Job Overview


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 (NSF) is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Program Director for the Lower Atmospheric Observing Facilities (LAOF)Program. This Facility Program Director position resides within the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Facilities Section (NFS) of the Atmospheric and Geospace Science Division (AGS) of the Geoscience Directorate for NSF.

The Lower Atmospheric Observing Facilities (LAOF) Program consists of planning, budgeting, coordination, and oversight of multi-user national facilities that are sponsored by NSF for the geosciences research community. Program Management resides within NFS which provides a single point for coordination. Geosciences research often requires specialized facilities, instrumentation and field support services to carry out scientific field work that is needed to understand the complex, interdependent geophysical processes, often covering remote areas of the globe. Making platforms and instrumentation available to support scientific experiments depends upon adequate acquisition, operation, maintenance, upgrading and replacement of these facilities. Also these platforms and instruments may collect large and sometimes unique data sets that must be validated, archived and made available to the research community. Likewise both pre- and post-planning for scientific field programs (e.g., experimental design, operational plans, logistical support) in which NSF sponsored facilities are deployed is an important element of the overall program.

More information regarding the Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences can be found here.


The LAOF Program Director is responsible for long range planning, budgeting, coordination, and oversight of multi-user AGS national lower atmospheric observing facilities. These facilities include aircraft, radars, sounding system and other in situ and remote sensing facilities. Specific activities include: providing NSF oversight of the Earth Observing Laboratory of NCAR; serving as the cognizant Program Director for cooperative agreements associated with AGS national observing facilities; serving as the AGS expert and point of contact for atmospheric observing facilities; serving on intra-agency, interagency and international committees regarding facilities; working with NSF science Program Directors to ensure coordination and optimal use of AGS observation assets.

The responsibilities of the NSF Program Director are constantly evolving. The Program Director is guided by the goals of NSF's Strategic Plan: (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.

Responsibilities of the Program Director include, for example, long-range planning and budget development for the areas of science represented by the program or program cluster, the administration of the merit review process and proposal recommendations, the preparation of press releases, feature articles and material describing advances in the research supported, and coordination and liaison with other programs in NSF, other Federal agencies and organizations.

Major Duties and Responsibilities


  • Maintains a healthy balance of support for all the needs of the research and education enterprise either through program, division; directorate, Foundation, or interagency activities.
  • Manages program resources so as to provide optimal appropriate scientific judgment to insure integrity and consistency in the grant/declination process without conflict of interests, and with balance among appropriate sub-fields and institutions, and participation of all qualified scientists. Incorporate cross-directorate responsibilities into program administration.
  • Manages an effective, timely merit review process, with attention to increasing the size and quality of the reviewer pools and insuring participation by women, minorities and disabled scientists.
  • Provides scientific expertise, evaluation and advice for other programs in NSF, including international programs, other research programs, and cross-directorate programs.
  • Advises and assists in the development of short- and long-range plans, establishing goals and objectives for research programs. Plans the budget for the resources within that budget distributing scarce resources among major competitive programs, and manage post-award evaluation.
  • Controls waste, fraud and abuse.


  • Represents the Program, Division and Foundation within the scientific community, with other NSF Divisions, with other appropriate agencies and organizations, and with the public, accurately reflecting NSF policy and positions.
  • Creates and maintains linkages to other NSF units and other Federal agencies in pursuit of the overall NSF mission.
  • Participates in staff, panel, committee and other meetings, providing input relevant to Program area and/or Division.
  • Pursues affirmative action and EEO goals.
  • Pursues and/or be responsive to assignment on special projects and temporary functional teams from across the Foundation to solve problems, improve staff communication, and effect coordination for special programs.
  • Contributes ideas and efforts to improving the quality of policies and NSF's performance of the overall mission. Develops policies and plans for strengthening research and education programs. Provides information to the community on how NSF is pursuing its mission and gather data and impressions form the community on the effectiveness of NSF's performance of its mission.
  • Prepares and disseminates a variety of informational documents which may include data on progress being made toward NSF's goals, trends and opportunities papers, and budget plans.


  • Establishes contacts and maintains active involvement in Program and related areas through participation in professional activities. Maintains familiarity with salient current research developments. Pursues individual research as workload and travel funds permit.
  • Expands administrative capabilities through training courses or assumption of new management responsibilities.