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Astronomer (Program Director)

Alexandria, Virginia
Closing date
Nov 24, 2023

The mission of AST is to support forefront research in ground-based astronomy; to help ensure the scientific excellence of the U.S. astronomical community; to provide access to world-class research facilities through merit review; to support the development of new instrumentation and next-generation facilities; and to encourage broad understanding of the astronomical sciences by a diverse population of scientists, policy makers, educators, and the public at large. The Division supports research in all areas of astronomy and astrophysics as well as related multidisciplinary studies. Because of the scale of modern astronomical research, the Division engages in numerous interagency and international collaborations. Areas of emphasis and the priorities of specific programs are guided by community recommendations, which have been developed and transmitted by National Academies decadal surveys and reports, and by federal advisory committees.

Program Directors are expected to bring their scientific expertise to the activities of the Division, and to serve as a liaison between the astronomical community and NSF, disseminating information about NSF and Division activities and opportunities. Candidates are expected to work with the astronomical research and education community to broaden the diversity of participants in NSF programs.
The responsibilities of the NSF Program Director are constantly evolving. The Program Director is guided by the goals of NSF's Strategic Plan: (1) transform the frontiers of science and engineering; (2) stimulate innovation and address societal needs through research and education; and (3) excel as a Federal Science Agency. The core strategies NSF staff employ include developing intellectual capital, strengthening the physical infrastructure, integrating research and education, and promoting partnerships.

Duties include the following:
  • Conduct appropriate oversight of facilities in operation or under construction, including activities such as review of budgets and annual program plans, and possible divestment, re-purposing, or transition of individual facility components.
  • Provide advice to the AST Division Director and Deputy Director on all aspects of major facilities planning, construction, and management of operations, as well as coordination of mid-scale activities.
  • Oversee and participate in the preparation of major facility award and decision packages to be presented to the National Science Board and internal review boards, potentially requiring the formation of internal/external advisory structures and coordination with other agencies.
  • Develop and execute partnerships with other federal agencies, international organizations, and private/university entities within the United States, for both mid-scale and large facilities.
  • Advise and assist in the development of short- and long-range plans, establishing goals and objectives for research programs.


Conditions of Employment

This position is outside the competitive civil service.

You must meet eligibility and qualification requirements by the closing date of the announcement.
All online applicants must provide a valid email address. If your email address is inaccurate or your mailbox is full/blocked, you may not receive important communication that could affect your consideration for this position.

This position is in the bargaining unit represented by AFGE Local 3403

The Selected Candidate(s) may be subject to a background investigation.


Candidates must have a Ph.D. in astronomy, astrophysics, physics, engineering, solar physics, computer science, or a closely related 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.

Some of the education and/or experience must be in a field of research directly supported by the Division of Astronomical Sciences.


Please refer to the Qualifications section.

If your degree was obtained from a foreign institution, please also submit the certification from the Association for International Credential Evaluation Professionals, or certification equivalency.

Additional information

Relocation expenses MAY be paid contingent upon the availability of funds.

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 & including removal from Federal Service or termination of an IPA assignment & referral to the Office of Inspector General. Foreign Talent Definitions

This announcement is open to All US Citizens who meet citizenship and eligibility requirements.

Federal Appropriations Law requires that Non-Citizens 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.

This announcement may be used to fill like positions in other organizations within the National Science Foundation.

NSF has determined that all of its positions are eligible for telework. Work suitable for telework depends on job duties; therefore, employees must receive approval from their supervisor for telework and have a telework agreement in place. Entering into a telework agreement is voluntary.

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