Program Director (EPSCoR Section)

Office: Integrative Activities (OD/OIA)
Directorate: Office of the Director (OD)
Job Type:
Appointment Type:
Temporary / Rotator
Pay Grade/Scale:
Salary Range:
$160,889 - $206,279
This job is open to the public

Application timeline

Date Posted:
Closing date: Open until filled

Position Summary

The Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research Section (EPSCoR) within the Office of Integrative Activities (OIA) under the Office of the Director announces a nationwide search to fill Program Director positions for research infrastructure improvement programs. 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 mission of EPSCoR is to assist the National Science Foundation in its statutory function "to strengthen research and education in science and engineering throughout the United States and to avoid undue concentration of such research and education." EPSCoR goals are to: 1) Catalyze research capability across and among jurisdictions; 2) Establish STEM professional development pathways; 3) Broaden participation of diverse groups/institutions in STEM; 4) Effect engagement in STEM at national and global levels; and 5) Impact jurisdictional economic development.  EPSCoR uses investment strategies to achieve its goal of improving the R&D competitiveness of researchers and institutions within EPSCoR jurisdictions. Interested applicants may learn about these and other strategies here.   Formal consideration of interested applications will continue until these positions are filled.

Position Description

NSF Program Directors have the primary responsibility for carrying out the Agency's overall mission to support innovative activities in fundamental research and education that contribute to the nation's technological strength, security, and welfare. This responsibility includes ensuring that proposed activities receive expert, fair merit review. Program Directors are also responsible for service in support of other NSF-wide activities and initiatives that together accomplish NSF's strategic goals, to 1) Expand knowledge in science, engineering, and learning, 2) Advance the capability of the Nation to meet current and future challenges, and 3) Enhance NSF's performance of its mission.

In support of these goals, NSF Program Directors are responsible for extensive interaction with the research community and other stakeholders including industry and 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 Program Director in EPSCoR will have specific responsibilities that may include the following:

  • Establishing goals and objectives, initiating new program thrusts, revising current activities and potentially phasing out some programmatic areas.
  • Providing information on new developments and opportunities in STEM.
  • Maintaining and further strengthening linkages with collaborative programs at NSF and other relevant Federal agencies.
  • Participating in technical management and financial oversight of various funded NSF EPSCoR projects.
  • Managing an effective and timely merit review process.
  • Representing the NSF EPSCoR program at relevant internal and external events.
  • Keeping abreast of current research and educational trends.
  • Participating in some defined subset of professional activities that contribute to such currency (e.g., conducting research, delivering presentations and publishing quality scholarship, attending technical conferences of relevance, reading scientific articles and books and engaging in other forms of ongoing professional development).
  • Working cooperatively across Divisions, Directorates, and the Foundation, and with other agencies to accomplish the mission of NSF.

Successful applicants should have interdisciplinary expertise and experience in one or more of the following areas: climate science, environmental science; data science; physical science; and/or social science.

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 or engineering 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 or engineering 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, NSF is seeking people who are entrepreneurial in nature and have prior experience in roles related to either the development and management of research infrastructure implementation projects or the successful leadership of multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional collaborations. Experience in interacting, leading, or working with researchers from a wide range of disciplines and leading, building or facilitating the formation of teams to address complex research problems is of particular interest. As noted above, the positions require effective oral and written communication skills and a commitment to high standards of ethical conduct. The positions also require 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 candidates are expected to function effectively as a member of crosscutting, fast-paced, and interactive teams and have a strong interest in advancing the research frontier. The candidate must also demonstrate the capability or potential to successfully engage external stakeholders through outreach to promote NSF activities, foster the inclusion of groups who are underrepresented in STEM, and to leverage program funds through interagency and intra-agency collaborations.

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