Job Listings

Program Administrator

Harvard University
Job Location:
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Sponsored Programs, Grants, and Contracts
Faculty of Arts and Sciences


Job Summary

The Harvard College Observatory (HCO) is seeking an experienced administrator to support the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) research group. Cosmic Microwave Background observations reveal signatures of the physics that drove the birth of the universe, the creation of its structure, and its present-day expansion.

The Program Administrator is responsible for all administrative, operational, financial, and personnel functions for the Harvard CMB Group, which conducts collaborative research with teams of astrophysicists from multiple institutions as part of the BICEP Array program. The CMB Group performs research in Harvard laboratories, as well as at a remote research site in Antarctica; coordinates activities with HCO, Physics Department, and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) administration; and serves as the main point of contact for collaborators from other institutions.

Job-Specific Responsibilities

General/Personnel Administration
  • Provide administrative and operational support for students and faculty, including event planning, calendar management, network publications, subscriptions, and web page development and maintenance. Handles travel arrangements for faculty, students, collaborators, consultants, and researchers. Advises researchers, graduate students, and undergraduates on Harvard College Observatory (HCO), Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), and University policies and procedures. Manage sophisticated correspondence, communications, and scheduling; write clear, professional letters from brief outlines; address queries, including those from the media; take initiative for complex decisions; operate with independence.
  • Responsible for research group member onboarding. Work with department administration on effort reporting and compliance issues. Manages graduate student and researcher appointments. Manage interactions with minors in the lab. Responsible for visa application materials/process. Liaise with members of the HCO core administration to coordinate administrative activities and promote efficient operations and communication. Keeps faculty attuned to the demands of the day at hand and the weeks ahead. Assists in manuscript preparation and faculty activity reporting and provides teaching support.
Research Administration
  • Responsible for pre-and post-award grants management.
  • Reviews program announcements/solicitations and Harvard and sponsor policies to ensure that proposals conform with agency guidelines and format requirements; work with faculty, scholars, collaborators, and HCO core administration to plan, prepare and submit proposals to federal and non-federal funding agencies, track sub-award deliverables. Review contracts and grant terms and advise faculty on project administration. Interpret financial and business terms of sponsored agreements and financial management of active awards. Perform timely financial analysis and provide faculty with regular updates for each of their awards and accounts. Tracks deadlines and schedules financial and non-financial reports.
Finance and Operations
  • Functions as equipment manager for 2 Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) Group labs; oversees complex equipment procurements and handles shipping and insurance issues. Conduct financial analysis, projections, and financial reporting. Balances expenses among grants. Approves, tracks, and project expenditures and advises, and makes recommendations, including implementation of budget strategies.
  • Process expense reports, vouchers, requisitions, and other financial transaction
  • Manage all local financial transactions including reimbursements, pcard and corporate card expenditures, purchasing, etc.
  • Assists Principal Investigator with project management.
  • Lead team of several undergraduate student assistants in departmental projects.
  • Execute other projects assigned throughout the year.
  • Performs other duties as required.
Basic Qualifications

Bachelor's degree and at least three years related experience in finance, accounting, or administration.

Additional Qualifications and Skills

Experience in an academic department highly preferred.

Must be able to troubleshoot, take initiative, and handle confidential information.

Demonstrated competencies in all areas including strong technical skills, experience with desktop and web publishing and graphics programs, ability to work independently and as part of a team.

Strong problem-solving skills, written and verbal communication skills, commitment to customer service excellence. Ability to handle multiple projects and conflicting priorities under time pressure while delivering high-quality results, attention to detail, flexibility in assuming responsibilities, function well in a fast-paced, changing work environment.

Solid working knowledge of managing NSF, DOE, and other sponsored awards and demonstrated experience with federal research financial policies and regulations, Uniform Guidance, and with external sponsored requirements and systems for submitting or reviewing proposals (e.g., Fastlane).

Intermediate to advanced software proficiency, especially Excel, and financial skills (budgeting, reporting, accounting, A/P, and A/R) and Oracle and Harvard financial and reporting systems are strongly preferred. Solid working knowledge of office processes and related computer software and electronic communications tools preferred.

Additional Information

To be considered for this position, a cover letter and resume are required.

Harvard University will not provide visa sponsorship for this position.

PLEASE NOTE:During the current period of Covid-19 related restrictions, this position may start as a remote position, with the transition to onsite in Cambridge when the office reopens.
We continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 and the lifting of restrictions. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility with our interview process. We will be conducting interviews virtually for selected candidates until further notice

FAS is committed to cultivating not only the diversity of our faculty, staff, and students but also in developing an inclusive culture that is vibrant, engaging and encouraging of innovation as well as intellectual debate. We believe creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace allows employees from all backgrounds and walks of life to achieve their fullest potential. We also believe an inclusive culture is one that accepts, values and views as strengths the difference we all bring to the workplace.
The Harvard College Observatory is a unit within Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), the research arm for the Astronomy department, and a partner in the Center for Astrophysics Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA) collaboration.

The position is under review for FLSA status change from exempt to non-exempt.

All formal offers will be made by FAS Human Resources.

Job Function
General Administration

USA - MA - Cambridge

Job Code
359056 Admin Dept/Program Admin


Harvard College Observatory

Time Status

Salary Grade

00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Pre-Employment Screening
Education, Identity

Monday -- 9am to 5pm
Wednesday -- 9am to 5pm
Thursday -- 9am to 5pm
Friday -- 9am to 5pm

EEO Statement
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.
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