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Job Title:
Sr. Contract Specialist, IS-1102, Grades 13, 14; $110,798 - $170,205 per year
Type of Position:
Trust Fund (non-federal) Indefinite
Job Location:
Cambridge, MA
Posting Opening Date:
Posting Closing Date:

AREA OF CONSIDERATION:   This vacancy is open to all qualified candidates who are US citizens or Perm residents..

Note: First consideration may be made 14 days after the opening date. Selection maybe made at either grades. If selected at grade 13, the candidate maybe non competitively promoted to next grade level upon the recommendation of the supervisor based on classification requirements, satisfactory performance and qualifications of the employee.


This is the position of Senior Contract Specialist, which is located in the Subawards Section of the Sponsored Programs and Procurement Department of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory [SAO]. The Incumbent is responsible for all elements of complex procurement projects involving subcontracts and research subawards and contracts. The Incumbent is responsible for pre-award and post-award functions involving procurements of significant importance to the Smithsonian.


Duties at grade 13:

1. Performs subcontract and contract planning, negotiation, administration, and close-out for all assigned projects. Projects typically are of significant importance to the Smithsonian, extend over several years time, and involve multiple contracts, change orders, and modifications. 

2. Reviews requests from SAO divisions and projects for the procurement of complex systems, equipment, services and/or supplies. Analyzes the requirements, develops the evaluation criteria, recommends revisions to the statement of work or technical specifications, as necessary, and decides on the type of contract, milestones, and procurement plan.

3. Prepares solicitation documents for the item or service. 

4. Analyzes incoming proposals prepared by the subcontractors, contractors and subrecipients for conformance with the solicitation. 

5. Negotiates with potential contractors/subcontractors or collaborating agencies and institutions on all phases of contracts/subcontracts and other subawards. 

6. Performs contract/subcontractor and subaward administration functions for complex projects, handling a variety of actions and problems relating to assigned to those awards. Establishes, monitors, and enforces progress and performance goals. Issues award modifications. 

7. Coordinates with the requesting offices on the contractors’ and subcontractors’ requests for waivers or deviations from contract terms. 

8. Requests determination of overhead rates from auditor for cost type subcontracts [if required] and ensures delivery, inspection, and acceptance of the contractual end-items before initiating final closeout of the contract.

9. Reviews completed official award files.

10. Assist SPP Manager in the negotiation of other complex agreements, including: non-disclosure agreements, interagency agreements, MOUs and other collaboration agreements.

11. Represent SPP Subawards section in program meetings, proposal planning and development involving subcontracts and subawards. 

12. Serve as Acting Department Manager in absence of SPP Department Manager.

Duties at grade 14 in addition to the above:

1.- Provides overall human resources management to the Subawards Section.

2. Develop and maintain subcontracting and subaward policies and procedures, in consultation with SPP Department Manager.

3. Lead the negotiation of other complex agreements, including : non-disclosure agreement, interagency agreements, MOUs and other collaboration agreements.

4. Represent SPP Subawards section in progra meetings, proposal planning and development involving subcontracts and subawards.

5. Represents SAO as primary contract for government auditors for the Subrecipient portion of the annual Univorm Guidance Single Audit and the Contractor Purchasing System Review.

6. Serve as Acting Department Manager in absence of SPP Department Manger.



Basic Requirements for GS-13 and Above
Completion of all mandatory training prescribed by the head of the agency for progression to GS-13 or higher level contracting positions, including at least 4-years experience in contracting or related positions. At least 1 year of that experience must have been specialized experience at or equivalent to work at the next lower level of the position, and must have provided the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the work of the position.


A 4-year course of study leading to a bachelor's degree, that included or was supplemented by at least 24 semester hours in any combination of the following fields: accounting, business, finance, law, contracts, purchasing, economics, industrial management, marketing, quantitative methods, or organization and management.

Additional information

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 Procedures:  We are only accepting online applications for this position. To apply please visit USAJOBS


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

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