Administrative Specialist

U.S. Federal Government - Cambridge, MA (30+ days ago)4.3

This is the position of Administrative Specialist within the Radio and GeoAstronomy Division of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO). Within the Division, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) group leads a visionary project to create an Earth-sized virtual telescope, designed to capture the first images of a black hole. To do this, the EHT team designs novel astronomical instrumentation, deploys these systems at radio dishes around the world, travels to remote sites for observational campaigns, and analyzes data produced when all dishes in the global array observe the same cosmic target on the sky at the same time. Our team leads an international group that collaborates on all technical and scientific aspects of the project, and which is united by a common science vision.

The salary range listed above reflects the organization's authorized salary for this specific position.

Administers all aspects of the EHT sponsored project activities, both internally and externally funded, including preparation of budgets for proposals for submission to the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA, as well as other funding agencies. This includes gathering and consolidating necessary information from files, Co-Is and PI, etc. Responsible for coordinating and overseeing the preparation of all material according to guidelines provided by the funding agency. Expedites and follows up processing of documents by SAO Contracts and Procurement Department. Prepares budgets for proposals in final format for submission working from rough estimates and verifies all line item amounts.
Supports Principal Investigators (PIs) of the observatory's EHT in the development of project budgets and schedules.
Coordinates proposal preparation. s prepare detailed budgets and related justifications, and ensures that all internal review documentation requirements and deadlines for submission are satisfied.
Administers awards to the observatory's EHT. Monitors and tracks obligations and expenditures for all of its funding sources using observatory fiscal sheets and RG Division cost tracking and reporting systems.
Assists the EHT Project Director and SAO Project Manager in managing budgets and approves the expenditure of funds in all categories, and prepares and submits financial portions of required reports. Works with Financial Management staff to reconcile discrepancies.
Provides project PIs with budget status and variance reports, and advice on programmatic administrative issues. Supports preparation and submission of project progress reports.Provides liaison with collaborating external organizations to coordinate proposal preparation and award administration
Works independently with the observatory's administrative departments and outside agencies to resolve budgetary and administrative problems as they occur.
As required, may be required to learn to utilize software tools at the observatory to develop and/or maintain EHT project schedules, develop cost estimates, and generate project status reports for instrument development projects.
Provides and organizes logistical support for group meetings and conferences
Coordinates EHT website maintenance and upkeep.
Utilizes Smithsonian Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to prepare variety of administrative documents and related backup. These include purchase requisitions, travel authorizations for both internally funded and externally sponsored travel, travel vouchers, and petty cash disbursements.
Provides editorial support to the observatory's EHT staff as requested. Proofreads documents to ensure consistent formats, and correct spelling and word usage. Coordinates preparation of figures, tables and their proper integration into the final document. Assures that reports and proposals are prepared in accordance with program and observatory requirements.
Performs other administrative functions such as timekeeping, maintaining inventory of procured equipment and serving as Accountable Officer, ordering supplies, and maintaining the observatory's EHT group calendar.
Provides general administrative and sponsored project support to the EHT Director as requested, and performs other related duties as assigned.
Travel Required
Not required

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential

Who May Apply
This job is open to…
This position is open to all candidates eligible to work in the United States.

Questions? This job is open to 1 group.

Job family (Series)
0301 Miscellaneous Administration And Program

Similar jobs
Development Managers
Managers, All Other
Managers, Development

Conditions of Employment
Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service.
Pre- and post-appointment background investigation
Eligible to work in the United States.
Temporary Not-To Exceed one year; with a possibility of extension of up to three years. Trust Appointment. This is not a Federal position, but has similar requirements and benefits.

Preferred Specialized experience includes: a combination of managing Federal travel regulations, drafting grants and technical proposals, analyzing and preparing budgets for public or health sector agencies, interpreting and applying administrative policies and procedures; providing guidance to employees and supervisors on administrative program areas; coordinating administrative operations related to staffing and personnel related issues; using software applications and automated systems to create reports for management and to conduct research and data analysis.


For Grade 11:
One year of full-time experience at the Grade 9 level that is close or similar to the work of this job. The experience includes activities such as: Office administration, sponsored project administration, proposal preparation, procurement, travel, and document/report preparation.

Or Education
Three full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree related to this position may be substituted to meet the experience requirements.

Or a Combination
Education and experience, in part, totaling 100% may be combined to meet the basic qualifications.

Part-time and/or unpaid experience related to this position will be considered to determine the total number of years and months of experience. Be sure to note the number of paid or unpaid hours worked each week.

Three full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree related to the position may be substituted to meet the experience requirements.

Additional information

How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

Your application will be evaluated first for the basic qualifications described above. The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria:

Budget Administration : Knowledge of the principles and practices of budget administration and analysis; including preparing, justifying, reporting on, and executing budgets; and the relationships among program, budgeting, accounting, and reporting systems.
Financial Management: Knowledge of techniques for monitoring and managing expenditures to ensure cost effectiveness, including an understanding of the organization's financial processes and procedures.
Communications skills: Ability to express information accurately and effectively in all formats.
Computer Skills: Knowledge of, and ability to effectively utilize, both enterprise applications and desktop software including spreadsheets, document preparation, database, and project scheduling tools (such as Microsoft Project).
Contracting/Procurement: Broad knowledge of various types of sponsored research contract and grant proposal preparation and award administration requirements (for example, NASA or NSF), and general knowledge of procurement requirements such as Federal Acquisitions Regulation
Important Note: Your resume and supporting documentation will be compared to your responses to the occupational questionnaire or other assessment tool for consistency. If a determination is made that you have rated yourself higher than is supported by your resume, you will be assigned a rating commensurate to your described experience.

Your resume should provide detailed information regarding how your education and experience relate to this position, including the major duties and qualifications criteria listed.

To preview questions please click here .

Background checks and security clearance
Security clearance
Public Trust - Background Investigation

Drug test required

Required Documents

Required Documents
Your application package should include the following documents:

Detailed resume
Unofficial school transcripts, if the position has an education requirement or if you are using education to qualify. If selected for the position, you must provide an official transcript before appointment.
Proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study, if applicable.
If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:
Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.


A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Learn more about federal benefits .

Review our benefits

Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.