrative management of the projects, in concert with department research administrators. Manage schedule of post-award reporting to ensure key dates are met and reporting is as expected by the funding agency. Develop, implement and conduct project management processes and procedures including scheduling, financial planning, reporting, forecasting, billing, due diligence and modeling, with linkage to the Dean’s Office Research Administration team. Facilitate the input and output required of the University’s Office of Research and Technology Management teams in support of financial reporting needs for the major grants. Support the development of a strong platform for project management sections of awards that can be used as a boiler plate for proposals. Engage SDLE Research Center faculty and students, as well as GLEI staff in projects as appropriate. Document best practices. (25%)
  2. Manage all SDLE Research Center Financial Operations. Develop the SDLE Budget and perform all-budget related tasks and processes. Plan the annual budget development process, to include soliciting input from all faculty, researchers and the Director, assimilating input, sharing results, eliminate duplication, and refining the request. Ensure available financial resources are accurately allocated across the Center budget, and meet short and long-term spending goals, as well as requirements of all restricted funded accounts. Enter the Center’s final budget into the CWRU budget tool, and develop presentations for CWRU and CSE leaders on the SDLE budget. Lead in the financial management responsibilities of the institute. Track and manage spending against the SDLE Center’s budget and accounts proactively. Work with the Case School of Engineering’s Dean’s Office on financial management of the Center. Facilitate the input and output required by the Dean’s Office in support of financial reporting needs. Reconcile all spending monthly and quarterly, and prepare quarterly report presentations to the Institute Director on the state and pace of spending, and any significant variances from the Institute budget. Oversee all procurement, reimbursement and invoicing for the SDLE Research Center in coordination with others at the university. Strategically prioritize major awards and manage these awards in collaboration with the director. (25%)
  3. Direct Business Development. Deliver and negotiate terms for non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), data use agreements (DUAs), sponsored research agreements, service agreements and legal contracts through those respective offices in support of the principal investigator for the major awards. Serve as liaison to the CWRU office of Technology Transfer regarding any major grants and ensure tech transfer and licensing arrangements are appropriately communicated and managed. Create industry partnership tactics and manage relationships to grow the center. Support the Institute proposal manager in developing sections for new grants in the areas of Project Management and industry collaboration. Develop and harness the power of relationships with centers, other schools within the university (e.g. Weatherhead, Arts & Sciences, and Law), universities, national laboratories and other entities. Liaise with industry partners, including financial process support and contract development and processing as well as creating new business development opportunities. (25%)Plan primary research center operations. Collaborate in school strategy discussions in conjunction with the dean’s office direct reports, including the associate dean for finance and administration and other leaders by developing and documenting financial assumptions for planning and forecasting for GLEI and SDLE Research Center. Develop and maintain long-range financial planning models tailored to varying program assumptions to be used in executive decision-making. In conjunction with the associate dean for finance and administration and related direct reports, identify key financial tools required for business decision support. Lead the development and management of the support tools in partnership with stakeholders. Integrate new decision support tools with existing processes, tools and analysis. Develop and maintain a calendar of financial processes, activities and deliverables. Coordinate information requests, analysis and review to ensure timely and quality submission of major deliverables and requirements. (10%)
  4. Manage and grow the Applied Data Science Minor program. Provide assistance to the faculty director of applied data science program with expertise and administrative responsibilities, including proposal writing, website management, recruiting new students, overseeing course descriptions and approvals by the registrar, developing marketing materials, and overall promotion of the ADS program. (10%)
  5. Communicate to stakeholders and relevant parties via all available media regarding major projects. Contribute to messaging and marketing including at major energy conferences, relevant meetings, web sites and associated events. Inform key governmental, corporate, and academic stakeholders about the projects’ research, progress and accomplishments. (4%)


Perform other duties as assigned (1%)


Department: Contact as needed with the Director of the Institute assigned, PI of the Center assigned, and with Case Western Reserve University faculty and staff. Contact as needed with staff in Case School of Engineering office of Administration and Finance, Research Administration, and Purchasing to discuss projects and processes and resolve questions.

University: Regular contact with staff in various central administrative offices such as University Relations, Office of Sponsored Projects Administration, Controller, Grants Accounting, Purchasing, Payroll, Human Resources, Facilities, and CWRU Technology Transfer Office. Regular contact with faculty and staff in other CWRU schools.

External: Regular contact with academic partner faculty, facilities, and administrative staff in a reporting context. Regular contact with local, regional and state agencies and organizations to report on financial matters. Regular contact with various external stakeholders, including company executives and donors.

Students: Responsibility for oversight of student interns and student employees including payroll and performance evaluations.


Direct supervision of Case Western Reserve University student interns, student employees, temporary staff and funded visiting fellows. Recruits, hires, supervises, and evaluates new team members and participates in the recruitment process for filling vacant positions at all other levels in the organization.


Experience: 5 or more years of experience in program management, research management, the development of technology, and experience with finance and operations in public and/or private organizations.

Education: Bachelor’s degree required. Master’s degree preferred.


  1. Proven organizational, administrative, and interpersonal skills, including the ability to interact on a professional level with faculty, staff, representatives from industry, government, and the community required.
  2. Strong analytical, project, and budget management skills and experience.
  3. Strong financial and accounting acumen.
  4. Resourceful self-starter with a client-centric commitment.
  5. Strong manager who is willing to assume responsibility and act independently, but also thrives in a team environment.
  6. Strong organizational, planning and execution skills. Able to manage complex information and processes in a timely and logical manner.
  7. Strong communication, presentation, and writing skills. Capable of explaining financial details but can articulate high level conclusions.
  8. Able to prioritize and work under pressure while remaining attentive to detail required.
  9. Content knowledge of energy such as grid, energy storage, solar, wind and oil/gas.
  10. Experience working with representatives in the advanced energy industry including governmental officials, non-profit agencies, and for-profit executives.
  11. Flexible, innovative and creative problem solver in a rapidly changing environment; seizes the initiative.
  12. Able to work effectively across departments and maintain productive relationships.
  13. Energy and engineering and science familiarity and project management.
  14. Excellent ability to convey organizational plans and project developments in writing and documents.
  15. Experienced and effective with proposal management, grants administration, and federal and/or state reporting.
  16. Proficient in Excel and other financial spreadsheet and database tools.
  17. Experience with process improvement techniques and strategies.
  18. Familiarity with CWRU financial and accounting policies, practices, systems and reports preferred.
  19. Ability to meet consistent attendance.
  20. Ability to interact with colleagues, supervisors, and customers face to face.


General work environment that include normal office activities, speaking engagements, faculty meetings. Travel as needed for meetings, workshops, conferences and other university business.

Diversity Statement

In employment, as in education, Case Western Reserve University is committed to Equal Opportunity and Diversity. Women, veterans, members of underrepresented minority groups, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.


Reasonable Accommodations

Case Western Reserve University provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. Applicants requiring a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the Office of Equity at 216-368-3066 to request a reasonable accommodation. Determinations as to granting reasonable accommodations for any applicant will be made on a case-by-case basis.





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Job No:
Posted: 10/6/2020
Application Due: 10/25/2020
Work Type: