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    The National Science Foundation is seeking qualified candidates to fill Program Director positions in the Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST), Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, in Alexandria, VA.

    The mission of AST is to support forefront research in ground-based astronomy; to help ensure the scientific excellence of the U.S. astronomical community; to provide access to world-class research facilities through merit review; to support the development of new instrumentation and next-generation facilities; and to encourage broad understanding of the astronomical sciences by a diverse population of scientists, policy makers, educators, and the public at large. The Division supports research in all areas of astronomy and astrophysics as well as related multidisciplinary studies. Because of the scale of modern astronomical research, the Division engages in numerous interagency and international collaborations. Areas of emphasis and the priorities of specific programs are guided by community recommendations, which have been developed and transmitted by National Academies decadal surveys and reports, and by federal advisory committees. In the near term, AST is developing strategies to implement responses to the recent National Academies study on the ground-based optical/infrared telescope system and the mid-term review of progress on the 2010 decadal survey. Within the next two years, the Division will be working with NASA, DOE, and the National Academies to implement the next decadal survey in astronomy and astrophysics.

    The candidates selected for this position will have responsibility in one or more of the following areas: coordination of the merit review of individual research proposals or instrumentation proposals; management oversight of one or more mid-scale instrumentation/science awards; management oversight of facilities; and interacting with other NSF programs, Federal and international agencies and organizations. Program Directors are expected to bring their scientific expertise to the activities of the Division, and to serve as a liaison between the astronomical community and NSF, disseminating information about NSF and Division activities and opportunities. Candidates are expected to work with the astronomical research and education community to broaden the diversity of participants in NSF programs.

    More information about AST programs can be found here.

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    The responsibilities of the NSF Program Director are constantly evolving. The Program Director is guided by the goals of NSF’s Strategic Plan: (1) expand knowledge in science, engineering, and learning; (2) advance the capability of the Nation to meet current and future challenges; and (3) enhance NSF’s performance of its mission. The core strategies NSF staff employ include developing intellectual capital, strengthening the physical infrastructure, integrating research and education, and promoting partnerships. Duties include some combination of the following:

    • Conduct appropriate oversight of facilities in operation or under construction, including activities such as review of budgets and annual program plans, and possible divestment or re-purposing of individual facility components.
    • Manage program resources for individual investigator programs to ensure an effective, timely merit review process that (1) provides appropriate scientific judgment to insure integrity and consistency in the grant/declination process without conflict of interests, and (2) balances among appropriate sub-fields and institutions, including participation of all qualified proposers.
    • As part of core program administration, increase the size and quality of the reviewer pools and ensure participation by women, minorities and disabled scientists in the review process.
    • Plan the science strategy and budget for any individual investigator programs being managed, 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. Programs may focus on scientific research, instrumentation, training, or education.
    • Develop and execute partnerships with other federal agencies, international partners, and private/university entities within the United States, for both mid-scale and large facilities, as well as smaller-scale individual investigator programs.
    • Provide support to the research and educational communities served by the Division, Directorate and Foundation.
    • Provide scientific expertise, evaluation and advice for other programs in NSF, including international programs, other research programs, cross-directorate and cross-agency programs.
    • Advise and assist in the development of short and long range plans, establishing goals and objectives for research programs. As appropriate, incorporate the recommendations of Federal advisory committees (Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee; Mathematical and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee) and their subcommittees, as well as input from National Academies studies, into the development of these plans.

    Supervisory status


    Promotion Potential


    Who May Apply

    This job is open to…

    Applications accepted from U.S. Citizens.

    Federal Appropriations Law requires that Non-Citizens meet certain eligibility criteria to be considered. Therefore, Non-Citizens must certify eligibility by signing and attaching this Citizenship Affidavit to their application. Non-citizens who do not provide the affidavit at the time of application will not be considered eligible.

    Questions? This job is open to 1 group.

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/499497600. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.