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Project Manager, Operations (Research to Action Lab)

Urban Institute

Urban Institute

Washington, DC, USA
Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2022

About Urban Institute:

At the Urban Institute, we believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities. As a nonprofit focusing on social and economic policy, our researchers and policy entrepreneurs open minds, shape decisions, and identify transformative solutions to the most pressing issues of our time.

Our Mission

To open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions through economic and social policy research.

Our Values

Collaboration, Equity, Inclusivity, Independence, and Integrity

For more information on the Urban Institute, please visit

The Opportunity:

Central to Urban’s mission is fostering a truly inclusive community that ensures ongoing relevance to a changing world. The Research to Action Lab for the Urban Institute seeks a project manager to join our Operations team. The Operations team applies their expertise in nonprofit management, process improvement, and business operations to act as the link between our center and the key business offices at Urban (e.g., Accounting, Finance, Grants and Contracts).

We are looking for intellectually curious candidates who are excited by the opportunity to contribute to operational excellence, particularly in the areas of proposal preparation, sponsored award management, and subaward/subcontract administration. This is an ideal position for a professional who is looking to apply existing business operations expertise to advance the work of a growing team that serves decisionmakers in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors eager to advance social change.

The Lab’s multidisciplinary team draws on the breadth and depth of Urban’s economic and social policy expertise to design research-driven policies and practices, deliver tailored technical assistance and training, and curate effective convenings that infuse critical debates with evidence. Nimble and innovative, the Lab engages directly with policymakers and practitioners, providing strategic guidance to help navigate the most pressing policy and programmatic challenges and spark disruptive solutions tailored to meet the moment. Our team also works collaboratively with Urban scholars and external partners to design and manage evidence-based programs that leverage Urban’s expertise and capacities to catalyze meaningful change for people and communities.

What You’ll Do:

  • Work on a small (but nimble!) operations team that serves as the “go-to” resource for questions regarding grant and contract compliance and reporting, project specific tasks, and larger organizational initiatives.
  • Manage a variety of project and operations management tasks, including budget creation, invoicing, subcontractor management, and financial analysis.
  • Support Lab staff during proposal development, including reviewing federal, state, local and foundation RFPs, compiling budgets (using Excel templates), preparing checklists, managing deadlines, collecting submission packages, and reviewing documents with a strong attention to detail.
  • Offer guidance to Lab staff regarding Urban’s business processes such as consultant agreements and subcontracts, including formatting and editing documents, organizing submission materials, and corresponding with consultants and contractors.
  • Communicate effectively with multiple research teams and project leaders and facilitate collaboration with internal business units, particularly Accounting, Finance, and Grants and Contracts.
  • Work independently to track, complete, and follow up on assigned tasks to ensure timely and accurate execution of operational tasks and responsibilities.
  • Assess processes and make recommendations for achieving operational excellence through process improvements or systems development
  • Provide operational support for team management, including scheduling, planning, and preparing for team meetings, coordinating with internal stakeholder to effectively onboard new staff, and activating internal resources to support a productive hybrid work environment.

Who You Are:

The successful candidate will:

  • Possess a Bachelor's degree in liberal arts, social science or business-related field and a minimum of 5 years of related experience or an equivalent combination of experience, training, or education to fulfill the responsibilities of the position .
  • Bring prior knowledge of proposal development processes and display solid experience reading RFPs and pulling necessary requirements for complex, multi-year budgets; experience with government contracting and budgets is a plus.
  • Exhibit experience with creating budgets, using enterprise resource planning software to analyze project financials, reviewing grants and contracts for key project requirements, and conducting project risk assessments.
  • Demonstrate strong written and verbal communication skills, including the ability to review complex information and distill into a concise, actionable summary for internal stakeholders.
  • Show strong organizational skills and attention to detail, as well as the proven ability to multitask, set priorities, and work proactively as an individual and as part of a team.
  • Exhibit a willingness to adapt to changing priorities and learn new processes and software
  • Have experience working effectively on multiple projects or assignments and a reputation among their colleagues as a changemaker with a positive, can-do attitude.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in Microsoft Office products (specifically, Word and Excel) and Adobe Acrobat Pro. Exhibit high proficiency in Excel functions such as writing formulas and data manipulation. Ability and experience working with Smartsheet, or other project management tools. Experience working with Salesforce is a plus.

What You’ll Experience:

No matter your role with Urban, you will contribute to meaningful work that makes a difference for people and communities across the country. And whether you call the Washington, DC area or elsewhere home, you can expect to be part of a welcoming and hybrid workplace. We are committed to cultivating a community and working in a manner defined by collaboration, equity, inclusivity, independence, and integrity.

Urban’s greatest asset is our people.

The target salary range for this position is $65,000 - $80,000. Salary offered is commensurate with experience and considers internal equity. Candidates from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. Salaries are just one component of Urban Institute’s total compensation package.

Urban is committed to supporting our staff’s physical, emotional, and financial well-being through a robust benefits package for yourself, eligible dependents, and domestic partners. It includes generous paid time off, including nine federal holidays, medical (including prescription), dental and vision insurance, and transit benefits. Urban is unique in that we offer 403(b) retirement plan participation immediately after you’re hired and a generous employer contribution after six months of service and 500 hours, with immediate vesting. You’ll also have access to a health advocate, personal finance coaching, an Employee Assistance Program, and educational assistance for undergraduate and graduate degree programs. This position has the opportunity to be fully remote.

All Urban Institute employees must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and comply with masking and distancing requirements, regardless of responsibilities or work location. New hires must also be fully vaccinated before starting work. Employees may request exemption from vaccination against COVID-19 based on either a medical condition or a sincerely held religious belief that prevents them from being vaccinated. Where such an exemption is approved, Urban will discuss with each employee potential accommodation.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work being performed by the people assigned. This posting is not an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, and requirements. Urban management reserves the right to amend and change duties, responsibilities, and requirements to meet business and organizational needs as necessary.

The Urban Institute is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. All qualified candidates will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender or gender identity, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, veteran status, pregnancy or family responsibilities, matriculation, disability, political affiliation, or any other protected status under applicable law.