Behavioral Scientist (Program Director)

Division: Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (SBE/BCS)
Directorate: Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE)
Job Type:
Appointment Type:
Temporary / Rotator
Pay Grade/Scale:
Salary Range:
$169,430 - $204,000
This job is open to the public

Application timeline

Date Posted:
Closing date: Open until filled

Position Summary

The National Science Foundation is seeking qualified candidates for a Program Director for the Social Psychology Program within the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE), Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) in Alexandria, VA. 

BCS is a division within SBE and is responsible for the support of fundamental research in all behavioral and cognitive science fields. The Division is composed of standing programs in the Anthropological and Geographic Sciences, as well as the Psychological and Language Sciences.

For more information on SBE please click here

For more information on BCS please click here.

The successful applicant is expected to assume responsibilities as Program Director for Social Psychology. The program supports research and infrastructure to advance knowledge of human social behavior, including neural and physiological patterns; thought and emotion processes; and intentions, actions and habits that explain ways of thinking about and relating to others.

The responsibilities of NSF Program Directors are dynamic and constantly evolving. Program Directors have an 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, 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 proposals, make funding recommendations, administer awards, and undertake interaction with research communities in their fields.   

Fundamental tasks include the administration of the merit review process and proposal recommendations, program budget administration, participation in strategic planning for the program, division, directorate, and agency, the preparation of public-facing materials highlighting advances in the supported research, as well as coordination with related programs in NSF or in other agencies and organizations. 

The Program Director is guided by the goals of NSF's Strategic Plan: (1) enable the United States to uphold a position of world leadership in all aspects of science, mathematics, and engineering, (2) promote the discovery, integration, dissemination, and employment of new knowledge in service to society, and (3) achieve excellence in U.S. science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education at all levels. The core strategies NSF staff employ include developing intellectual capital, strengthening the physical infrastructure, integrating research and education, and promoting partnerships. 

Position Description

We seek a Program Director who will cultivate a portfolio that addresses all aspects of Social Psychology. Successful candidates are also expected to utilize their expertise to engage with other programs in the division, the directorate, and across the agency in relevant cross-directorate programs and initiatives relating to their expertise in Social Psychology.

The Social Psychology Program supports basic research on social cognition, attitudes, social and cultural influence, stereotypes, motivation, decision making, group dynamics, close relationships, social and affective neuroscience, social psychophysiology, emotions, personality and individual differences, and other topics within the field of contemporary social psychology. The Program encourages proposals that develop new theories or methods for understanding social behavior, as well as interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and convergent research approaches.

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. 

Temporary Excepted Service Appointment: Appointment to this position will be made under the Excepted Authority of the NSF Act. Candidates who do not have civil service status or reinstatement eligibility will not obtain civil service status if selected. Candidates currently in the competitive service will be required to waive competitive civil service rights if selected. Usual civil service benefits (retirement, health benefits and life insurance) are applicable for appointments of more than one year. Temporary appointments may not exceed three years.

Visiting Scientist, Engineer, and Educator (VSEE) Program: Appointment to this position will be made under the Excepted Authority of the NSF Act. Visiting Scientists are on non-paid leave status from their home institution and placed on the NSF payroll. NSF withholds Social Security taxes and pays the home institution's contributions to maintain retirement and fringe benefits (i.e., health benefits and life insurance), either directly to the home institution or to the carrier. Appointments are usually made for a one-year period and may be extended for an additional year 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 plus after award of the Ph.D., six or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position.

A successful candidate will also demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills. Familiarity with NSF programs and activities is highly desirable. The candidate is expected to function effectively as a member of crosscutting and interactive teams as well as be an individual contributor. The candidate must also demonstrate a capability to promote NSF activities and to work closely with a broad spectrum of behavioral and social sciences. 

To apply, send a cover letter outlining qualifications and reason for interest in the position and an up-to-date curriculum vitae to the Chair of the search committee, Dr. Steven Breckler,

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