Job Overview


About the Agency


This job opportunity announcement has been amended to extend the closing date to August 6, 2014.

Please DO NOT USE the APPLY ONLINE BUTTON when applying for this announcement. Your application material should be sent to the email address indicated in the How To Apply section below.

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 Senior Executive Service (SES) covers managerial positions above GS-15 in the Federal Service.  Persons appointed to the SES are eligible for health benefits, life insurance, social security, Federal retirement and thrift savings plan coverage, and participate in the Federal leave system.  Career appointees are eligible for bonuses based on performance in addition to base pay.  Competitive status is not required, veterans preference does not apply and there are no grade restrictions.  New appointees to the SES are required to serve a one-year probationary period.  Final selection of career appointees requires the approval of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  OPM approval will be based on the selectee's background in the following five executive core qualification areas: (1) Leading Change, (2) Leading People, (3) Results Driven Leadership, (4) Business Acumen, and (5) Building Coalitions.  These areas are incorporated in the five executive/managerial requirements for the position.  Information about the leadership requirements for SES-level positions is available on the OPM website.

This position may also be filled on a one-to-three year Senior Executive Service (SES) Limited Term Appointment or on an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) assignment basis.  Under the provisions of the IPA, assignees remain on the payroll of his/her home institution and the institution continues to administer pay and benefits.  The National Science Foundation (NSF) will reimburse the home institution for NSF's negotiated share of the costs.


The Head of the Polar Environment, Safety and Health (PESH) Section is responsible to the Director of the Division of Polar Programs (PLR) for the overall planning, management, and oversight of environmental, safety and health (including medical) aspects of research and operations supported by NSF and conducted in polar regions. The responsibilities extend to the activities of all Federal agencies in Antarctica.

Additional duties include the following:

  • Develop environmental, safety and health program plans for the U. S. programs in polar regions in support of long-range scientific and national goals.
  • Oversee the planning, coordination and management of policy and direction for all aspects of safety and health (including medical care) related to PLR-supported activities.
  • Establish priorities for environmental, health and safety activities and provide the Division Director with the technical, budgetary, and programmatic information needed for the formulation of Division-wide budgets and long-range plans.
  • Provide oversight of medical practices and facilities of the U. S. Antarctic Program, including those at three land-based medical clinics, in the isolated sick bays aboard research vessels, and at remote field stations, together with associated emergency response coordination.
  • Oversee the development, review and evolution of health screening criteria for participants in the U.S. Antarctic Program and an appropriate subset of participants in projects supported by the Arctic Section
The PESH Section Head serves as a member of the PLR leadership team and promotes liaison between the Section and other units of the Division and NSF, and other agencies and international organizations involved in support of environmental, safety and health goals in polar regions. PLR consists of four sections with a staff of approximately 60, and administers an annual budget of $450 million. PLR supports research in all areas of fundamental science and engineering in polar regions through research grants and awards to universities and other research organizations and through the provision for logistics support and infrastructure in the remote polar regions. Additional information about PLR can be found here.