Research Development Specialist

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • La Jolla, CA 920371002, USA
  • Apr 07, 2022
Full time Biology/Biotechnology/Life Sciences

Job Description

Application Instructions:

Please include a cover letter describing your experience and expertise in Grant and Scientific Writing; also, describe what areas of science you are most knowledgeable in. Excluding this information could disqualify you from further consideration.

As a member of the Grants Development team, the Research Development Specialist (RD Specialist) reports to the Associate Director of Research Development. This group's primary tasks are to help develop and implement the Institute's funding vision, to identify relevant funding opportunities and communicate these to Salk faculty, to execute competitions for limited-submission and internal funding opportunities, and to increase the competitiveness of Salk's extramural funding proposals, with particular emphasis on large, multi-PI proposals. The RD Specialist collaborates with diverse teams of investigators and administrative personnel (including External Relations and Communications staff), and must therefore have a broad and deep understanding of the research being conducted at the Salk. The RD Specialist helps manage the scientific writing process for individual, multi-investigator, and institutional grant applications, often working under the pressure of deadlines. Work is performed under the general direction of the Director of Research Development and Associate Director of Research Development, with the majority of work performed independently.





1) Research Development (40%)

 As in integral part of the Research Development team, the RD Specialist helps to develop and implement strategies for obtaining funds to support the diverse array of Salk research programs and initiatives, including efforts to:

a) Match current or potential Salk research programs with the interests and funding priorities of potential funding agencies/entities/individuals.

b) Work with teams of Salk scientists to help formulate collaborative initiatives that both push the boundaries of Salk science and provide avenues for establishing relationships with new funders.

c) Ensure that internal competitions (e.g., those to select proposals best suited for limited submission opportunities or internal sources of funding) are executed in an efficient, effective, and transparent manner. Works closely with faculty members of the Salk Internal Competition and Limited Submission Committee in this capacity.

d) Use technology platforms such as Pivot to identify and distribute funding opportunities to relevant Salk faculty.

e) Develop educational slideshow presentations and serve as an instructor in training postdocs, staff scientists, and junior faculty in the best practices for developing their research plans and composing all associated component parts of grant applications.

 2) Scientific Communication (60%)

  •  Collaborates with Salk faculty, the Research Development team, External Relations, Communications, and the Office of Technology Development to customize research proposals and descriptions of research activities to suit the particular interests, priorities, and levels of expertise of potential funding entities (e.g., governmental agencies, private foundations, industry, and individual philanthropists).
  • Facilitates and executes the scientific and administrative development of complex, high-profile research proposals from ideation to submission
  • Coordinates multi-investigator proposal development for grants, foundation awards, and donor gifts. Provides project management for proposal development, establishing internal deadlines and facilitating meetings of key scientists to ensure timely submission.
  • Meets with teams of investigator developing project proposals to build consensus and to facilitate the writing of sections unique to complex, multi-PI proposals (e.g., Project Management Plan, Administrative Core, Data Management Plan).
  • Researches and writes grant proposals as determined by faculty needs. Performs and/or manages all tasks related to the grant writing process.
  • Analyzes reviews of previously submitted proposals and provides feedback to investigators or other Institution officials.
  • Ensures that written candidate proposals are competitive and have a high probability of success.
  • Assists faculty in writing and/or editing technical manuscripts to facilitate timely publication of research findings.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.



  •  A minimum three years of experience in grant development, grant writing, and facilitating the submission of grant proposals.
  • Experience writing grants such as NIH R01 proposals.


  • Experience in coordinating grant-writing efforts of multiple PIs to facilitate the submission of large, multi-PI proposals.
  • Experience running internal competitions to select applicants for limited-submission or internal funding opportunities.
  • Experience writing and coordinating multidisciplinary sponsored research and private grant proposals with multiple collaborators for a variety of funding sources.



  •  MS in physical or natural sciences.


  •  PhD in physical or natural sciences.



  •  Ability to perform all tasks related to the grant writing process.
  • Writes precise, well organized, and grammatically correct documents. Excellent written and verbal English.
  • Demonstrated experience in researching, writing and submitting grant applications.
  • Knowledge of research funding sources, including NIH, NSF, and other funding sources.
  • Demonstrated experience reading and interpreting funding agency program announcements or requests for applications and development of proposals that are in compliance with agency requirements.
  • Extensive knowledge of contract and grant policies and issues and external funding programs and requirements, including knowledge of national and international trends in scientific research.
  • Strong interest in and ability to quickly comprehend Salk faculty scientific programs.
  • Advanced analytical skills in researching and analyzing scientific research issues. Sound knowledge of scientific research design and methods, and strong ability to interpret and evaluate research results. Ability to codify ideas into coherently written text.
  • Demonstrated ability to generate a number of different approaches to problems and to act as a resource for the exploration of new ideas.
  • In-depth knowledge of institutional functional areas which administer and/or are impacted by sponsored projects, such as grants administration and research accounting.
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills to manage the writing process (research, draft preparation, review, and revision) of complex grant proposals and deliver fundable proposals in a timely manner to meet both interim and final deadlines.
  • Ability and specialized skills to take initiative and independently plan, organize, coordinate, and perform work in various situations where numerous and diverse demands are involved.
  • Demonstrated ability to interact effectively and work cooperatively with faculty, supervisors and peers.
  • Demonstrated proficiency with Microsoft Office suite to create technical and sophisticated written communication materials.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality.


  •  Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Must be willing to work an adjusted schedule to support research needs.
  • Satisfactory completion of the Institute's background investigation.


This position will be constantly adjusting focus, hearing, keying, seeing, sitting, talking, analyzing, calculating, communicating, reading, reasoning, writing and working inside. 

Application Details

Apply Here:


 Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities


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