Division Director, Division of Research, Innovation, Synergies, and Education (RISE)

Directorate: Geosciences (GEO)
Job Type:
Senior Executive/Leadership
Appointment Type:
Temporary / Rotator
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 Geosciences (GEO) announces a nationwide search to fill the position of Director, Division of Research, Innovation, Synergies, and Education (RISE) through an assignment under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA). Formal consideration of interested applicants will begin 5/15/2023 and continue until a selection is made.

The mission of the RISE Division is to support novel, complex, or partnership projects in both research and education. These investments cut across traditional boundaries within the geosciences, encouraging interdisciplinary activities and responding directly to critical needs of the entire geoscience community. RISE’s principal goals are to develop innovative means to initiate and support geoscience education, attract underrepresented groups to careers in the geosciences, foster the interchange of scientific information nationally and internationally, and join with other parts of NSF in major integrative research and education efforts. The division makes strategic investments in multidisciplinary research areas, international activities, as well as education, diversity, and human resource development activities. The results of RISE investments will ensure that the United States has a well-educated and diverse workforce in the geosciences and in related technical fields such as resource exploration.

Position Description

The RISE Division Director serves as a member of the GEO leadership team and as the Directorate’s principal for both research and education research and represents NSF to relevant external groups. The RISE Division Director is also expected to foster partnerships with other divisions, directorates, Federal agencies, scientific organizations, and the academic community. In collaboration with the Deputy Division Director, Program Directors, and Administrative Personnel the incumbent is responsible for the overall planning, management and commitment of budgeted funds for the Division, and overseeing and managing the effective use of division staff and resources in meeting organizational goals and objectives. These activities include providing guidance to program directors and administrative personnel, recruitment of scientific staff, assessing operational needs and trends, developing programmatic opportunities, implementing overall strategic planning, preparing, and justifying budget estimates, allocating resources, overseeing the merit review process, and concurring on recommendations for awards and declinations.


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. https://www.nsf.gov/careers/Definition-of-Foreign-Talent-HRM.pdf.

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.

The successful candidate will possess an established record of significant achievement in research, administration, and increasing leadership responsibility in academe, industry or government. Additionally, the Division Director must be experienced and competent in technical, financial and administrative management. The incumbent must work well with people, be an effective communicator, and be committed to continuously develop the diversity of talents and skills of the team.

The Qualification Requirements of the position are listed below:

Executive/Managerial Requirements

  1. Leading Change. Demonstrated ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. Includes the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment.
  1. Leading People. Demonstrated ability to lead people toward meeting the organization’s vision, mission, and goals. Includes the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts.
  1. Results-Driven Leadership. Demonstrated ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Includes the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks.
  1. Business Acumen. Demonstrated ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically.   
  1. Building Coalitions. Demonstrated ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals.

Professional/Technical Requirements

  1. Education, strongly preferred at the Ph.D. level, or equivalent professional experience or a combination of education and equivalent experience in geosciences or a closely related field.
  1. Substantial research contributions and service to geosciences research and education communities as evidenced by publications, innovative leadership in research administration, broadening participation, and professional leadership and awards.
  1. Skill in balancing complex and diverse program demands and available resources in response to major advances or changing needs of science and engineering research and technology.
  1. Broad understanding of universities and other institutions where research and education in science and engineering is conducted, including knowledge of grant administration and fiscal management.

Please submit a current CV accompanied by a cover letter or supplemental statement that addresses the qualification requirements of the position. Applications should be transmitted electronically to execsrch@nsf.gov or mailed or delivered to the following address:


National Science Foundation

Executive Services Branch

Division of Human Resource Management

2415 Eisenhower Avenue, Room W 15200

Alexandria, VA 22314

ATTN:  Kate Schroepfer Garcia



General professional inquiries should be directed to:

Dr. Alexandra Isern, Assistant Director, GEO




NSF is an equal opportunity employer committed to employing a highly qualified staff that reflects the diversity of our nation.

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