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Vacancy Details


Announcement Number:
Hiring Agency:
Position Title:
Ecologist (Conservation)
Open Period:
08/23/2017 - 09/20/2017


GS - 0408 12
(USD) $79,720 - (USD) $103,639
Promotion Potential:
Duty Location(s):
few Vacancies in

Front Royal, VA, US
For More Info:
Lily Mellor


Who May Apply:
This position is open to all U.S. Citizens or U.S. Nationals. Note: Federal employees with permanent status or individuals eligible for special appointing authorities may also apply to Job Announcement #17A-LM-303002-MPA-NZP.

Security Clearance Required:
Public Trust - Background Investigation
Duration Appointment:
Marketing Statement:
The Smithsonian Institution values and seeks a diverse workforce. Join us in "Inspiring Generations through Knowledge and Discovery."
This position is located at the Conservation Ecology Center (CEC) of the National Zoo’s Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) with the primary duty station located in Front Royal, Virginia.  The incumbent is responsible for developing, planning, executing a highly competitive and independent international research program. The program will focus on theoretical and applied science for landscape-level conservation and ecology of large and threatened terrestrial mammal species, with an additional focus on reintroduction/restoration of these species to their native range. The incumbent will have a broad range of skills allowing her/him to lead and integrate diverse program components, such as animal capture/collaring field missions, movement and habitat modeling, and public outreach; extensive experience in the application of new technologies to conservation and species restoration, including new analytical and quantitative approaches, geospatial analysis (e.g. GIS, remote sensing, UAV monitoring), agent-based modeling of animal movements, as well as web-based mapping and visualization of spatial data; experienced in developing, planning, and conducting extensive field missions to capture, collar, and track large and threatened  mammals in remote field locations, and to collect critical data for addressing theoretical and applied research questions.

This is a research position requiring the incumbent to secure funding for research and conservation project, execute and manage the research project, conduct data analysis, publish scientific articles on the findings from this work, collaborate broadly with scientific colleagues and partners on research, and be an active and successful member of a global conservation science community and participation in academic meetings and symposia.

The incumbent will be responsible for developing academic and professional training opportunities in his/her area of expertise to contribute to the training of future generations of conservation ecologists; experience conducting research and conservation in developing countries including fostering government relations, coordinating national and international teams of researchers and support staff, and interacting with multiple stakeholders and local communities. Previous experience working in international partnerships in Africa, preferably in SCBI focal countries such as Kenya, Chad, and Niger will be an advantage. 
Supervisory Position:
Relocation Expenses Reimbursed:
Travel Required:
Occasional Travel

Travel Required:  25% or GREATER


  • Designs, develops, and executes a comprehensive international research program with multiple scientific research projects focusing on landscape-level conservation, ecology, and restoration of large and threatened mammal species.
  • Utilizes new tools and technology for advancing conservation and restoration of large and threatened mammal species.
  • Independently performs all phases of the complete research process, including problem definition, planning, execution, data analysis, and interpretation of findings.
  • Ensures an annual budget proposal and expenditure plan is developed and monitors spending of both federal allocation and assigned trust funds (grants/contracts, gifts).

Qualifications and Evaluations

Qualification requirements must be met within 30 days of the job announcement closing date.
Key Requirements:
  • Pass Pre-employment Background Investigation
  • May need to complete a Probationary Period
  • Maintain a Bank Account for Direct Deposit/Electronic Transfer
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service.
  • Education Requirements:
    Your resume will be used to evaluate your experience, education, and/or training that address the competencies below:
    1. Knowledge in conducting conservation research at the landscape level on large and threatened terrestrial mammal species.
    2. Skills as ecology researcher and principal investigator, including publishing, and providing scientific advice, expertise and service.
    3. Skill in advancing new tools and technology for the conservation of large, threatened terrestrial mammal species.
    4. Skill in developing and managing international research and conservation programs on a large threatened mammal species in a focal country.
    Applicants who meet or exceed minimum qualifications will be assigned to one of three category groups based on job-related criteria: Best Category - Meets the minimum qualification requirements and excels in most of the job related competencies above. Better Category - Meets the minimum qualification requirements and satisfies most of the job related competencies above. Good Category - Meets the minimum qualification requirements, but does not satisfy most of the job related competencies above to a substantive degree. This category rating process does not add veterans' preference points or apply the "rule of three", but protects the rights of veterans by placing them ahead of non-preference eligibles within each category. A selecting official may make selections from the highest quality category (Best Category) provided no preference eligible in that category is passed over to select a non-preference eligible in that category unless the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 3317(b) or 3318(b) are satisfied. Preference eligibles who meet minimum qualification requirements and who have a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent must be listed in the highest quality category, except when the position being filled is scientific or professional at the GS-9 grade level or higher. Applicants who have not submitted a resume in the USAjobs system and/or have not answered all of the vacancy questions will not be considered for this position.

    Important Note: The review of your resume will determine your final rating and should provide sufficient information regarding how your education and experience relate to this position, including the major duties and qualifications criteria listed.
    All applicants must meet these Basic Requirements Specialized Experience:  (You must submit unofficial school transcripts in order to receive further consideration.)

    Degree: biology, or a related field of science underlying ecological research that included at least 30 semester hours in basic and applied biological sciences. These hours must have included at least 9 semester hours in ecology, and 12 semester hours in physical and mathematical sciences.

    In addition to meeting Basic Requirements above,You qualify for this position if you possess one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-11 level in the Federal Service or comparable pay band system.  For this position Specialized experience is defined as conducting conservation research at the landscape level on large and threatened terrestrial mammal species, serving as an ecology researcher and principal investigator (including publishing, and providing scientific advice, expertise and service), advancing new tools and technology for the conservation of large, threatened terrestrial mammal species and developing and managing international research and conservation programs on a large threatened mammal species.

    Part-time and/or unpaid experience related to this position will be considered to determine the total number of years and months of experience. Be sure to note the number of paid or unpaid hours worked each week.

    Or Education: Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree or 3 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree or LL.M., if related.

    Or a Combination: Education and experience may be combined to meet the basic qualifications. For a full explanation of this option please see the Qualification Standards. Special Instructions for Foreign Education: If you are qualifying by education and/or you have education completed in a foreign college/university described above, it is your responsibility to provide transcripts and proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study. For instructions on where to fax these documents, see the "Required Documents" section of this announcement.

    Benefits and Other Info

    The Smithsonian offers a comprehensive benefits package that
    includes, in part, vacation and sick leave, holidays, health/life
    insurance, accident insurance, and excellent retirement program
    Please see Benefits at <a
    href=""> for a complete
    Other Information:
    Flexible Spending Accounts - <a
    Health Insurance - <a
    Leave - <a
    Life Insurance - <a
    Long Term Care Insurance - <a
    Retirement Program - <a

    How to Apply

    How to Apply:
    Click on the "Apply Online" button on the upper right side of the page. Please Note:
    • You must apply for this position online through the 'Apply Online' button and submit required supplemental documents (if they are relevant to you).
    • You may submit required documents by uploading them online during the application process; OR You may manually fax required documents. Faxes are received by an automated system, not a physical fax machine. Documents that are faxed as part of the application process must be sent with the system generated cover sheet by the closing date. Documents faxed without the system generated coversheet are not retrievable and cannot be considered as part of the application package.
    • The complete application package, including any required documents, is due in the Smithsonian Office of Human Resources on the closing date of the announcement by 11:59 PM Eastern Time.
    Required Documents:
    Your application package should include the following documents:
    • Detailed resume created in the USAJOBS Resume Builder.
    • Proof of Veteran's Preference - DD214 (Member 4 Copy), if you are a veteran. Additionally, applicants claiming 10-point preference must complete Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, as well as additional documentation required by the SF-15, such as a VA letter.
    • Unofficial school transcripts, You must submit unofficial school transcripts in order to receive further consideration. If selected for the position, you must provide an official transcript before appointment.
    • Proof of U.S. accreditation for foreign study, if applicable.
    What to Expect Next:
    At the end of the application process you will be able to create and save a PDF file that contains your responses to the assessment questions. You may save this file as initial receipt of your application. After the job announcement closes, you will receive an email from the Smithsonian with confirmation of receipt. The Smithsonian receives many applications for each job. Each application is reviewed carefully which may take a few weeks. We will send you an e-mail to update you as we go through phases of the application review process. You may also check your application status by logging into and selecting the tab "My USAJOBS;" e-mailing; or by contacting the Office of Human Resources Representative listed.

    Additional Information:
    • Tips on applying for Smithsonian jobs are available at
    • The Smithsonian does not pay relocation expenses.
    • The Smithsonian embraces diversity and equal employment opportunity (