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Research Grants Manager


Grants Support Office/Office of the Provost


Aga Khan University


Nairobi, Kenya


The Aga Khan University is a pioneering institution of higher education whose mission is to improve the quality of life in the developing world and beyond, through world-class teaching, research and healthcare delivery. AKU educates students for local and global leadership from campuses and teaching hospitals in six countries, primarily in Asia and Africa. It generates new knowledge to solve problems that affect millions of people, especially the most vulnerable. The University is a private, not-for-profit institution and part of the Aga Khan Development Network.

The AKU Medical College has 4-year Master of Medicine degrees in Anaesthesia, family medicine, medicine, obstetrics & gynecology, pediatrics, pathology, radiology, and surgery. It also offers fellowship programs in cardiology, infectious diseases, neonatology, and pediatric neurology.

Job Summary

The position will coordinate all aspects of the grants management in East Africa including

  • Research proposal applications,
  •  Coordinating support documentation to facilitate grant applications,
  •  post-award project implementation monitoring and reporting to ensure projects are designed and implemented to the highest standards and in line with donor requirements and AKU policies and core values, and the Support Closeout process.
  • The position will also support capacity-building efforts for AKU staff and partners on matters of grants and awards management.

The position requires demonstration of the ability to write winning grant applications, the ability to coordinate activities that require input from other AKU Central Support Units, strong writing skills, grant monitoring experience preferably in a research environment, experience working with institutional and private donors including NIH, USAID, CDC, UKAID, EU, NIHR, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, DFID, GAC, Ford Foundation, and Welcome Trust.


Proposal Development

  • Review competitive call for proposals to ensure AKU’s requirements are considered in the development of research proposals by proponents;
  • Analyze the structure of proposed budgets and recommend adjustments to ensure that final budgets adhere to proper grant and financial management practices; and
  • Provide innovative interpretations of AKU’s policies and procedures to resolve challenging situations due to the scope, institutional risk assessment, and methodological approach of the projects. Liaise with another unit of AKU (Finance, Legal, HR, Procurement, Risk) if needed, to resolve any outstanding issues.

Grant Monitoring and Evaluation Responsibilities

  • Support project set-up including coordinating initial planning meetings to discuss the awards review and develop a project implementation plan;
  • Improve the way AKU captures, accesses, and uses grantmaking information to enhance programmatic and operational decision-making, and to produce accurate reports of grantmaking results;
  • Develop monitoring and evaluation guidelines/criteria/ tools for monitoring and quality control functions during grants implementation;
  • Monitor grants for legal, financial, and program compliance including but not limited to ensuring that grant requirements are correctly documented in the grant files and database;
  • Work with finance to generate reporting required for compliance and financial statement audits;
  • Hold monthly meetings with implementing units to discuss project progress;
  • Track project deliverables both financial and programmatic and ensure AKU meets its obligations to donors in a timely manner;
  • Support coordination and maintaining of appropriate contacts, information sharing and relationships with colleagues and partners as requested through correspondence or attendance of meetings;
  • Support regional coordination in the planning, liaison, organizing and conducting relevant regional events (workshops, training, meetings, missions etc.); and
  • Provide staff and partners with the required technical support, guidance and training to improve grant management capacity in understanding of donor compliance and grants administration.

Close Out

  • Manage project close-out process of all research grants projects ensuring closeout plans are developed and implemented for successful closure of research projects.


Relevant Experience and Qualifications

  • Must have a Master’s degree in nonprofit management or related field;
  • Have not less than 5 years of relevant work experience, with practical knowledge or background in nonprofits or grantmaking and/or management systems in a research environment;
  • Have 5 years plus relevant experience working with institutional and private donors including NIH, USAID, CDC, UKAID, EU, NIHR, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, DFID, GAC, Ford Foundation, and Wellcome Trust, etc.
  • Have demonstrable ability to manage projects from inception to completion and have an innate ability to prioritize and synthesize information in an analytical and systematic manner. A comfort with ambiguity and competing priorities is vital.
  • Have a proven track record of project management experience, particularly with large multi-year research projects, and be familiar with private foundation approaches, requirements, and processes;
  • Have demonstrable ability to multitask and to work both independently and collaboratively for timely delivery on deadlines; and
  • Have practical knowledge and experience of grant management software.

Knowledge and Competencies (skills, abilities & traits required)

  • Ability to monitor projects, tracking deliverables against expenditures and advising Principal Investigators to make informed decisions
  • Ability to understand complex concepts in a call and convert them into winning proposals
  • Project management experience, particularly with large scale projects
  • Experience managing large, multi-year research projects
  • Familiarity with private foundation approaches, requirements and processes
  • Ability to multitask and work independently and collaboratively to meet weekly, monthly, quarterly deadlines
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, especially with Excel
  • Experience with a grant management software
  • Problem-solving, decision-making skills
  • Ability to coach, mentor, and provide guidance to faculty staff.
  • Analytical (pay attention to details but at the same time have the bigger picture in mind)
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Knowledge of multi-donor agencies
  • Ability to plan and organize a substantial workload that includes complex diverse tasks and responsibilities
  • Ability to work without close supervision
  • Self-confidence

How To Apply

Applicants who are interested CLICK HERE TO APPLY for this position.

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