Interdisciplinary (Program Director)

Directorate: Engineering (ENG)
Job Type:
Appointment Type:
Temporary / Rotator
Pay Grade/Scale:
This job is open to the public

Application timeline

Date Posted:
Closing date: Open until filled
Formal consideration of interested applicants will begin and will continue until a selection is made.

Position Summary

The Directorate for Engineering at the National Science Foundation, announces a nation-wide search for an engineering professional to serve as a Program Director in the Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) Program.

The NSF EFRI program provides critical, strategic support of fundamental discovery at the frontiers of engineering research and education. These investments represent transformative opportunities, potentially leading to:

  • new areas for fundamental or applied research;
  • new industries or capabilities that result in a leadership position for the country;
  • and/or significant progress on a recognized national need or grand challenge.

To identify promising future research opportunities, the EFRI program seeks continual input from the engineering community. This input comes from workshops, advisory committees, technical meetings, professional societies, proposals and awards, and NSF committees of visitors, as well as from periodic calls for EFRI topic ideas.

From this comprehensive input, the Engineering Directorate identifies, evaluates, and prioritizes those frontier topics that best match the EFRI criteria:

  • holds potential for transformative outcomes,
  • addresses a national need or grand challenge,
  • involves multi- or interdisciplinary research,
  • includes a community who is poised to respond, and
  • offers a clear leadership role for Engineering.

Position Description

Program Directors have an unparalleled opportunity and responsibility to ensure NSF-funded research is at the forefront of advancing fundamental knowledge. In support of that, Program Directors are responsible for extensive interaction with academic research communities and industry, as well as interaction with other Federal agencies that may lead to development of interagency collaborations. Within this context, Program Directors solicit, receive and review research and education proposals, make funding recommendations, administer awards, and undertake interaction with research communities in these fields. They are also responsible for service to Foundation-wide activities and initiatives that together accomplish NSF’s strategic goals to: 1) Transform the Frontiers of Science and Engineering, 2) Stimulate Innovation and Address Societal Needs through Research and Education, and 3) Excel as a Federal Science Agency. The position requires a commitment to high standards of intellectualism and ethical conduct, a considerable breadth of interest, receptivity to new ideas, a strong sense of fairness, good judgment, and a high degree of personal integrity.


The position recruited under this announcement will be filled under the following appointment option(s):

Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Assignment: Individuals eligible for an IPA assignment with a Federal agency include employees of State and local government agencies or institutions of higher education, Indian tribal governments, and other eligible organizations in instances where such assignments would be of mutual benefit to the organizations involved. Initial assignments under IPA provisions may be made for a period up to two years, with a possible extension for up to an additional two-year period. The individual remains an employee of the home institution and NSF provides the negotiated funding toward the assignee's salary and benefits. Initial IPA assignments are made for a one-year period and may be extended by mutual agreement. 

It is NSF policy that NSF personnel employed at or IPAs detailed to NSF are not permitted to participate in foreign government talent recruitment programs.  Failure to comply with this NSF policy could result in disciplinary action up to and including removal from Federal Service or termination of an IPA assignment and referral to the Office of Inspector General.

Applications will be accepted from U.S. Citizens. Recent changes in Federal Appropriations Law require Non-Citizens to 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. Non-Citizens are not eligible for positions requiring a security clearance.

To ensure compliance with an applicable preliminary nationwide injunction, which may be supplemented, modified, or vacated, depending on the course of ongoing litigation, the Federal Government will take no action to implement or enforce the COVID-19 vaccination requirement pursuant to Executive Order 14043 on Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees. Federal agencies may request information regarding the vaccination status of selected applicants for the purposes of implementing other workplace safety protocols, such as protocols related to masking, physical distancing, testing, travel, and quarantine.

Candidates must have a Ph.D. in engineering or physical science, plus after award of the Ph.D., six or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position.

This position is an opportunity to ensure NSF funds the forefront of engineering research. Experience working within a team environment and some administrative skills (budget, people) are needed. Appointees are expected to function effectively both within their specific program and as a member of crosscutting and interactive teams. Skills in multidisciplinary research are highly desirable.

To apply, email a single PDF document that includes: (i) a cover letter outlining qualifications for the position, (ii) a curriculum vitae, (iii) Citizen affidavit, as applicable. Please make sure that in the subject line of your e-mail you reference the DCL number that applies to this specific announcement.

  • Vacancy Contact: Dr. Sohi Rastegar
  • Application Timeline
    • Open Date: September 29, 2023
    • Close Date: Until filled
    • Date Consideration Begins: October 1, 2023