Interdisciplinary (Program Director)

Directorate: Geosciences (GEO)
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

Position Summary

The Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) is seeking highly motivated and experienced individuals to fill the role of Program Director with expertise in support of research and education on understanding and adapting to the changes in the atmosphere, earth, ocean, and polar regions.

The responsibilities of the NSF program officer are constantly evolving.  The program director is guided by the NSF vision of advancing discovery, innovation, and education beyond the frontiers of current knowledge, and empowering future generations in science and engineering through the four interrelated strategic outcome goals of Discovery, Learning, Research Infrastructure, and Stewardship.

The Directorate supports basic research that advances the frontiers of knowledge and drives technological innovation while improving our understanding of the many processes that affect the global environment. GEO is comprised of:

  • Earth Sciences (EAR): Supports research to improve understanding of the structure, composition, processes, and evolution of the earth.
  • Ocean Sciences (OCE): Supports research on all aspects of global oceans and their interactions with the earth and the atmosphere.
  • Office of Polar Programs (OPP): Supports world-class Arctic and Antarctic science through grants, polar facilities and operational support.
  • Research, Innovation, Synergies and Education (RISE): Fosters transdisciplinary collaborations that engage the broader community to drive transformative discoveries, innovations in workforce development, and use-inspired solutions for urgent Earth system challenges.

Specifically, GEO supports the role of the atmosphere, oceans, land, and cryosphere in climate, the planetary water cycle, and ocean acidification. Support is provided for interdisciplinary studies that contribute directly to national research priorities such as: understanding, adapting to, and mitigating the impacts of global change; developing and deploying integrated ocean observing capabilities to support ecosystem-based management; understanding future availability of fresh water; and polar research across the range of NSF science. Lives are saved, and property is preserved through better prediction and understanding of natural environmental hazards such as earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, drought, and solar storms. Basic research supported by GEO enables preparation for and subsequent mitigation of, or adaptation to, the effects of these and other disruptive natural events.

A description of the Directorate for Geoscience can be found at

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) Empower STEM talent to fully participate in science and engineering, 2) Create new knowledge about our universe, our world, and ourselves, 3) Benefit society by translating knowledge into solutions, and 4) Excel at NSF operations and management. 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 an appropriate field of geoscience or a related science or engineering field supported by GEO, plus after the award of the degree, six or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position; OR a Master’s degree in an appropriate field of geoscience or a related science or engineering field supported by GEO, plus after award of the degree, eight or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position.

In addition to the standard qualifications, successful candidates must possess effective oral and written communication skills, the capacity to function effectively as a member of crosscutting and interactive teams, and demonstrated leadership abilities to guide GEO investments that enhance the mission of NSF and GEO. Candidates interested in becoming an IPA in the Antarctic Sciences must pass the physical qualifications. Candidates should demonstrate the ability to organize, implement, and manage an externally reviewed, proposal-driven grants program, allocating resources to meet a spectrum of program goals.


Applications of interest should be submitted by email with a program of interest in the subject line and must include contact information, a current CV, and a statement briefly describing the candidate's background that specifically relates to the position's duties and requirements. Applicants may also wish to include their timeframe of availability and a list of references.


Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences (GEO/AGS)

Division of Earth Sciences (GEO/EAR)


Division of Ocean Sciences (GEO/OCE)


Division of Research, Innovation, Synergies, and Education (GEO/RISE)


Office of Polar Programs (GEO/OPP)