Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Physical Scientist (Program Director)
Agency:  National Science Foundation
Job Announcement Number:  AGS-2013-0005

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$105,211.00 to $163,957.00 / Per Year
Thursday, March 28, 2013 to Friday, April 26, 2013
Full-time. - This position will be filled as a one- or two-year VSEE, IPA, or as a Fed Temp Appointment
FEW vacancies - Arlington, VA, US  View Map
Applications will be accepted from US Citizens. Due to a recent change in Federal Appropriations Law, only Non-Citizens who are permanent US residents and actively seeking citizenship can be considered for Federal appointments. Therefore, you are required to provide documentation that confirms you are actively seeking citizenship at the time you submit your application. Non-citizens who do not provide documentation will only be considered for the IPA program.


Applicants wishing to apply for a Permanent Appointment should see Job Announcement AGS-2013-0004.

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.

The National Science Foundation is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Program Director for the Aeronomy Program, in the Geospace Section (GS), Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences (AGS), Directorate for Geosciences (GEO).  The Aeronomy program supports research on upper and middle atmosphere phenomena of ionization, recombination, chemical reaction, photo emission, transport of energy, and momentum.  This program also supports research into mass in the mesosphere-thermosphere-ionosphere system including the processes involved and the coupling of this global system to the stratosphere below and magnetosphere above and the plasma physics of phenomena manifested in the coupled ionosphere-magnetosphere system, including the effects of high-power radio wave modification.  Being an NSF Program Directors requires not only knowledge in the appropriate scientific disciplines but also a commitment to high scientific standards, considerable breadth of scientific interest and receptivity to new ideas, strong sense of fairness, good judgment, and a high degree of personal integrity and ethics.

More information about AGS and its programs can be found here.


  • Background investigation.
  • Preview questions at bottom of Qualifications & Evaluations--see tab above


Back to top

The position is that of Program Director for the Upper Atmospheric Research Section located in the Upper Atmosphere Research Section, Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Directorate for Geosciences. The Division is responsible for managing the major atmospheric sciences activities supported by the Foundation.

The incumbent of this position shares responsibilities for planning and administration of Aeronomy studies within the framework of legislation, agency policies, missions, objectives and resources and serves as spokesperson for the Section/Division with regard to the scientific community.  The incumbent is responsible for the planning, coordination, and management of basic and applied research, facilities, and other scientific activities primarily through Federal grants, and contracts to academic institutions, non-profit, non-academic research institutions, professional organizations, and the private sector. The incumbent is also responsible for initiating new programs, organizing symposia, and changing objectives of research efforts which have impact on major areas of science.  The incumbent serves as the NSF's representative on permanent or ad hoc committees to assess the scientific quality and validity on ongoing research and to plan future approaches.  The activities of the scientific discipline are broad in scope and require close coordination with related programs, both within and outside the agency, and have national and international scope and impact. Contacts are typically with eminent scientists.


The incumbent of this position serves as a recognized authority in Aeronomy, Magnetospheric, Solar Terrestrial and Upper Atmospheric Facilities, a nationally important area of scientific endeavor.



The incumbent assumes the shared responsibility for research proposals submitted to the Foundation in Aeronomy.

  1. Manages/monitors grants/interagency agreements/contracts under his/her purview to ensure fulfillment of commitments to/and evaluation of reports and publications submitted by awardee and/or meetings either at NSF or site visits. Revises projects budgets and project descriptions as necessary and gives guidance and oversees management of projects to the extent appropriate.
  2. Maintains liaison and coordination with other Federal agencies in connection with duplicate proposals or the joint funding of proposals.
  3. Recommends for support basic scientific research through contracts, grants, loans, or other forms of assistance that may be approved and provided by the Foundation for the conduct of basic research.
  4. Organizes special advisory groups within his/her Program responsibilities to assist in the evaluation of projects in these areas within and outside the Foundation.
  5. Plans and takes appropriate action to strengthen research and education in his/her scientific subdisciplines, including independent research by individuals throughout the United States (including the territories and possessions), avoiding undue concentration of such research and education.
  6. Serves as adviser and consultant within the Foundation in the scientific subdisciplines for which he/she is responsible.
  7. Serves as advisor and consultant with Foundation on matters pertaining to contracts and other arrangements with organizations or individuals in foreign countries and with agencies of foreign countries and to promote the cooperation of the Foundation in international research activities in the scientific subdisciplines for which he/she is responsible. Evaluates research programs in the scientific subdisciplines for which he/she is responsible.
  8. Organizes colloquia, symposia, and other forms of meetings for scientific or administrative purposes in order to formulate policy and objectives for efficient administration practices with the U.S. Government, to initiate research programs and policy, and to disseminate scientific information.
  9. Develops reports and other data required in preparation of budget estimates, planning documents, special reports, etc.
  10. Prepares reports and recommendations for the National Science Foundation on the Foundation in his/her subdisciplines, on the status of research in these subdisciplines, availability of research facilities, manpower, both professional and training, fiscal needs of various research activities, etc.
  11. Takes final action on proposals assign to him/her by the Section Head.




Back to top

Applicants must have a Ph.D. or equivalent experience in a field relevant to ionospheric or upper atmospheric physics, plus six or more years of successful research, research administration, leadership, and/or managerial experience to pertinent to the position.

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

You must meet eligibility and qualification requirements before 11:59 PM Eastern time on the closing date of the job announcement. You must answer all job-related questions in the NSF eRecruit questionnaire.

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.


You will be evaluated on the extent and quality of your experience, expertise, education, and research activities relevant to the duties of the position.
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. Ability to communicate effectively and work productively with the scientific community, peers, and co-workers at all levels to advocate program policies and plans and to fulfill NSF's mission.

    2. Ability to organize, implement and manage a proposal-driven grant program, allocating resources to meet a spectrum of goals, including ensuring integrity and consistency in the grant award/declination management process.

    3. Knowledge of management and organizational concepts, principles, practices and techniques with expertise in large project management and/or research administration.

    4. Ability to develop and manage cross-disciplinary research opportunities in addition to developing and evaluating education and training opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral researchers.

    5. Experience with building coalitions with different elements of the Federal, academic and private sector research and education communities.

    6. Ability to provide the intellectual leadership to achieve results that significantly enhance the strength and potential of the national atmospheric and geospace science research community.

To preview questions please click here.


Back to top
Under the provisions of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, assignees remain on the payroll of his/her home institution and the home institution will continue to administer pay and benefits.  NSF will reimburse the home institution for NSF's negotiated share of the cost of the assignment.  Individuals eligible for an IPA assignment include employees of State and local government agencies, institutions of higher education, Indian tribal governments, federally funded research and development centers, and qualified nonprofit organizations. Under the provisions of the IPA Act, non-citizens may be considered as long as the individual is employed at an IPA-eligible institution.   For more information regarding an IPA assignment, visit our website.

For Visiting Scientist appointments, individuals are in a non-pay leave status from their home institutions and are appointed to NSF's payroll as Federal employees.  NSF withholds Social Security and provides reimbursement to the home institution for fringe benefits.  For information regarding Visiting Scientist appointments, visit our website.

For more information regarding Federal Temporary Appointments, visit OPM's website.


Relocation expenses will be paid subject to funds availability.

For additional information on the NSF eRecruit system, please visit our NSF eRecruit Frequently Asked Questions.


Back to top

Your application should be submitted online and must be completed and all required documents successfully faxed or uploaded before 11:59 PM Eastern time on the 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) 292-5090 for assistance.



Non-Citizens who are permanent US residents and actively seeking citizenship are required to provide documentation that confirms you are actively seeking citizenship at the time you submit your application. Non-Citizens who do not provide documentation will only be considered for the IPA program. 

You are strongly encouraged to submit information regarding relevant awards received in the previous five years; a current performance appraisal; and/or letters(s) of recommendation. Additionally, you are strongly encouraged to submit a supplemental statement that describes how your background relates to the Quality Ranking Factors listed in the Qualifications and Evaluation Requirements section of this announcement. This information will be used in the evaluation process.

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

Faxing Instructions: Please print out the appropriate fax coversheet(s) and follow the instructions carefully. All faxing must be completed before 11:59 PM Eastern time on the job announcement closing date. 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 document(s).


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

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

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).


Sacreia osborne
Phone: 703-292-8267
Fax: 703-292-9279
TDD: 703-292-5090
Agency Information:
4201 Wilson Blvd
Room 315
Arlington, VA
Fax: 703-292-9279


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. 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.

Back to top
EEO Policy Statement | Reasonable Accommodation Policy Statement | Veterans Information | Legal and Regulatory Guidance