Physical Scientist (Program Director)

Division: Materials Research (MPS/DMR)
Directorate: Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS)
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 Division of Materials Research (DMR) announces a nationwide search for senior-level researchers to serve as a Program Director for the Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future program. Formal consideration of interested applications will begin at time of posting and will continue until a selection is made.

For the DMR mission statement and additional information about the above program, please see

Position Description

The Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF) program supports the acceleration of materials design, discovery, and development through the integration of experiments, computation and theory. Focus areas include unifying infrastructure; harnessing data; and educating, training and connecting the R&D workforce.

Responsibilities of the Program Director include long-range planning and budget development for the areas of science represented by the program, the administration of the merit review process and proposal recommendations, the preparation of press releases, feature articles and material describing advances in the research supported, and coordination and liaison with other programs within NSF, and other Federal agencies and organizations.

NSF Program Directors bear the primary responsibility for carrying out the Agency's overall mission. To fulfill this responsibility requires not only knowledge in the appropriate disciplines, but also a commitment to high standards, a considerable breadth of interest and 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. or equivalent experience in the physical sciences or a closely related field, plus six or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position after the award of the degree.

Candidates with effective oral and written communication skills, and familiarity with NSF programs and activities are highly desired. 

The position requires an individual with broad expertise and demonstrated experience in fundamental materials research, with emphasis on the synergies exemplified under the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI). Ability to lead cooperation across relevant divisions and directorates within NSF as well as with other Federal Agencies under the MGI umbrella is desired. Expertise and/or interest in advanced computational approaches and data-centric techniques are desirable.

Successful candidates are expected to work effectively both as an individual within the specific NSF program and as a member of crosscutting and interactive teams, able to work across government agencies to promote NSF activities and to leverage program funds through interagency collaborations. Candidates should be familiar with a broad spectrum of the materials research community, as well as with the issues being addressed in the field. Accomplishments in the integration of research and education, multidisciplinary experience and interest, as well as experience with management of review processes are highly desired. 

Applicants should indicate which program they are applying to within their cover letter and the subject line of the email. Please submit your curriculum vitae to Applications are reviewed by DMR's Division Director and Deputy Division Director. A few candidates are selected for telephone and/or NSF on-site or virtual interviews. Applicants will receive an acknowledgment of their application and a status update by email when selections occur. For more information about these openings, you may send an inquiry to or contact Miriam Deutsch. Nominations from the community are also encouraged. A nomination email can be sent to

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