Director, Biological and Physical Sciences Division, Science Mission Directorate

Washington, D.C
Feb 01, 2023
Feb 09, 2023
Executive, Director
Full Time

This position reports to the Associate Administrator (AA) of the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) at NASA Headquarters. The Director, Biological and Physical Sciences Division, Science Mission Directorate:
  • Supports the SMD AA in partnership with other SMD directors in providing overall guidance, strategy, focus advocacy, and budget for NASA's Science Program. Determines and presents the BPS Program to NASA Senior Management, Executive Branch stakeholders, and Congress.
  • Leads a division of approximately 25 scientists, engineers, and administrative professionals who help plan and manage NASA's BPS Program to pioneer scientific discovery, enable space exploration, and benefit life on Earth. The BPS Division has an annual budget of approximately $85 million and leverages interagency and international partnerships.
  • Oversees the Space Biology Program and the research used in the space environment to advance our knowledge of how gravity affects the design and function of living organisms and to understand how biological systems adapt to spaceflight environments.
  • Oversees the Physical Sciences Program and research using the space environment as a tool to provide transformational insights in physics and engineering science and to understand how physical systems respond to space flight environments, particularly weightlessness and the partial gravity of planetary bodies.
  • Provides scientific and technical leadership required to guide implementation of relevant activities and flight projects at the NASA Centers, other Government research laboratories, academia, and private industry.
  • Formulates future programs, develops a strategy for their implementation which is responsive to the Decadal Survey of the National academies and consistent with available resources, and establishes the feasibility of the flight mission portfolio, all in conjunction with a robust research program.
  • Develops and manages an innovative portfolio of research and technology activities; serves as a liaison with the science communities through advisory committees and the National Academies of Science; and communicates results to the public.
  • Leads the laying of a scientific foundation for translation of results and follow-on research to other Government agencies and the private sector for Earth applications and to technology and crew health programs to enable exploration beyond Earth orbit.
  • Promotes diversity and inclusiveness within the workplace, within NASA appointed teams and committees, and within the science community.
  • Responsible for all aspects of organizational management, including selection of employees, assignment of duties, evaluation of performance, planning of training, and recommendation of awards, promotions, discipline, and adverse actions.


Conditions of Employment

  • The individual selected will be required to file an 'Executive Branch Personnel Financial Disclosure Report' (OGE-278) in accordance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.
  • Initial Senior Executive Service (SES) Career appointee is subject to a one-year probationary period.
  • Successful completion of a background investigation commensurate with the risk and sensitivity level of the position.
  • Successful completion of pre-employment and random drug testing may be required.
  • Must meet qualifications requirements by the closing date of this announcement.


You must have the skill and ability to perform the duties described above as demonstrated by progressively responsible supervisory/leadership experience, normally obtained over several years by serving in positions at the GS-15 level or equivalent.

To meet the minimum qualification requirements for this position, you MUST address each Executive Core Qualification (ECQ) and Mandatory Technical Qualification (MTQ) separately. If you fail to do so, your application will be rated ineligible. We recommend you provide two (2) examples of relevant experience for each ECQ. Responses to ALL ECQs must not exceed ten (10) pages; MTQ responses must not exceed one (1) page per MTQ. Please include your full name on all documents submitted.

If you are currently serving under a career SES appointment, are eligible for reinstatement into the SES, or have successfully completed a SES Candidate Development Program and been certified by Office of Personnel Management (OPM) you MUST submit a resume and in a separate document address the MTQs. Any ECQs submitted will not be considered. Your resume must clearly state that you are a current career SES, eligible for reinstatement, or SES CDP certified and year of certification.

When preparing your responses to the ECQs and MTQs, you are encouraged to follow the Challenge, Context, Action, and Result model outlined in the OPM's Guide to Senior Executive Service Qualification . For a sample template on how to format your ECQ narrative visit NASA's Executive Leadership Opportunities .


ECQ 1 - Leading Change: The ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment.

ECQ 2 - Leading People: The ability to lead people toward meeting the organization's vision, mission, and goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts.

ECQ 3 - Results Driven: The ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks.

ECQ 4 - Business Acumen: The ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically.

ECQ 5 - Building Coalitions: The ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals.


MTQ 1- Demonstrated experience successfully leading, directing, and managing a multi-disciplined organization with a diverse portfolio of biological and/or physical research and technology development programs and projects.

MTQ 2- Demonstrated experience serving as a leader and collaborator including identifying, establishing, and advancing priorities, projects, and partnerships with a wide variety of audiences and stakeholders, including senior leaders, academia, private industry, international partners, other government agencies, and the research community at large.


This position has a positive education requirement. To be eligible, you must clearly state in your resume the following: degree, major and/or minor, and college/university.

A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with major study in engineering, physical science, mathematics, life sciences, computer science, or other field of science.

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR FOREIGN EDUCATION: If you are using education completed in foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs. These education credentials must be deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at a U.S. accredited college or university. For further information, click here .

Additional information

Must be able to obtain and maintain a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information security clearance.