Early Career Researchers Coordinator | Center for Astrophysics

Job Summary

Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement

Job Description

SAO is at the forefront, internationally, of the scientific exploration of the universe. 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.

This position aims to support the scientific members in the early stages of their scientific careers by administering the Fellowship Programs and advocating for appointees in the Postdoctoral, Predoctoral, Visiting Scientist, and Internship Programs.  The coordinator will support Associate Director for Internal Relations with implementing and managing initiatives supporting diversity, culture, inclusion, belonging, and professional development across the Early Career Researchers programs.


  1. Administers the SAO Fellowship Programs by managing and coordinating the process from recruitment, application, review, acceptance, orientation, programming, and exiting.  Prepares effective and efficient communication within and outside the Center for Astrophysics (CfA) about the Fellowship and Internship Programs, including advertising and recruitment opportunities, guiding application processes, and managing timelines. 
  2. Supports the Associate Director for Internal Relations (ADIR) with managing communications and workflows across the SAO divisions and works with relevant department administrators to identify and resolve friction points.  Assists the ADIR with evaluating, assessing, and reporting the effectiveness of recruitment strategies.  Works with the CfA Computation Facility to regularly update relevant CfA website content and online application procedures.
  3. Helps ensure effective, efficient, timely, and clear communication across internal and external stakeholders, including the SAO science divisions, Human Resources, Finance Management, the Director’s Office, Smithsonian Institution, SAO staff, other SI offices and units, other scientific institutions and government agencies, sponsors, and community organizations, Harvard College Observatory, and Harvard University. 
  4. Reviews awards, stipends, and allowances relative to peer institutions to recommend changes needed to remain competitive within/across fields of study and identify opportunities for improvement and growth. Stays abreast of changes in Smithsonian Institute and Harvard University policies for managing and supporting Postdoctoral, Predoctoral, Visiting Scientist, and Internship Programs.  
  5. Manages confidential actions (enrollments, exits, changes) and proceedings related to insurance coverage and benefits for non-employee early career researchers (monthly invoices, billing issues, premiums) as well as information related to tax reporting status (withholding, tax treaty, substantial presence test). As well as assisting Fellows to develop and manage professional budgets, track expenses, and prepare travel as needed. 
  6. Prepares census data, general reports, and agendas for meetings with stakeholders that include the Director’s Office, SAO, SI, and review committees.  Maintains accurate and relevant information on past and current fellows, including following professional career paths after ECRs exit SAO for longitudinal analysis.
  7. Perform other related duties as assigned.


Minimum of one-year specialized experience equivalent to at least grade 9 in the normal line of progression for this occupation.  Specialized experience is an experience that has equipped the applicant with the competencies/knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the position, such as listed in the major duties.


Bachelor’s or equivalent degree.


Three full years of progressively higher-level graduate education leading to such a degree.


a combination of education and experience.

For information on qualification requirements, see Qualification Standards Handbook for General Schedule Positions, viewable on the web at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/0300/miscellaneous-administration-and-program-series-0301/

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:

● Demonstrated skill in administering intern and fellowship programs for an organization, including knowledge of tax regulations, health insurance, international academic activities, and best practices for collaborative research programs

● Mastery of principles, standards, and practices governing academic fellowship and grant programs to provide analyses, expert guidance, and management recommendations.

● Ability to write and submit timely and accurate reports for relevant programs and projects.

● Skill in establishing and maintaining effective, cooperative, and supportive work relationships to coordinate efficiently with relevant stakeholders, both internal and external to the organization.

● Demonstrated ability to implement and support inclusive professional development programs for interns, predoctoral students, and postdoctoral fellows. 

● Experience developing content for website/online platforms, managing databases, and tracking metrics for analysis.

Required Documents: To receive consideration, applicants must submit all of the following:

1. CV 

2. A 2-page Statement addressing the duties and qualifications required of the position

3. A 1 page Diversity and Inclusion Statement: The statement should address your prior experience in increasing/improving diversity and inclusion 

4. Unofficial school transcripts if you are using education to qualify. 

5. Names and email addresses for three (3) professional references.

We are only accepting applications online for this position.  To apply, please visit https://lweb.cfa.harvard.edu/pcgi/opportunities/jobs?pid=23115

Conditions of Employment:  

Successful completion of a pre-employment background investigation.                                                                   

A one-year probationary period is required.         

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

Visit the SAO website at http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/

Application Details

Publication Start Date
2023 Sep 16
Application Deadline
2023 Oct 15


Kim-Vy Tran