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The Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate is a senior level position responsible for providing executive leadership, overall planning, direction, and effective management of NASA programs concerned with the scientific exploration of the Earth, Moon, Mars and beyond, including charting the best route of discovery and reaping the benefits of Earth and space exploration for society. As such, the incumbent manages and sponsors research, flight missions, advanced technology development and related activities required to expand our understanding of the Earth and the Sun, and the Sun's effect on the solar system environments; explore the solar system with robots to study its origins and evolution including the origins of life within it, bringing the lessons of our study of Earth to the exploration of the solar system, and vice versa; and explore the universe beyond the search for planets and life in other solar systems to the origin, evolution, and destiny of the universe itself.
The incumbent is responsible for leading the NASA Science Mission Directorate, executing Headquarters Executive responsibilities for assigned areas, and supporting the overall vision and mission of the Agency. In particular the incumbent develops and oversees sustained and affordable scientific exploration of Earth and space that will expand the frontiers of Earth science, heliophysics, planetary science, and astrophysics. Specifically, the incumbent:
- Engages the science community via the National Research Council and the NASA Advisory Council to seek advice on priorities for NASA's science portfolio.
- Sponsors research by academia, NASA Centers, other Federal research centers, industry, and others selected through open, competitive solicitations.
- Ensures that Science programs have appropriate interagency and industrial cooperation, capitalize on synergy between science and other Agency investments, fully exploit industry and other government agency technology, and seek commercialization opportunities for science research and applications.
- Develops and/or leverages advanced technologies to meet science mission requirements and enable new scientific endeavors.
- Formulates, plans, and advocates Science programs consistent with the Agency and Mission strategic plan, including negotiating Program Commitment Agreements with the Administrator. Defines required policies and guidance, and approves program plans.
- Leads the Directorate's budget development and approval process.
- Establishes and maintains relationships with industry, political constituents, universities, the scientific community, advisory groups, and other Government agencies with respect to agency-wide research requirements in general and Science programs in particular.
- Furthers the goals of equal employment opportunity and diversity by taking positive steps to support the accomplishment of affirmative action objectives and by adhering to nondiscriminatory employment practices in all areas under his/her supervision.