• Help



    The National Science Foundation is seeking qualified candidate for an Interdisciplinary (Ocean Policy Specialist) position in the Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE) within the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO), Alexandria, VA.

    For more information on GEO please click here.

    For more information on OCE please click here.

    Learn more about this agency


    The Ocean Policy Specialist supports achieving the goals and core strategies of NSF's Strategic Plan, as well as those of the OCE within GEO. The goals are: 1) enable the United States to uphold a position of world leadership in all aspects of science, mathematics, and engineering; 2) promote the discovery, integration, dissemination, and employment of new knowledge in service to society; and 3) achieve excellence in U.S. science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education at all levels. The core strategies NSF staff employs include developing intellectual capital, strengthening the physical infrastructure, integrating research and education, and promoting partnerships.

    The Ocean Policy Specialist provides ocean* policy governance, and operational support to OCE, interagency committees within the Executive Office of the President, and community advisory entities. Ideally, the Ocean Policy Specialist will have knowledge of ocean or ocean-related science and technology fields and issues; understanding of ocean or ocean-related science and technology policy governance; experience with ocean or ocean-related policy analysis, development, and/or implementation; familiarity with the interplay between science and policy and the ability to communicate across thee areas; exceptional organizational skills, attention to detail, and ability to coordinate and track multiple, simultaneous activities; and skill in technical writing.

    (*"Ocean" covers ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes)


    The Ocean Policy Specialist is responsible for assisting with development of policy positions and recommendations and preparation and analysis of policy related documents, supporting interagency committees and advisory entities, contributing to ocean science and technology aspects of ocean policy implementation, and providing general support for OCE in managing coordinating or responding to ocean policy governance or related activities.


    • Promotes a healthy balance of support across the needs of the research and education enterprise through program, division, directorate, Foundation or interagency activities.
    • Provides policy and governance input for other programs in NSF, including international and cross-directorate programs as assigned.


    • Supports high-level ocean science and technology interagency committees and community advisory entities, including but not limited to:
      • Coordinates committee leadership and membership meetings, including but not limited to record keeping and scheduling.
      • Contributes to and assists in planning for and ensuring efficient and effective progress toward the committee's strategic direction.
      • Provides recommendations to committee staff and leadership on accomplishing short and long-range goals and guiding decision-making.
      • Tracks and assists with completion of committee actions, including mandates from Administration policy and Congressional statue.
      • Assists with committee special projects, including but not limited to researching and analyzing issues.
      • Assists with preparation of reports, policy documents, memos, and publications for committee deliberation and action, including but not limited to researching and analyzing issues.
      • Vets presentations and reports to the committee staff and leadership and full committee.
      • Assists with communication and connectivity between the committee, its sub-bodies, and other committees, including but not limited to serving as a committee liaison depending on level of experience and areas expertise.
      • Assists with tracking and implementing national-level ocean policy actions.
    • Supports NSF leadership on ocean policy and governance matters, including but not limited to:
      • Assists with developing policy options, recommendations, and NSF positions on interagency ocean science and technology policy and governance issues, including but not limited to conducting research and analysis.
      • Assists with preparing NSF leadership for engaging in high-level interagency and Executive Office of the President forums, including but not limited to researching and coordinating multiple sources of input.
    • Assists with NSF representation on interagency entities.
    • Assists with NSF planning, research, and analysis of documents and activities related to ocean policy and governance, including but not limited to developing and providing input on deliberative materials, and takes the lead when assigned.
    • Contributes to ocean science and technology aspects of interagency ocean policy and governance planning and implementation.
    • Supports interagency ocean policy, governance, or related projects.
    • Pursues affirmative action and EEO goals.
    • Participates in meetings relevant to program area.
    • Prepares and disseminates a variety of informational documents.

    Supervisory status


    Promotion Potential


  • Help


    Conditions Of Employment

    • Background investigation.
    • Selective Service registration required for male applicants, unless exempt.

    You will need to successfully complete a background security investigation before you can be appointed into this position.

    All online applicants must provide a valid email address. If your email address is inaccurate or your mailbox is full or blocked, you may not receive important communication that could affect your consideration for this position.

    This position is in the bargaining unit.

    Please preview "Evaluations" section and "Qualifications" for additional requirements and Quality Ranking Factors.


    Candidates must have a Ph.D. in a biological science, physical science, or a related science discipline; OR a Master’s degree in a biological science, physical science, or a related science discipline plus, after award of the Master’s degree, two or more years of successful research, research administration, program or policy analysis, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position; OR a Bachelor’s degree in a biological science, physical science, or a related science discipline plus, after award of the Bachelor’s degree, four or more years of successful research, research administration, program or policy analysis, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position.

    Advanced degrees in policy specific to ocean or ocean-related disciplines will be evaluated and may be considered as a related discipline.

    This position is outside the competitive civil service.

    You must meet eligibility and qualification requirements by the closing date of the announcement.


    Additional information

    Relocation expenses MAY be paid contingent upon the availability of funds

    This announcement is open to (All US Citizens OR current NSF employees) who meet citizenship and eligibility requirements.

    Federal Appropriations Law requires that Non-Citizens meet certain eligibility criteria to be considered. Therefore, Non-Citizens must certify eligibility by signing and attaching this Citizenship Affidavit to their application. Non-citizens who do not provide the affidavit at the time of application will not be considered.

    This announcement may be used to fill like positions in other organizations within the National Science Foundation.

    NSF has determined that all of its positions are eligible for telework. Work suitable for telework depends on job duties; therefore, employees must receive approval from their supervisor for telework and have a telework agreement in place. Entering into a telework agreement is voluntary.

    The Selected Candidate(s) may be subject to a background investigation.

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    You will be evaluated on the extent and quality of your experience, expertise, education, and research activities relevant to the duties of the position.  In some cases, additional assessment processes may also be used.

    We strongly encourage you to specifically address the Quality Ranking Factors below. This will ensure that you receive full consideration in the evaluation process.

    Quality Ranking Factors 

    1. Knowledge of ocean or ocean-related science and technology research, fields, and issues.
    2. Knowledge of science or environmental policy and/or governance. Please specify any knowledge related to ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes topics.
    3. Experience researching, analyzing, developing, and/or implementing science or environmental policies and/or governance. Please specify any experience related to ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes topics.
    4. Ability to organize across and coordinate multiple, simultaneous activities, maintain records, and track details. Please specify any experience related to supporting and managing committees, panels, or similar entities.
    5. Skill in research, policy, analytical, and/or technical writing. Please specify types of documents and audiences and any writing related to ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes topics.

    To preview questions please click here.

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance


    Drug test required


  • Help

    Required Documents

    All applicants must submit a resume in any format, and may also submit a cover letter.

    In order to be considered for federal appointments, Non-Citizens must affirm that they meet the Appropriations Law eligibility criteria by signing and attaching this Citizenship Affidavit  to their application. Non citizens who do not provide the affidavit at the time of application will not be considered. Non Citizens who are exempt from the Appropriations Law requirements due to their status as officers or employees of the U.S. government on December 16, 2009 must provide a statement with their application noting their exemption with documentation of proof of status as officers or employees of the U.S. government on that date.

    You are strongly encouraged to submit a current performance appraisal and/or letter(s) of recommendation and a supplemental statement that describes how your background relates to the Quality Ranking Factors (QRFs) listed in the Qualifications and Evaluation Requirements section of this announcement.  This information will be used in the evaluation process.

    We also ask that you complete and submit the Applicant Survey.  This will help NSF to ensure that our recruiting efforts are attracting a diverse candidate pool; it will be used for statistical purposes only.

    You can fax or upload your letter of recommendation(s) or the individual(s) can email the letter of recommendation(s) to adsearch@nsf.gov; please ask him/her to put your name and the job announcement number in the subject line.

    Transcripts are not required; however, please indicate the year that each degree was obtained on your application materials.

    All faxing/uploading must be completed before 11:59 PM Eastern time on the vacancy closing date.  If you are faxing your information, please use extreme care in dialing the fax number to assure we receive your information.  You will receive an email confirmation of receipt of your faxed/uploaded document(s).

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

  • Help


    A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding.

    A GREAT LOCATION! The National Science Foundation Headquarters is conveniently located across the street from the Eisenhower Avenue Metro Station, right in Alexandria, VA, a few miles from downtown Washington, DC. There are shops and restaurants within walking distance, as well as historic Old Town Alexandria a short trip away. Employees receive the Federal benefits package and NSF offers:

       Pre-tax parking
       Public transportation subsidy
       Child care subsidy
       Flexible working hours
       Physical Fitness Facility on site
       Health Services Unit on site
       Employee Assistance Program

    Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

  • Help

    How to Apply

    Your application must be submitted online and all document faxing/uploading must be completed before 11:59 PM Eastern time on the vacancy closing date.
    You must answer all of the job-related questions to ensure full consideration for this position. For more detailed information, please review our NSF eRecruit Frequently Asked Questions.

    WARNING! Applications submitted online must have a valid email address. If your email address is inaccurate or your mailbox is full or blocked, you may not receive important communication that could affect your consideration for this position.
    If you are unable to apply electronically, please use the Contact Information below for special instructions on how to submit your application materials. Hearing impaired individuals may call TDD (703) 292-8044 for assistance.


    Agency contact information

    Desiree' Morehead








    4215 Eisenhower Ave
    Alexandria, Virginia 22314
    United States
    Learn more about this agency

    Become a part of our mission to maintain and strengthen the vitality of the US science and engineering enterprise.  For over 60 years, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has remained the premier Federal agency supporting basic research at the frontiers of discovery across all fields, as well as science and engineering education at all levels.

    Next steps

    Shortly after the announcement closes, you will be notified as to whether or not you meet the basic qualification requirements.  If you do, you will receive further consideration and evaluation.  If the position is in the bargaining unit, and your application is referred to the selecting official, you will be contacted for an interview if interviews are conducted.  Interviews for positions not in the bargaining unit may be conducted at the discretion of the selecting official.  All qualified applicants will receive final notification of the outcome of the job opportunity announcement.

    You may check the status of your application at any time on the USAJOBS website.

    We highly recommend that all candidates opt to receive email notifications for job status updates.

Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy And gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:

  • An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Legal and regulatory guidance

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/536164300. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.