Program Director (Innovation Corps Program)

Division: Innovation and Technology Ecosystems (TIP/ITE)
Directorate: Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP)
Job Type:
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 Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP) announces a nationwide search to fill a Program Director position for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Program.

The National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) program prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the university laboratory. Through I-Corps™, NSF-funded researchers learn to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research and gain practical skills in entrepreneurship. Ultimately, I-Corps accelerates the economic and societal benefits of NSF-funded, basic-research projects that are ready to move toward commercialization. NSF created I-Corps to train faculty, students and other researchers in innovation and entrepreneurship skills, to encourage collaboration between academia and industry, and to stimulate the translation of fundamental research to the marketplace. NSF seeks to strengthen a national innovation ecosystem that helps foster innovation among faculty and students, promotes regional coordination and linkages, and develops networks to address pressing societal challenges and economic opportunities for the nation.

Position Description

Program Directors at the NSF are in charge of specific research areas and program activities. They solicit, receive and review research and education proposals, make funding recommendations, administer awards, conduct site visits and execute program activities. They are also responsible for interaction with other Federal agencies, forming and guiding interagency collaborations, and service to Foundation-wide activities.

The I-Corps Program Director team oversees the I-Corps program to build, utilize and sustain an innovation ecosystem that enhances the development of technologies, products and processes that benefit society.

The I-Corps Program Directors will ensure that the I-Corps program fosters an understanding of how to:

  • Identify, develop and support promising ideas that can generate value,
  • Create and implement tools and resources that enhance our nation's innovation capacity,
  • Gather, analyze, evaluate and utilize the data and insight resulting from the experiences of the I-Corps Teams, and
  • Share and leverage effective innovation practices on a national scale to improve the quality of life for the U.S. citizenry.

Persons wishing to apply for this position are referred to the IIP Divisional web page,, for a description of the Division; and to the webpage, for a description of the I-Corps program. Persons are also encouraged to contact the current I-Corps Program Directors, who are identified on the I-Corps web pages, for more information.

NSF Program Directors bear the primary responsibility for carrying out the Foundation'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. The positions require a commitment to high standards of intellectualism and ethical conduct, a considerable breadth of interest, 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. in an appropriate engineering or science field related to IIP, plus after award of the degree, six or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position.

In addition, effective oral and written communication skills are highly desirable. Experience in translating research from the academic lab to the marketplace and familiarity with the I-Corps™ Program are also desirable. The incumbent is expected to function effectively both as individual within the specific NSF program and as a member of crosscutting and interactive teams. The incumbent must also demonstrate a capability to work within NSF and across government agencies to promote NSF activities and to leverage program funds through interagency collaborations.

To apply, email a single PDF document that includes 1) CV, 2) a cover letter explaining the reasons they are interested in the position, and 3) Citizen affidavit, as applicable. The cover letter should describe how their experiences fit with the position of I-Corps Program Officer (referencing the CV), why this position would be of mutual benefit to NSF and to their institutions, and how they foresee this assignment benefiting their careers. It is preferred that application materials and questions be sent to the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships via email to with "I-Corps™ Program Director" in the subject line.