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Research Operations Manager, Floating (IS-0301- 13/14)

Application Deadline: 26 July 2024...

Department: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Employment Type: Full Time

Location: Cambridge, MA

Reporting To: Chief Operations Officer

Compensation: $116,820 - $179,462 / year

OPENING DATE: June 3, 2024
CLOSING DATE: July 26, 2024
TYPE OF POSITION: Trust Indefinite (Non-Federal)
DIVISION: Director's Office
LOCATION: Cambridge, MA
AREA OF CONSIDERATION: This position is open to all eligible candidates.

What are Trust Fund Positions?
Trust Fund positions are unique to the Smithsonian. They are paid for from a variety of sources, including the Smithsonian endowment, revenue from our business activities, donations, grants and contracts. Trust employees are not part of the civil service, nor does trust fund employment lead to Federal status. The salary ranges for trust positions are generally the same as for federal positions and in many cases trust and federal employees work side by side. Trust employees have their own benefit program and may include Health, Dental & Vision Insurance, Life Insurance, Transit/Commuter Benefits, Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance, Annual and Sick Leave, Family Friendly Leave, 403b Retirement Plan, Discounts for Smithsonian Memberships, Museum Stores and Restaurants, Credit Union, Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (Childcare), Flexible Spending Account (Health & Dependent Care).

Conditions of Employment
• Pass Pre-employment Background Check and Subsequent Background Investigation, as required.
• Complete a Probationary Period if applicable.
• Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer.
• The position is open to all candidates eligible to work in the United States. Proof of eligibility to work in U.S. is not required to apply.
• Applicants must meet all qualification and eligibility requirements within 30 days of the closing date of this announcement.

NOTE: This is a career ladder opportunity with promotion potential to grade 14. Selection for this position will be made at the grade 13 or 14 level. Candidates may be non-competitively promoted to grade 14 upon the recommendation of the supervisor based on classification requirements, satisfactory performance, and qualifications of the employee. First consideration may be made 14 days after the opening date.


The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) is at the forefront, internationally, of the scientific exploration of the universe. SAO combines its resources with those of the Harvard College Observatory to form the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). The CfA is the best-known astrophysics center in the world. Its programs range from ground-based astronomy and astrophysics research to space-based research, the engineering and development of major scientific instrumentation for space launch and use in large ground-based facilities, and research designed to improve science education. The research objectives of SAO are carried out primarily with the support of Government and Smithsonian Institution funds, with additional philanthropic support. Government funds are in the form of Federal appropriations or the form of contracts and grants from other agencies. In contrast, Institution funds are available to SAO through grants from the Institution's Restricted Funds, Special Purpose Funds, Bureau Activities, Business Activities, and non-Federal contracts and grants.

The Floating Business Operations Manager will be in the Director’s Office of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO). SAO, with the Harvard College Observatory (HCO), comprises the Center for Astrophysics (CfA) | Harvard & Smithsonian. The purpose of the position is to serve as manager, on a temporary as-needed basis, for all the non-scientific aspects of any of the SAO’s Divisions, Centers, or Technical Groups [hereafter referred to as Stakeholder(s)] and specifically to administer sponsored projects, human resources, and financial functions; supervise administrative staff; provide effective administrative liaison within SAO and to HCO; and support the Division Chairs (DC) or lead PIs and other Observatory senior management in long-range planning and special projects as assigned.

• Serve as an administrator in non-scientific administration, supporting proposals and projects for near- and long-term division planning, including staffing, funding, space, and other resource requirements.
• Manages all aspects of the stakeholders’ internally and externally funded sponsored project activities.
• Responsible for the Stakeholder's budget's practical and technical aspects.
• Oversees the Stakeholder’s human resources administration.
• Serves as a project manager for ongoing initiatives, responsible for implementing major projects to change or enhance business practices, processes, and systems at the SAO.
• Performs other related tasks and participates in special projects as requested by the division chair or SAO senior management, including providing support in departments as time allows and as needs arise.


Basic Requirements:
Candidates must possess at least one year of specialized experience at or above the grade (12 ) level in similar positions. Specialized experience is experience that has provided the knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the position's work.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities required:
Budget Administration: Thorough understanding 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: Advanced knowledge of techniques for monitoring and managing expenditures to ensure cost effectiveness, including the use of cost-benefit analysis to set priorities, and specialized knowledge of SAO/SI financial processes and procedures.

Contracting/procurement: Specialized knowledge of various types of sponsored research contracts, grant proposal preparation and award administration requirements (for example, NASA or NSF), and related knowledge of procurement requirements such as Federal Acquisitions Regulations.

Research Administration: Knowledge of contract administration sufficient to monitor long and short-term research and/or development contracts that extend over several years and cover research, development, testing, and/or production of complex state-of-the-art scientific equipment and instrumentation.

Human resources administration: General knowledge of government performance management systems, recruitment policies and practices, and personnel policies and procedures.

Communications skills: Ability to express information effectively in all formats, considering the audience and nature of the information; to make clear and convincing presentations; and to listen to others, attend to nonverbal cues, and respond appropriately.

Computer Skills: Advanced knowledge of and ability to effectively utilize enterprise applications and desktop software, including spreadsheets, databases, project scheduling, and document preparation tools.

Any false statement in your application may result in your application being rejected and may also result in termination after employment begins.

The Smithsonian Institution values and seeks a diverse workforce. Join us in "Inspiring Generations through Knowledge and Discovery."

Resume/CV should include a description of your paid and non-paid work experience that is related to this job; starting and ending dates of job (month and year); and average number of hours worked per week. College Transcript should be provided if using education for qualification.

What To Expect Next: Once the vacancy announcement closes, a review of your resume will be compared against the qualification and experience requirements related to this job. After review of applicant resumes is complete, qualified candidates will be referred to the hiring manager.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The Smithsonian Institution provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation should contact h@cfa.harvard.edu. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis. To learn more, please review the Smithsonian’s Accommodation Procedures.

The Smithsonian Institution is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We believe that a workforce comprising a variety of educational, cultural, and experiential backgrounds support and enhance our daily work life and contribute to the richness of our exhibitions and programs. See Smithsonian EEO program information: www.si.edu/oeema.

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in our workplace. Please visit the SAO website at http://www.cfa.harvard.edu
Cambridge MA United States


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