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Job Title:
Administrative Specialist, IS-0301, Grade 12; $93,175-$121,128 annually
Type of Position:
Trust Fund (non-federal) Indefinite
Job Location:
Cambridge, MA
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:

AREA OF CONSIDERATION:  This position is open to all qualified candidates.



The Administrative Specialist supports the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a visionary project to create an Earth-sized virtual telescope to image black holes. Our team designs novel instrumentation for radio dishes worldwide, travels to remote sites for observing, and analyzes radio data combined from all dishes. Our group is at the forefront of an international collaboration. We are students, postdocs and staff in an environment that emphasizes cutting- edge science through teamwork.


  1. Coordinates all administrative matters for the SAO EHT group. This includes elements typical for a scientific and technical research group: personnel, travel, procurement, purchasing, scheduling, proposal generation and submission, communication, meeting logistics, budget tracking and grant administration.
  1. Participates in the planning and preparation of research proposals for future external and internal funding for the EHT Typical duties include: preparing budgets in consultation with scientists and managers, coordinating all required documents and staging them for submission, coordinating graphics, typesetting and general document preparation, communication with sponsors, SAO administration and external collaborators and sub-award leads as required in the submission and preparation process.
  1. Administers all grants for the EHT For each grant, this requires tracking of budgets, coordination of project reports to sponsors, monitoring personnel support levels, and contacting sponsors, SAO administration, collaborators and EHT personnel as appropriate to gather needed information.
  1. Tracks group-wide finances and budget levels across all funding support to assist EHT group leadership with long-range administrative, cost and personnel plans through analysis, projections and recommendations. Reacts to principal-investigator-initiated changes in project orientation and grant focus by working to adapt support and resources as required and in compliance with Federal and Trust fund regulations and SAO guidelines and procedures. Identifies potential problem areas, resolves issues and makes recommendations for corrective action or procedures.
  1. Reviews travel authorizations and purchasing and procurement requisitions in compliance with Federal and Trust fund regulations and SAO guidelines and procedures. Coordinates travel for all EHT group members, including assistance with administration for SAO supported and externally supported trips.
  1. Coordinates EHT personnel issues, provides executive administrative support to the EHT principal investigator, and coordinates logistics for group meetings, workshops, and conferences.


One full-time year (12 months) of specialized work experience equivalent in difficulty and responsibility to the GS-11 level in the Federal service. Qualifying experience may include but is not limited to performing and coordinating a full range of administrative specialties such as contracting and procurement, management analysis, budget and financial management, grants and proposal and support services. Experience includes planning, managing, executing, evaluating and facilitating the full range of administrative programs and operations.

OPM Qualification Standards for the GS-301 series can be found at the following website: Administration and Program Series, 0301 (

For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccination requirements and its impact on your application, click on Smithsonian Institution’s Frequently Asked Questions.  

APPLICATION PROCEDURE We will only accept applications online for this position.  For complete information about this position and the online application procedures, please visit USAJOBS 

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace.

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