Research Systems Director at University of Pennsylvania

Posted in Other 12 days ago.

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Job Description:

Research Systems Director

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn's distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

Posted Job Title

Research Systems Director

Job Profile Title

Information Technology Technical Director

Job Description Summary

The Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR) oversees the University of Pennsylvania's (Penn's) vast research enterprise, encompassing a broad spectrum of research support services, regulatory bodies, multi-disciplinary campus-wide Research Centers and Institutes, commercialization of Penn discoveries, and development of corporate partnerships. OVPR collaborates with Penn stakeholders and external partners to promote meaningful scholarship, uphold research integrity, and foster new discoveries, thereby helping to fulfill Penn's educational and research mission defined by our Compact 2022; to innovate, be radically inclusive, and positively impact our local, national, and global communities.
With more than $970 million in awards, Penn is home to many of the world's leading researchers. Penn's integrated campus encompasses 12 Schools, over 165 multidisciplinary centers and institutes, and a fully incorporated health system. Penn's faculty consists of a large community of scholars committed to making a difference in the world. Penn investigators are building unique bridges between traditionally disparate fields of research to achieve groundbreaking discoveries across the life sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, business, and many other fields of study.
OVPR, and its seven reporting offices (full list available at, provide a wide array of support services to ensure the successful operation of this research enterprise, spanning grants administration, environmental health and radiation safety, laboratory animal welfare, research compliance, and technology commercialization. As part of the research enterprise, OVPR is responsible for more than 25 information systems across our reporting offices and is actively pursuing a roadmap of information system upgrades and replacements.

Job Description

The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) is seeking a talented professional for the role of Research Systems Director in the Office of the Vice Provost for Research's Information Systems (OVPR IS) group. The successful candidate will help determine the future direction of OVPR's information systems and provide understanding on how technology can best support the business and academic facets of Penn's research enterprise. The Research Systems Director will develop a strong understanding of OVPR's short- and long-term goals and how to align our information system portfolio to both OVPR's and Penn's overarching goals. It is critical that the Research System Director understands the core functions and process needs of the Research Enterprise. The Research Systems Director will be a facilitator, who as part of a team, will perform strategic planning for the OVPR and its reporting offices on the intersection of business processes and technological solutions. The Director will need to understand higher education and academic research best practices and industry trends in information systems to successfully support this process. In addition, we are seeking a candidate who can seamlessly transition strategic planning to operational implementation, including working closely with varied stakeholders to integrate current and proposed future information systems.

Penn is seeking a leader for OVPR IS with a sharp focus on the interplay of people, processes, and technologies. Reporting to the Associate Vice Provost of Research, the Research Systems Director will be primarily focused on budget and resource management, program direction, project planning and implementation, operational support, end-user management, vendor management, contract/agreement negotiation, communications, and change management. The Research Systems Director will ensure that all project planning is long term and aligned with resource allocation and budget guidelines within the OVPR, Provost Center, and the University. Under the Director's leadership, OVPR IS will develop a comprehensive understanding of business processes, guidelines, and governance models within the research enterprise to enhance those processes and ensure that they are well-supported by information system applications. OVPR IS ensures that data reporting is developed and maintained for each of these systems. The group builds end-user support models that work effectively with the associated process and application, ensuring that our end-users are well-supported throughout the process. They provide comprehensive planning and development for web pages within OVPR and OVPR reporting offices, where necessary. The team develops and delivers training and awareness modules for applications, when necessary, to ensure broad knowledge of both the information systems and their applications.

The Research Systems Director must be expert at developing strong teams with the necessary technical competencies to address the current and anticipated future challenges in the research enterprise. It is expected that the Research Systems Director will supervise a team of between two and four staff along with managing any third-party consulting engagements and numerous informal relationships that are necessary to operate in a large, complex institution. Currently, OVPR IS has two Senior Systems Analysts and an opportunity to hire one additional full-time employee (FTE). The Research Systems Director must be adept at managing key strategic relationships and ensure that relationships with all stakeholders are productive and effective. These include working collaboratively with Penn's Information Systems and Computing (ISC) group (Penn's central IT organization providing the core network, data, voice, video, and enterprise application infrastructure and services upon which Penn's numerous Schools and Centers build their unique tools and capabilities), Provost Center's Academic Technology & Planning (AT&P) (manages integrated planning, implementation, and support of academic technologies, with a focus on educational and faculty affairs technology), OVPR reporting offices, Penn Schools and Centers, external and internal end-users, and third-party vendors.

The successful candidate will be expert in translating the benefits of information system solutions for a nontechnical audience and be able to adapt messages accordingly. It is essential that this role establish the relevance of information systems in the overall operation of the research enterprise, build strong relationships, ask pertinent questions, and bridge the conversation to how technology can play a role in addressing critical institutional needs.

Qualifications: A Bachelor's Degree is required, while an advanced degree is preferred, along with 5 to 7 years of experience in information systems or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Prior experience in higher education, specifically research is strongly preferred. Prior and demonstrated staff management experience is required. Prior and demonstrated stakeholder and third-party vendor management is also required. The candidate must have requisite technical knowledge to make executive decisions and have in-depth working knowledge of information and data management systems, outstanding project management skills, and the ability to interface across operational divisions and IT systems.

Prior experience and a working knowledge of the following systems and platforms is preferred:

  • InfoEd (various modules)

  • AWS

  • BioRAFT

  • LabArchives

  • SurveyMonkey

  • FileMaker

  • OnBase

  • WordPress

  • Drupal

  • Pantheon

  • Inteum

  • Jira

  • FreshDesk


Job Location - City, State

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School

Provost's Center

Pay Range

$88,861.00 - $223,490.00

Affirmative Action Statement

Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements

Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

University Benefits

  • Health, Life, and Flexible Spending Accounts: Penn offers comprehensive medical, prescription, behavioral health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits to protect you and your family's health and welfare. You can also use flexible spending accounts to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.

  • Tuition: Take advantage of Penn's exceptional tuition benefits. You, your spouse, and your dependent children can get tuition assistance here at Penn. Your dependent children are also eligible for tuition assistance at other institutions.

  • Retirement: Penn offers generous retirement plans to help you save for your future. Penn's Basic, Matching, and Supplemental retirement plans allow you to save for retirement on a pre-tax or Roth basis. Choose from a wide variety of investment options through TIAA and Vanguard.

  • Time Away from Work: Penn provides you with a substantial amount of time away from work during the course of the year. This allows you to relax, take vacations, attend to personal affairs, recover from illness or injury, spend time with family—whatever your personal needs may be.

  • Long-Term Care Insurance: In partnership with Genworth Financial, Penn offers faculty and staff (and your eligible family members) long-term care insurance to help you cover some of the costs of long-term care services received at home, in the community or in a nursing facility. If you apply when you're newly hired, you won't have to provide proof of good health or be subject to underwriting requirements. Eligible family members must always provide proof of good health and are subject to underwriting.

  • Wellness and Work-life Resources: Penn is committed to supporting our faculty and staff as they balance the competing demands of work and personal life. That's why we offer a wide variety of programs and resources to help you care for your health, your family, and your work-life balance.

  • Professional and Personal Development: Penn provides an array of resources to help you advance yourself personally and professionally.

  • University Resources: As a member of the Penn community, you have access to a wide range of University resources as well as cultural and recreational activities. Take advantage of the University's libraries and athletic facilities, or visit our arboretum and art galleries. There's always something going on at Penn, whether it's a new exhibit at the Penn Museum, the latest music or theater presentation at the Annenberg Center, or the Penn Relays at Franklin Field to name just a few examples. As a member of the Penn community, you're right in the middle of the excitement—and you and your family can enjoy many of these activities for free.

  • Discounts and Special Services: From arts and entertainment to transportation and mortgages, you'll find great deals for University faculty and staff. Not only do Penn arts and cultural centers and museums offer free and discounted admission and memberships to faculty and staff. You can also enjoy substantial savings on other goods and services such as new cars from Ford and General Motors, cellular phone service plans, movie tickets, and admission to theme parks.

  • Flexible Work Hours: Flexible work options offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. These approaches involve use of non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures.

  • Penn Home Ownership Services: Penn offers a forgivable loan for eligible employees interested in buying a home or currently residing in West Philadelphia, which can be used for closing costs or home improvements.

  • Adoption Assistance: Penn will reimburse eligible employees on qualified expenses in connection with the legal adoption of an eligible child, such as travel or court fees, for up to two adoptions in your household.

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