Program Director, Convergence Accelerator Office

Office: Integrative Activities (OD/OIA)
Directorate: Office of the Director (OD)
Job Type:
Appointment Type:
Temporary / Rotator
This job is open to the public

Application timeline

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

Position Summary

The Convergence Accelerator Office (C-Accel) within the Office of Integrative Activities under the Office of the Director, announces a Nationwide Search to Fill Multiple Program Director Positions for the Convergence Accelerator Program. Formal consideration of interested applications will begin October 14, 2019 and continue until these positions are filled.

Position Description

The Office of Integrative Activities (OIA) works across disciplinary boundaries to lead and coordinate strategic programs and opportunities that: advance research excellence and innovation; develop human and infrastructure capacity critical to the U.S. science and engineering enterprise; and promote engagement of scientists and engineers at all career stages.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently launched the Convergence Accelerator Office - a new organizational structure to accelerate the transition of use-inspired convergence research into practice, in areas of national importance. Convergence research is a critical mechanism for solving many vexing research problems, especially those stemming from complex social and/or scientific challenges. As a funder of research and education across all fields of science and engineering and as a strategic partner in ensuring this new knowledge benefits society, NSF is uniquely positioned to pilot this accelerated approach to discovery and innovation. The guiding rationale of the Convergence Accelerator is that to achieve progress on scientific and societal challenges it is necessary to develop teams that can share expertise across research fields as well as with multiple partners and stakeholders, including the ultimate users of the research products.

NSF Program Directors have the primary responsibility for carrying out the Agency's overall mission to support innovative and merit-evaluated activities in fundamental research and education that contribute to the nation's technological strength, security, and welfare. They are also responsible for service to NSF-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 Scientific Federal Agency.

In support of these goals, NSF Program Directors are responsible for extensive interaction with academic research communities and industry, as well as interaction with other Federal agencies. 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. This requires expertise in appropriate disciplines to implement the proposal review and evaluation process for the program, as well as strong skills in written and oral communication. Successful candidates should be receptive to new ideas, have a strong sense of fairness, excellent judgment, and a high degree of personal integrity.


The NSF Convergence Accelerator recently published a Dear Colleague Letter, NSF 19-050, that invited proposals for the NSF Convergence Accelerator Pilot. The tracks of the Pilot are based on existing NSF Big Ideas. Track A1 of this pilot, Open Knowledge Network, relates to the Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR) Big Idea. Track B1, AI and Future Jobs, and track B2, National Talent Ecosystem, relate to the Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-HTF) Big Idea. The Convergence Accelerator will be making awards to ~40 teams to participate in Phase 1 of the Pilot. As part of the Convergence Accelerator activity, all of the teams will be participating in innovation curriculum and coaching activities.

The Program Director will be working with teams as they participate in the innovation curriculum and work with external coaches that will be assigned to each team. The Program Director will also contribute to developing new activities and new funding opportunities for the Convergence Accelerator, and to the merit review process for new proposals.  The successful applicant will work with other Convergence Accelerator staff members as well as with other staff within OIA and staff from across NSF, as appropriate, for example engaging with Big Idea activities around NSF

This position is an unparalleled opportunity to ensure NSF funded research is at the forefront of advancing research and education. The individual will work with other NSF Program Directors in formulating research strategies, developing collaboration and cooperation across the Foundation and among government, academe and industry, fostering outreach to underrepresented groups, and providing leadership within NSF and the innovation community.

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 (1) a Ph.D. in any field of science supported by NSF, plus after award of the Ph.D., six or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position; OR (2) a Master’s degree in any field of science supported by NSF, plus after award of the Master’s degree, eight or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position.


In addition, entrepreneurial, investment, and/or managerial experience are highly desirable. Prior experience in roles related to the commercialization of innovative products, in small and/or large businesses, is sought. Specific experience with technology start-ups and/or small businesses, or with early-stage technology investments, is also of particular interest. The position requires effective oral and written communication skills and a commitment to high standards of ethical conduct. The position also requires a considerable breadth of interest, receptivity to new ideas, a strong sense of fairness, attention to detail, good judgment and a high degree of personal integrity. The candidate is expected to function effectively as a member of crosscutting, fast-paced, and interactive teams as well as an individual contributor. The candidate must also demonstrate a capability to work across government agencies and other organizational boundaries to promote NSF activities and to leverage program funds through interagency collaborations.

To apply, email a single PDF document that includes: 1) a cover letter explaining the reasons you are interested in the position, 2) CV, and 3) Citizen affidavit, as applicable. The cover letter should describe how your experiences fit with the position of a Convergence Accelerator Program Officer (referencing the CV). It is preferred that application materials and questions be sent to the Convergence Accelerator Office via email to with "Convergence Accelerator Program Director" in the subject line.