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    NIST works with industry and science to advance innovation and improve quality of life. We’re looking for a Biologist to join our team!

    This notice is issued under direct-hire authority to recruit new talent to occupations for which NIST has a severe shortage of candidates.

    Learn more about this agency


    This position will:

    • Perform research and measurements related to plastic polymers and additives in the environment
    • Contribute to the characterization of environmental samples and reference materials using techniques of micro FTIR, differential scanning calorimetry, ATFTIR and other spectroscopic techniques for the determination of polymers especially weathered polymers
    • Use GC-MS for the determination of plastic additives
    • Collect, sort, and identify micro and microplastic present in the marine environment.
    • Assist with the biospecimen collection and sample archival.
    • Prepare reports of analysis on all measurement projects; assist with or take the lead on the preparation of peer-reviewed manuscripts relating to work
    • Attend relevant scientific meetings and stake holder meetings to present results of work.

    Travel Required

    Not required

    Supervisory status


    Promotion Potential


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    Conditions Of Employment

    You must be a U.S. Citizen

    Males born after 12-31-59 must be registered for Selective Service

    You must be suitable for Federal Employment



    1. Degree: biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to the position.


    1. Combination of education and experience: Courses equivalent to a major, as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

    IN ADDITION:  To qualify, applicant must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-09 level (or ZP-II at NIST).  Specialized experience is defined as (3 of the following) experience with analytical chemistry, polymer identification; experience with sorting and spectroscopically identifying polymers; experience with mass spectrometry such as ICP-MS and GC-MS; experience with biospecimen sampling from marine organisms and preparation of tissues for long-term frozen archival.


    Master’s or equivalent graduate degree

    NOTE: Education and experience may be combined for all grade levels for which both education and experience are acceptable.

    Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done. We will credit all qualifying volunteer experience in your application.

    The qualification requirements in this vacancy announcement are based on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Qualification Standards Handbook.

    Applicant Reconsideration


    This position has an education requirement. Transcripts must be submitted to validate that the education requirement has been met. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted in the application package. However, an official copy will be required prior to a final offer of employment.

    (Education completed outside of the U.S. must be evaluated by an accredited organization to ensure that it is comparable to education received in accredited institutions in the U.S. Click here to view a listing of accredited organizations from the Department of Education's website. A copy of the foreign education evaluation (containing the results with a course by course listing) is required with your application.)

    Additional information

    The physical worksite for this position is located in Kekaha, HI.  However, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Material Measurement Laboratory (MML), Chemical Science Division (CSD), Biochemical and Exposure Science Group (B&ESG) is currently under a maximum telework posture due to the COVID-19 pandemic; therefore, this position is currently under a 100 percent telework schedule.  The position’s telework schedule will likely change in the future when NIST, MML, CSD, Biochemical and Exposure Science Group moves away from its maximum telework posture.  At that time, the incumbent will be expected to report to the physical work site in accordance with the updated status requirements of their supervisor.  The nature and scope of future telework opportunities will be subject to the unit’s telework policy, any applicable bargaining unit agreements, and supervisory approval.  Payment of relocation expenses, as applicable, will be paid in accordance with this Job Opportunity Announcement.  Non-compliance with the supervisor's telework-schedule requirement could result in adverse action,  including separation.

    This position is covered under NIST’s Alternative Personnel Management System (APMS). The APMS is a pay-for-performance system with excellent HR flexibilities to help NIST recruit and retain top talent. Find out more about the APMS here!

    A trial period may be required.

    This appointment may be extended up to four years without further competition.

    We may share your application package with other selecting officials at NIST with opportunities like this one. Additional selections may be made through this vacancy.

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    We will review your resume, optional cover letter and supporting documents to assess your qualifications for this position.    

    All applicants that meet the minimum qualifications will be referred to the selecting official for consideration. Under Direct Hire Authority, applicants are not rated and ranked and veteran’s preference does not apply.

    CTAP and ICTAP Eligibility:  To be eligible for CTAP or ICTAP consideration, you must submit the required documents to establish eligibility (see required documents) and meet the minimum qualification requirements.  You may be contacted to provide a response to assessment questions related to the position. To be considered CTAP or ICTAP eligible, you must receive a well-qualified score of at least 85 of out 100 on your assessment responses.  Additional information may be found at:  CTAP/ICTAP.

    Resume Guidance

    Evaluation Process

    CTAP and ICTAP Eligibility

    To preview questions please click here.

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance


    Drug test required


    Position sensitivity and risk

    Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

    Trust determination process


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    Required Documents

    In addition to your resume, transcripts must be submitted to validate that the education requirement has been met. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted in the application package. However, an official copy will be required prior to a final offer of employment.

    Failure to submit the required documents may result in loss of consideration due to an incomplete application package.

    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.

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    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.

    NIST strives to build a flexible and encouraging work environment to bring out the best in our employees. To help our employees balance responsibilities at home and at work, NIST offers a variety of work-life flexibilities such as:

    ·       Telework

    ·       Flexible work schedules

    ·       Paid parental leave

    ·       Paid vacation

    ·       Sick leave

    ·       Family-friendly leave

    ·       Child and elder-care resources

    ·       On-site childcare center

    ·       Lactation spaces

    ·       Wellness programs

    ·       Fitness center

    ·       Employee assistance programs


    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.

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    How to Apply

    Click ‘Apply’ and we'll walk you through a 4-Step Application Process on how to attach a resume and any required documents. While working on an application you may review, edit, delete and update information. We’ll automatically save progress made as you go, so any changes won’t be lost.

    NIST Application Tips

    Need Help?

    • If experiencing any difficulties with the online application process (anything after you have clicked the 'Apply Online' button): please contact the Agency Contact listed on this announcement between normal business hours (8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET). If receiving any kind of error message, please be ready to provide a screenshot or at a minimum, the error message text and number. If necessary, we will provide you with a technical support number for further assistance.  

    • If having trouble with USAJOBS (searching for jobs, account password/profile issues, or Resume Builder): please visit the USAJOBS Resource Center. We regret that we are unable to support any issues with USAJOBS, as this service is not maintained by the NIST.

    • If experiencing a significant hardship which hinders your ability to apply on-line, please contact the Agency Contact listed on this announcement prior to the vacancy closing date and during normal business hours to discuss your situation.

    Agency contact information

    Katerina Andrews








    100 Bureau Drive
    Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899
    United States
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    Learn more about what it's like to work at National Institute of Standards and Technology, what the agency does, and about the types of careers this agency offers.


    Next steps

    To check the status of this vacancy, log into USAJOBS account and select the ‘Application Status’ link. We will update applicant statuses when:

    • A qualification determination is made. If found to be not qualified/eligible, no additional updates will be provided.
    • Applications are referred to the selecting official.
    • A selection decision has been made.

    Please notify us if your contact information changes after the closing date of the announcement. Also, note that if you provide an email address that is inaccurate or if your mailbox is full or blocked (e.g., spam-blocker), you may not receive important communication that could affect your consideration for this position.

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/603794100. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.