Strategic Partnership Specialist

Date: Jan 26, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12414 


The Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) Specialist will be responsible for supporting Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) research staff and administration by providing customer-oriented research administration services to facilitate the mission of ORNL and the Department of Energy (DOE). The SPA Specialist will help facilitate ORNL’s research community in the proactive development of research proposals, working with research staff and administration to facilitate the development of research proposals and agreements for external funding. This includes knowledge and understanding of federal and non-federal research proposals, intellectual property and data rights, collaborative research and partnership agreements, and federal regulations related to research at federally funded research labs.


The incumbent will independently manage a portfolio of assigned pending and existing pre-award, research proposals and agreements and will be responsible for the successful negotiation of research related contracts and agreements with terms acceptable to both UT-Battelle, LLC, and the DOE.  Additionally, the incumbent will have the responsibility to counsel research staff involved with nonfederal research partnerships on the substantive and procedural requirements for implementing such agreements at ORNL.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Provide necessary support and/or guidance to research staff and research administration with the preparation of industry and agency specific proposal documents to ensure full compliance with ORNL policies and procedures.
  • Review and evaluate proposal submission requirements in grants and contract submission documents for alignment with the ORNL mission and the DOE Orders, regulations, and policies.
  • Ensure that all negotiated terms of nonfederal research partnership agreements in incumbent’s assigned portfolio comply with all federal laws and regulations, and with DOE Orders, regulations, and policies, and protect the interests of UT-Battelle, LLC, and DOE, including amendments and extensions to existing technology transfer agreements.
  • Establish strategies, negotiate, and process all standard agreements via personal interaction with customers.  Use internal systems such as Strategic Partnership Projects System (SPPS) and customer relationship systems and databases to submit and track agreement status.
  • Understand and effectively communicate to ORNL stakeholders the proposal and contracting process for federal and nonfederal agreements.
  • Negotiate and manage ORNL research related agreements, including Strategic Partnership Proposals (SPPs), Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), and User Agreements.
  • Perform support activities for the processing of Memorandum Purchase Orders (MPOs), Interagency Agreements (IA), and other intergovernmental agreements through which ORNL provides research support to DOE entities and government agencies.
  • Assists in preparing and managing internal and external project communications, including reports and documents for the Strategic Partnerships (SP) Group’s CRADA, SPP and other reimbursable agreement emplacement activities.
  • Establishes and maintains effective working relationships with internal staff members and external contacts.
  • Educate and assist ORNL research staff members seeking to enter partnerships with non-federal entities.  Serve as resource for ORNL research staff and external collaborators on partnering mechanisms.
  • Utilizes the SPP proposal system, SAP’s BI Tool, and other contract management and reporting systems as needed in the performance of described duties.
  • Work with internal stakeholders to obtain required reviews.  This includes division proposal coordinators, export control, classification, environmental safety and health, and other offices that contribute to the agreement approval process.
  • Deliver ORNL's mission by aligning behaviors, priorities, and interactions with our core values of Impact, Integrity, Teamwork, Safety, and Service. Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by fostering a respectful workplace - in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.


Basic Qualifications: 

  • Master’s degree or higher. 
  • A minimum of 8 years’ relevant work experience in facilitating and/or managing large, sponsored research proposal portfolios and/or negotiating sponsored research and/or technology related agreements. 
  • The successful candidate must possess demonstrated ability to manage multiple tasks and must be self-motivated and self-directed.  
  • The successful candidate must possess demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with a wide variety of professionals in various fields including science, legal, business and marketing.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and good interpersonal skills are required.
  • Proven ability to work as a team member in a collaborative environment is required. 
  • Demonstrated ability to understand and communicate technical and legal information.
  • The successful candidate must possess the ability to perform consistently and professionally while under pressure and must be able to achieve results while maintaining the integrity of the contracting process.


Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Familiarity/working knowledge of federal regulations surrounding SPPs and CRADAs preferred. 
  • Ability to work independently with the capability to recommend process improvement where needed.
  • Excellent interpersonal, organization, time management, oral and written communication, and problem-solving skills, with an emphasis on customer interaction with sponsoring organizations. 
  • Demonstrated ability to be detail-oriented and accurate, set priorities appropriately and work on multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment is required. 
  • Experience in working with information of a business sensitive nature, with proven ability to meet this responsibility in a professional and ethical manner.
  • Ability to adapt to evolving needs of group and proactively contribute to process improvements.
  • Familiarity in working in a federal laboratory environment is highly desirable, and familiarity with working in a university laboratory environment is desirable.


Work Direction and Interfaces:  

  • This position reports to the Group Leader, Strategic Partnerships Office, Partnerships Directorate, for all aspects of job performance as well as task assignments and priorities. Incumbent will interface with ORNL research staff and management, Tech Transfer Office, ORNL Office of General Counsel, DOE Oak Ridge Site Office, and other DOE offices, contractors, and government agencies.


Measures of Effectiveness:

  • Successful preparation, negotiation, and execution of nonfederal research partnership agreements and/or amendments in a way that meets ORNL timeliness standards and protects the interests of UT-Battelle, LLC, and DOE.
  • Rapid demonstration of successful preparation, negotiation, and execution of nonfederal research partnership agreements and/or amendments as an independent contributor, with little or no assistance necessary.
  • Proficient in processing proposals and all standard agreements, through personal interaction with customers as well as using internal systems.


Visa Sponsorship:

Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.


Benefits at ORNL:  

ORNL offers competitive pay and benefits programs to attract and retain talented people. The laboratory offers many employee benefits, including medical and retirement plans and flexible work hours, to help you and your family live happy and healthy. Employee amenities such as on-site fitness, banking, and cafeteria facilities are also provided for convenience.


Other benefits include the following: Prescription Drug Plan, Dental Plan, Vision Plan, 401(k) Retirement Plan, Contributory Pension Plan, Life Insurance, Disability Benefits, Generous Vacation and Holidays, Parental Leave, Legal Insurance with Identity Theft Protection, Employee Assistance Plan, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts, Wellness Programs, Educational Assistance, Relocation Assistance, and Employee Discounts.


If you have difficulty using the online application system or need an accommodation to apply due to a disability, please email: or call 1.866.963.9545.




This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

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ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville