Job Overview


About the Agency

Applicants wishing to apply for a Permanent Appointment should see Job Announcement AST-2014-0002.

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 NSF is seeking a qualified candidate for the position of Program Director in the Electromagnetic Spectrum Management Unit (ESMU), which is housed within Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST), Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS).

The objective of NSF’s ESMU is to ensure the access of the scientific community to portions of the radio spectrum that are needed for research purposes. The ESMU staff accomplishes its objective by representing the interests of the NSF and the scientific community in various national and international regulatory bodies, including the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL), and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU); and by communicating with the science community about spectrum-related issues that impact scientific use of the radio spectrum. ESMU staff is also responsible for obtaining certification and frequency authorizations for radio systems operating under NSF control. ESMU provides spectrum management support for the entire NSF, including radio astronomy, remote sensing, satellite systems, oceanography, ionospheric and magnetospheric radars, and routine operational systems that require spectrum support.

Although the primary focus of this position is on electromagnetic spectrum management, the selected candidate may also be called on to assist or lead in managing portions of NSF’s “Enhancing Access to the Radio Spectrum” (EARS) grant program. EARS supports research into innovative ways to use and manage the electromagnetic spectrum for increased access, and is intended to be responsive to the Nation’s broadband goals. Program management of EARS may include soliciting grant proposals, interfacing with current and prospective Principal Investigators (PIs), organizing and running proposal review panels, and making funding recommendations.

For more information about AST and its programs, please visit here.


The candidate selected for this position will be directly responsible for establishing NSF’s positions on a wide range of spectrum-related issues, and will work within various national and international committees to further those positions. The successful candidate will also be responsible for making presentations at scientific conferences and advisory bodies on spectrum-related issues, and will interface with government and private-sector spectrum-using entities to coordinate frequency use.

ESMU duties related to this position may include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Represent the interests of the United States’ scientific community within international and regional telecommunications communities;

• Participate in and contribute to the U.S. preparatory process for ITU Study Groups and Working Parties;

• Participate in and contribute to ITU Working Parties and Study Groups;

• Participate in ITU World Radiocommunication Conferences and Conference Preparatory Meetings; and

• Participate in and contribute to regional coordination bodies, in particular the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL).

Represent the interests of the United States’ scientific community within the national telecommunications regulatory structure:

• Represent the National Science Foundation at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Interdepartment Radio Advisory Committee and its subcommittees;

• Serve as expert advisor and technical consultant to any element of the NSF and to other governmental organizations on the use of the electromagnetic spectrum for scientific research, particularly relative to electromagnetic spectrum management policy; and

• Represent NSF's Electromagnetic Spectrum Management Unit at conferences, workshops, outreach events, and within NSF itself, to explain the value of the radio spectrum for scientific and engineering research.

Provide spectrum support for NSF-funded projects and facilities:

• Prepare applications for NTIA spectrum certification of NSF-supported radio systems;

• Obtain NTIA frequency authorizations for NSF-supported radio systems;

• Interact with NSF facility personnel and NSF-funded PIs to maintain a two-way dialog on current spectrum issues impacting NSF investments; and

• Negotiate and execute coordination agreements with third parties on behalf of NSF-funded facilities and projects.

Duties related to managing the EARS program may include:

• Maintain a healthy balance of support for all the needs of the research and education enterprise either through program, division; directorate, Foundation, or interagency activities;

• Manage 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;

• Manage 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; and

• Plan the budget for the EARS program, considering past, present and future fiscal years; allocate resources within that budget so as to distribute scarce resources among the most compelling scientific proposals, and manage post-award evaluation.

Travel Required

  • Occasional Travel
  • International travel is required, typically for one week at a time three to four times per year, but occasionally for durations as long as five weeks to attend World Radiocommunication Conferences approximately every four years.

Relocation Authorized

  • Yes
  • Relocation MAY be paid on the availability of funds.