Financial Project Planner II

Job Title: Project Planner II, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and Duke University Energy Initiative (Newly Merged Institute, "NMI")
Operations and Business Management Department

Duke University

Duke University was created in 1924 through an indenture of trust by James Buchanan Duke. Today, Duke is regarded as one of America’s leading research universities. Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke is positioned in the heart of the Research Triangle, which is ranked annually as one of the best places in the country to work and live. Duke has more than 15,000 students who study and conduct research in its 10 undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. With about 40,000 employees, Duke is the third largest private employer in North Carolina, and it now has international programs in more than 150 countries.

The Newly Merged Institute ("NMI")

Duke University is heightening its commitment to accelerate sustainable and equitable solutions to the climate crisis and develop a new generation of climate-literate thought leaders. An ambitious university-wide strategy will build on decades of successful energy and environmental research, education, and external engagement efforts. As part of this endeavor, the university is merging two of its signature interdisciplinary units: the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Duke University Energy Initiative. Working closely with Duke University schools and other units, the newly merged institute (NMI) will advance the university’s climate strategy by developing transformative educational experiences; galvanizing and conducting impactful research; and engaging with decision makers at the global, national, state, and local levels.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are core values of the newly merged institute. We believe that the educational environment is enhanced when diverse groups of people with diverse ideas come together to learn. Applicants with a demonstrated commitment to issues of diversity in higher education are particularly encouraged to apply.

Occupational Summary

Coordinate and/or perform pre-award and post-award activities for the NMI’s diverse research portfolio of grants, contracts, and gift funding. Develop and manage a variety of project and collaboration opportunities supported by a range of funder types (e.g., government, industry, foundations, and gifts). Working with research program and development colleagues, facilitate collaborative development of proposals including budget and pricing development, proposal writing, contract negotiations, model development, and involvement in preparation of funder presentations. Apply knowledge of project, portfolio, and financial management practices and tools; technical and interpersonal skills; and capability for critical and strategic thought to build and manage financial and resourcing spreadsheets – tracking current and projected revenues, expenses and distribution of personnel in support of the Institute’s operations.

Work Performed

Business/Proposal Development

  • Formulate proposals in collaboration with development colleagues, researchers and leadership, collaborators within NMI and across Duke University, and a variety of external partners.
  • Communicate professionally and effectively with potential funders to establish the requirements for each proposal opportunity; communicate funder and internal Duke requirements for proposal review and submissions to relevant parties and provide guidance to project teams and partners in designing proposal approaches.
  • Coordinate and align proposal efforts to ensure required components are completed accurately and according to required timelines for review and submission. Draft select components. Ensure accuracy of budget development based on anticipated labor and non-labor costs, ensure consistency in budget justifications and related documents.
  • Facilitate communications and interactions among internal and external parties; proactively monitor progress and troubleshoot challenges. Work in concert with internal groups including project teams, development officers, financial management groups, the Campus Grants Management Team (CGMT), and ORS/ORA to follow the development of an opportunity from identification through contracting.
  • Track and report on the status of all proposal components. Establish and maintain internal and external relationships to proactively anticipate and resolve potential problems.
  • Package and present proposals to sponsoring entities. Ensure that complete proposals are received by funders in a timely manner.
  • Communicate the outcome of negotiations/proposals to relevant internal and external parties, focusing on conveying the expectations set forth for each group.
  • Collaborate with project teams and other involved parties in budget and proposal revisions to accommodate changes in funding level, timeline, and/or scope of work.
  • Coordinate development of tools, templates, and processes to streamline proposal consistency and efficiency. Evaluate the success of proposals and accuracy of budgeting over time to improve future proposal development and refine tools.
  • Research and identify potential funding opportunities where appropriate.

Financial and Project/Portfolio Management

  • Personally perform or collaborate in managing financial reporting and post-award activities for a diverse project portfolio that includes grant, contract, and gift funding.
  • Engage in post-award activities in collaboration with project teams and internal groups (e.g., CGMT, ORA/ORS) as warranted to reconcile and manage project budgets, including determination of allocability and allowability of charges; preparing and analyzing budget reports, and developing budget projections; adjusting and correcting project budgets to meet project goals and federal or external partner requirements.
  • Understand and appropriately follow specific restrictions and/or requirements as per the terms of each project funding stream.
  • Oversee management of project budget, reporting, and compliance timelines in collaboration with internal and external parties.
  • Provide assistance and coordination in strategic management of effort for the Institute’s project portfolio and personnel. Contribute to assessment of hiring needs based on workload projections.
  • Aid in the implementation of standard project management processes, tools and methodology by contributing to the development and maintenance of standard processes and standard project templates, tools, and guidelines. Seek to apply best practices by working with colleagues in operations, business management and grant management.
  • Provide guidance to project teams regarding regulatory and compliance considerations during proposal submission and project performance. Consult with internal liaisons as necessary.
  • Coordinate with appropriate internal and external entities to establish vendor, consultant, and subaward agreements/relationships.
  • Serve as a partner with project teams to proactively identify impacts from changes in work scope or timing and ensure appropriate planning measures are taken with internal and external clients to reassess, renegotiate and amend scope of work responsibilities, proposals, contracts, and budgets.
  • Act as liaison between all parties concerned to address proposed modifications to project scope, schedule, or budget and influence to minimize changes.
  • Generate regular and/or ad hoc reports assessing a variety of aspects of the Institute’s project- and portfolio-level financial and operational status. Contribute to the development of business plans, strategic plans, foundation reports, and various other Institute-level reporting needs.
  • Participate in activities needed to support the management functions of the Institute.


  • Progressively responsible professional experience in business development, project/portfolio management, and grants and contract administration.
  • Successful completion of, or ability to obtain, Research Administration Academy (RAA) and Advanced Grants Management certification.
  • Pre- and post-award proposal, grant, and contract management, including appropriate application of federal and Duke University rules, requirements, and regulations. Ability to understand and manage complex effort scenarios that include varied appointment types.
  • Demonstrated skill in analyzing data, formulating conclusions, and partnering with leadership in recommending courses of action.
  • Understanding and expertise in relevant topic areas including health system and/or clinical trial data operations, management of clinical trials, and health services research.
  • Ability to think critically, strategically, and communicate effectively across a wide range of audience types.

Experience and demonstrated skill in:

  • Using Excel, Smart Sheet or Power BI.
  • Development of complex funding proposals across a range of sponsor types, including government agencies, industry, and foundations.
  • Pre- and post-award proposal, grant, and contract management, including appropriate application of federal and Duke University rules, requirements, and regulations. Ability to understand and manage complex effort scenarios that include varied appointment types.
  • Academic setting effort and financial management, financial analysis and projections, subcontract and vendor management, sponsor reporting.
  • Business development, to include identification of opportunities and partnering with researchers to cultivate proposals from concept to execution.
  • Budgeting, forecasting, and financial reporting.
  • Financial, resource, and operations management.
  • Stakeholder engagement, strategic communications, and convening.

Minimum Qualifications


Bachelor's degree. Additional training in Project Management coursework or certification in Project Management is desired.


Four years of progressively responsible experience in project OR AN EQUIVALENT COMBINATION OF RELEVANT EDUCATION AND/OR EXPERIENCE management, including complex projects involving multiple functional groups. Financial management reporting, complex summaries and detail experience preferred.

To Apply

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The intent of this job description is to provide a representation of the types and level of duties and responsibilities that will be required of positions given this title. It shall not be construed as a declaration of all specific duties and responsibilities of the particular position, as employees may be directed to perform job-related tasks other than those specifically presented in this description.

Duke University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual's age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Duke also makes good faith efforts to recruit, hire, and promote qualified women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans.

Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas—an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.

Essential Physical Job Functions: Certain jobs at Duke University and Duke University Health System may include essential job functions that require specific physical and/or mental abilities. Additional information and provision for requests for reasonable accommodation will be provided by each hiring department.