MRSEC Operations Manager

The University of Chicago


PSD James Franck Institute: MRSEC

About the Department

The University of Chicago MRSEC is a NSF-funded research center that facilitates innovation by tackling some of the deepest intellectual challenges of materials research through interdisciplinary, collaborative efforts among multiple research groups, spanning three academic divisions (PSD, PME, and BSD) on campus and includes external collaborators. We make a dedicated effort to foster a research environment that promotes creativity and rigor, and where students, postdocs and faculty alike benefit from interactions with those with different technical backgrounds and research interests. This effort includes a strong commitment to education and outreach, including outreach to our inner-city neighborhoods and the general public. Central to our mission is nurturing the next generation of materials science researchers, and improving its diversity, through the successful training of students at all levels (undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral fellows) in our research labs. We operate Shared Facilities that enable state-of-the-art materials preparation and measurement, requiring resources beyond what can be attained by an individual research lab. Coupling these complementary aspects of our program strengthens the entire scientific enterprise and provides a vibrant resource to the University of Chicago, the broader materials science community, our neighborhood and the general public.

Job Summary

Reporting to the Director of the MRSEC, the MRSEC Operations Manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the University of Chicago MRSEC department that serves as a central administrator for the center. Acting within the policies and procedures of the department, the University, and the current National Science Foundation (NSF) Cooperative Agreement, to achieve MRSEC goals. Specific areas of responsibility include department-wide coordination and organization of all reports, aiding the planning of activities, fellowship organization, facilities support, proposal preparation and grant administration. The Operations Manager will works collaboratively with other MRSEC staff and central offices to ensure that the goals of the department are accomplished.


  • Provides direct overall compliance with NSF Cooperative Agreement, which is necessary for the department to both report on the previous year’s projects and request funding for the next annual increment.

  • Facilitates outreach and education programs at the discretion of the Director and the MRSEC Faculty Education Manager.

  • Assures MRSEC programs conform to institutional and departmental goals, policies, and regulations.

  • Establishes and directs policies, methods, procedures, and work rules for MRSEC administrative staff.

  • In coordination with the MRSEC Executive Committee, ensures the Center’s strategic plan and mission are executed to achieve center goals.

  • Provides critical indicators of programmatic outcomes and achievements to the funding agency in order to demonstrate the center’s successes and effectiveness.

  • Oversees in organizing reviews of MRSEC Annual Postdoc/Graduate Student Fellowships.

  • Adapts and assists to changing needs of the funding agency to be able to continue to provide necessary metrics to demonstrate success.

  • Creates annual reports and contributes to grant proposal writing for external funding (federal and industrial).

  • Organizes External Advisory Board meetings.

  • Assists to organize MRSEC annual meeting and other center-wide activities for all department members and additional participants from the industry.

  • Collaborates with relevant staff on campus and the MRSEC Faculty Industrial Manager to enhance the industrial and entrepreneurship aspects of the MSREC.

  • Collaborates with MRSEC staff to maintain center website and branding.

  • Establishes and maintains an internal database of department demographics and activities.

  • Oversees MRSEC ‘cyberinfrastructure’ to ensure that all center members can readily communicate and foster collaborative relationships that are needed by the funding agency.

  • Assists in organizing and hosting MRSEC department-wide meetings (research presentations, administrative/outreach updates).

  • Organizes UChicago visits from others interested in the center (academics, industry, or government representatives).

  • Aids in engagement with NSF and other NSF funded programs and program managers (PREM, MIP, etc.).

  • Aids in the organization of the calls for the MRSEC seed programs.

  • Provides support for the IRG or seed programs as requested. 

  • Uses in-depth knowledge and experience to administer the delivery of services to program participants and/or beneficiaries such as communicating with programs sponsors and academic advising for undergraduate students.

  • Develops and communicates program priorities and performance standards and assesses operations using these criteria. Plans and conducts quality assurance reviews and recommends changes as appropriate.

  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications


Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 5-7 years of work experience in a related job discipline.


Preferred Qualifications


  • Master’s Degree in STEM (or Education) field.

  • Collegiate coursework and/or degree relevant to MRSEC research.


  • Knowledge of federal and non-federal grants and contracts administration, including effective budgeting, submission requirements, reporting and administration.

  • Some experience with quality improvement practices.

Preferred Competencies

  • Work collaboratively and independently within a team environment.

  • Excellent organizational skills, problem-solving ability, and attention to detail.

  • Manage day-to-day duties of multiple projects at the same time with a vision for short- and long-term planning and implementation.

  • Enthusiasm, a positive attitude, and a strong interest in STEM education.

  • Strong commitment to providing a high level of service and working in a team environment.

  • High degree of professionalism.

  • Handle confidential information with utmost discretion.

  • Excellent interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills.

  • Handle multiple tasks simultaneously and under tight deadlines.

  • Strong analytical skills. 

  • Familiarity with basic data organization and analysis.

Working Conditions

  • Hybrid work schedule.

Application Documents

  • Resume/CV (required)

  • Cover Letter (required)

  • Writing Sample (example of professional-level communications; this should be approximately 1-2 pages in length)(required)

When applying, the document(s) MUST  be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Job Family

Administration & Management

Role Impact

Individual Contributor

FLSA Status


Pay Frequency


Scheduled Weekly Hours


Benefits Eligible


Drug Test Required


Health Screen Required


Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required


Posting Statement

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/ Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University’s Notice of Nondiscrimination.


Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.


We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.


All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history.  A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment.  Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.


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