Search for the Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) seeks an experienced and collaborative leader to serve as the Director of Sponsored Programs.

The Director will join the University at a pivotal moment as it embarks on expanding research, scholarship, and creative activity efforts in Nebraska and beyond to accomplish the N2025 strategic plan. UNL is a leading world-class research university with a deep commitment to its land-grant mission, consistently recognized for its value and access to the citizens of Nebraska and beyond.


Dr. Robert G. (Bob) Wilhelm joined the University in 2018 as the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development, after previously serving as a vice chancellor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Earlier in his career, Wilhelm worked at the Palo Alto Laboratory of Rockwell Science Center and Cincinnati Milacron as well as co-founding a high-tech company, OpSource. He is a recognized expert in precision engineering and advanced manufacturing. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and the International Academy for Production Engineering. In Charlotte, he led the reorganization of the University Research Park as chair of University City Partners, worked to define a statewide agenda for research and innovation, and served on the North Carolina Board of Science, Technology, and Innovation.  For more information about the Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED), visit

Dr. Ronnie D. Green is UNL’s 20th Chancellor. Prior to being named Chancellor in 2016, Green served for six years as the Harlan Vice Chancellor of the UNL Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources of the University of Nebraska system. Green has served on the animal science faculties of Texas Tech University and Colorado State University, and as the national program leader for animal production research for the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and executive secretary of the White House’s interagency working group on animal genomics within the National Science and Technology Council.

Under the Chancellor’s leadership, the University embarked on a 25-year vision (N150 Vision) and launched the first five-year (N2025) strategic plan in 2020, beginning an aggressive agenda that is built upon six distinct aims: 1) innovate student experiences that prepare graduates to be lifelong learners and contributors to the workforce in Nebraska and the world; 2) establish a culture at Nebraska committed to increasing the impact of research and creative activity; 3) focus research, scholarship, creative activity, and student experiences to foster innovative, interdisciplinary endeavors and solve challenges critical to Nebraska and the world; 4) broaden Nebraska’s engagement in community, industry, and global partnerships; 5) create a climate that emphasizes, prioritizes, and expands inclusive excellence and diversity; and 6) prioritize participation and professional development for all Nebraska students, staff, and faculty.


The Director of Sponsored Programs serves as the institutional official responsible for submitting, negotiating and accepting awards and contracts on behalf of the Board of Regents, including all related financial reports. The Director serves on the Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) Leadership Team.

The Director’s primary responsibility is to lead the Office of Sponsored Programs, which is charged with managing all aspects of sponsored programs, from proposal submission to award closeout and audit. The Director will provide authoritative advice to staff, researchers, and administrators.

Responsibilities include:


This position requires strong interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work collaboratively with internal and external constituencies. The successful candidate will have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, management, or a related field plus five years of successful management and leadership experience in roles of increasing responsibility.

The Director must have knowledge of federal circulars; state and federal statutes as they pertain to grants and contracts; knowledge of theory and practice of accounting principles, practices, methods, and procedures; and be familiar with database programs and electronic management systems.

Priority will be given to candidates who have earned a master’s degree in accounting, finance, management or a related field; prior experience with sponsored programs or research administration; knowledge of federal rules and regulations, including Uniform Guidance, federal acquisition regulations, State of Nebraska contracting rules, and cost accounting standards as they pertain to higher education; experience with,,, the NIH Commons and other federal systems; knowledge and experience with NUgrant; and knowledge and experience with SAP software.


The Office of Sponsored Programs supports Nebraska faculty and staff in the pursuit and management of external financial resources that enhance research, creative activity, and scholarship. OSP provides pre-award and post-award services throughout the award life cycle and is responsible for submitting, negotiation and accepting all sponsored awards at the university.

The office is located on the first floor of the Prem S. Paul Research Center at Whittier School located adjacent to the main City Campus. Co-located in the building are Research Compliance Services, Research Communications, Research Development teams, Research Project Management Office and several major interdisciplinary research centers.

The Director oversees nine direct reports and a staff of 35 full-time employees plus interns. A full staff directory is available here:

During FY2021, OSP staff submitted 2,060 proposals and received 1,560 awards. Information on the portfolio of federal funding at UNL can be found in the annual research report:

UNL works with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to submit and negotiate F&A rates. The university is currently in the middle of its base year. Current F&A rates and most recent F&A rate agreement are available here:

For more information about the Office of Sponsored Programs, please visit


Founded as a land-grant institution in 1869, UNL is the flagship institution among the four universities of the University of Nebraska system. Nebraska ranks among the world’s leading universities and is the state’s primary intellectual center through its three primary missions of teaching, research, and service. The University’s land-grant tradition creates a statewide responsibility to serve the needs of Nebraska and its citizens. Through Nebraska Extension and its partnerships with federal, state, and county agencies, the University has an outreach program in each county in the state.

UNL is designated in the Carnegie Classification system as a research university with very high research activity (R1) and a wide array of grant-funded projects aimed at broadening knowledge in the sciences and humanities. The University set new records with $321 million in total research expenditures in FY 2021. By connecting everything it does to its research, scholarship, and creative activity, the University ensures these innovations shape the education provided to its students. It is a member of the Big Ten Conference and the Big Ten Academic Alliance and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The University enjoys strong public support from the citizens of Nebraska, and UNL contributes to a strong workforce and vibrant economy within the state. Nebraskans view UNL as “their Land-Grant University” and are vested in its success. The University of Nebraska Foundation recently launched the “Only in Nebraska” combined campaign to ensure the University of Nebraska’s future success. In an earlier campaign, the NU Foundation raised $1.8 billion. Over the last 10 years, more than $1 billion has been invested in significant major capital construction, including academic and research facilities, supported by both private gifts and state funding. Recent new construction and renovations have been made possible by $216 million in infrastructure support funded by the State of Nebraska.


Situated in the city of Lincoln, UNL plays an integral part in the success and future of the city. As collaborative and open partners, the City of Lincoln and UNL are deeply committed to each other’s success. Lincoln has many of the cultural and entertainment benefits of a much larger city, with the feel of a friendly Midwestern community. As the state capital, most Nebraska state agencies and offices are located in Lincoln, as are several U.S. government agencies.

Lincoln boasts a highly educated workforce with an unemployment rate of 2.9%. The median age is 32.8.  The West Haymarket project, which has developed since 2014, has spurred rapid growth associated with several large organizations, including Hudl, a technology firm started by graduates of UNL’s Jeffrey S. Raikes School, and Olsson, an engineering and architecture firm. The University’s partnership with the city and private groups in redeveloping a former railyard into a sports and concert arena has sparked renewed interest in housing, retail, and other activities within walking distance of the city campus.

With the most parkland per capita in the nation, an extensive (and growing) bike trail network, many diverse employment opportunities, and a low cost of living, Lincoln is one of the fastest growing metro areas in the Midwest, yet still boasts an easy average commute time of 18 minutes door to door. Lincoln has been rated the #1 Healthiest City by Daily Finance, Happiest City by Gallup, #1 Best Places to Find a Job, #4 Best Places for Business and Careers by Forbes, #4 Best Run City in the Nation by MSN, Top 10 Cities to Buy a Home by ABC News, #4 Best Place to Raise a Family by Gallup, and one of the Cleanest U.S. Cities by American Lung Association.

The Lincoln Municipal Airport (LNK) is located 10 minutes from downtown, with the larger airport Omaha Eppley Airfield (OMA) located in Omaha, about 60 minutes away from campus. Lincoln lies adjacent to Interstate 80, which crosses the state.  Learn more about life in Lincoln.


To ensure full consideration, applications should be submitted by February 28, 2023. The search committee will continue to receive applications until the position is filled.

Applicants should go to, requisition S_230130. Click “Apply for this Job,” complete the information form and attach a) a letter of interest that highlights your qualifications for the position and explains your interest and motivation; b) resume; and c) the names of three to five professional references. References will be requested only of candidates who make the short list.

Questions can be directed to:

Becky Zavala
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development

UNL offers an attractive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with the successful candidate’s background and experience.

The University of Nebraska is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive work and learning environment free from discrimination and harassment. UNL is dedicated to creating an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and included. 

As an EO/AA employer, the University of Nebraska considers qualified applicants for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and/or political affiliation. See