Physical Science Administrator (Program Director)

Alexandria, Virginia
Jul 14, 2019
Jul 16, 2019
Full Time


The National Science Foundation is seeking qualified candidate for a Physical Science Administrator (Program Director) position for the Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities program in the Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences (AGS) within the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO), Alexandria, VA.

For more information on GEO please click here .

For more information on AGS please click here .

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AGS supports fundamental research into the physical, chemical, and biological processes that impact the composition and physical phenomena and behavior of matter between the sun and the surface of the Earth. This includes a wide variety of important processes that impact humans and society, such as weather, climate, air quality and space weather. Specific programs include studies of the physics, chemistry, and dynamics of earth's upper and lower atmosphere and its space environment, and research on climate processes and variations.

AGS supports the atmospheric and related sciences community with a portfolio of observing facilities and through the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), an NSF-sponsored Federally Funded Research and Development Center based in Boulder, Colorado. The scientific oversight of NCAR is the responsibility of the entire AGS division, with leadership, oversight and program management provided by the AGS NCAR and Facilities Section (NFS). NFS also manages the AGS programs in lower atmosphere observing facilities and in education and cross-cutting research. The NSF lower atmosphere observing facilities include the NSF C-130 and G-V aircraft operated by NCAR, the University of Wyoming King Air, and airborne and ground-based instrumentation such as radars and sounding systems that are operated by NCAR and other institutions

Working closely with colleagues in the NCAR and Facilities Section, AGS, and throughout NSF, the incumbent will have primary responsibility for the programmatic oversight, award management and lifecycle planning of the AGS-funded lower atmosphere observing facilities. The incumbent will also support the Section's oversight of NCAR and cross-cutting programs. Specific duties will include:
  • Manage solicitations, programs and budgets for operating and deploying AGS national lower atmospheric observing facilities.
  • Oversee and serve as the primary point of contact for the lower atmosphere observing facilities operated by the NCAR.
  • Work with NSF science program officers to ensure that the deployment of the AGS lower atmosphere observing facilities is well-coordinated, technically feasible and equitable.
  • Working with colleagues, the scientific community and facility managers, lead the development of long-range plans for the AGS national lower atmospheric observing facilities.
  • Serve as a Divisional point of contact and program officer for NSF-wide research infrastructure initiatives.
  • Serve on intra-agency, interagency and international committees involving lower atmosphere observing facilities

Additional duties and responsibilities include:

• Maintains a healthy balance of support for all the needs of the research and education enterprise through program, division, directorate, Foundation, or interagency activities.
• Manages program resources to provide optimal appropriate scientific judgment to insure integrity and consistency.
• Manages an effective, timely merit review process, with attention to increasing the size and quality of the reviewer pools and insuring participation by women, minorities and disabled scientists.
• Provides scientific expertise, evaluation and advice for other programs in NSF.
• Advises and assists in the development of short-and-long range plans, establishing goals and objectives for support of research programs.
• Plans the budget for the program/programs and manages post-award evaluation.
• Controls waste, fraud and abuse.

• Represents the Foundation within the scientific community, accurately reflecting NSF policy and positions.
• Creates and maintains linkages to other NSF units and other Federal agencies in pursuit of the overall NSF mission.
• Participates in meetings, providing input relevant to program area and/or Division.
• Pursues affirmative action and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) goals.
• Pursues and/or is responsive to assignment on special projects and temporary function teams across the Foundation.
• Contributes ideas and effort to improving the quality of policies and NSF's performance of the overall mission.
• Develops policies and plans for strengthening support of research and education programs.
• Provides information to the community on how NSF is pursuing its mission and gathers data and impressions from the community on the effectiveness of NSF's performance of its mission.
• Prepares and disseminates a variety of informational documents.

• Establishes contacts and maintains active involvement in Program and related areas through participation in professional activities.
• Maintains familiarity with salient current research developments.
• Pursues individual research as workload and travel funds permit.
• Expands administrative capabilities through training courses or assumption of new management.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Background investigation.
  • Selective Service registration required for male applicants, unless exempt.

You will need to successfully complete a background security investigation before you can be appointed into this position.

All online applicants must provide a valid email address. If your email address is inaccurate or your mailbox is full or blocked, you may not receive important communication that could affect your consideration for this position.

This position is in the bargaining unit.

Please preview "Evaluations" section and "Qualifications" for additional requirements and Quality Ranking Factors.


Candidates must have a Ph.D. in atmospheric 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; OR a Master's degree in atmospheric science or a closely related field, plus after award of the degree, eight or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position.

The successful applicant requires not only knowledge in the appropriate scientific discipline but also a commitment to high scientific standards, considerable breadth of scientific interest and receptivity to new ideas. Also necessary are a strong sense of fairness, good judgment, and a high degree of personal integrity and ethics, decisiveness, and an ability effectively to lead individuals and teams across a variety of institutional cultures within Federal and state government agencies, legislative bodies, and private sector organizations.

This position is outside the competitive civil service.

You must meet eligibility and qualification requirements by the closing date of the announcement.


Additional information

Relocation expenses MAY be paid contingent upon the availability of funds

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.

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

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

You will be evaluated on the extent and quality of your experience, expertise, education, and research activities relevant to the duties of the position. In some cases, additional assessment processes may also be used.

We strongly encourage you to specifically address the Quality Ranking Factors below. This will ensure that you receive full consideration in the evaluation process.

Quality Ranking Factors
  • Demonstrated understanding of lower atmosphere observing facilities and their role in supporting fundamental research in atmospheric science.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the mission and goals of NSF, including how NSF interacts with the scientific community.
  • Proven expertise in managing large research and facility-related projects and/or programs, including strategic planning, development of budgets and schedules, resource management, identification and mitigation of risk, and program evaluation.
  • Demonstrated ability to cooperate and work with peers in other scientific disciplines and to advocate program plans and policies to individuals in the Foundation, other government agencies, and academic institutions.
  • Demonstrated research, analytical, and technical writing skills that evidence the ability to perform extensive inquiry into a wide range of significant issues related to research programs and scientific centers and facilities and make recommendations based on findings.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide intellectual leadership to achieve results that significantly enhance the strength and potential of the national atmospheric science research community.

  • To preview questions please click here .

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Drug test required

    Required Documents

    All applicants must submit a resume in any format, and may also submit a cover letter.

    In order to be considered for federal appointments, Non-Citizens must affirm that they meet the Appropriations Law eligibility criteria 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. Non Citizens who are exempt from the Appropriations Law requirements due to their status as officers or employees of the U.S. government on December 16, 2009 must provide a statement with their application noting their exemption with documentation of proof of status as officers or employees of the U.S. government on that date.

    You are strongly encouraged to submit a current performance appraisal and/or letter(s) of recommendation and a supplemental statement that describes how your background relates to the Quality Ranking Factors (QRFs) listed in the Qualifications and Evaluation Requirements section of this announcement. This information will be used in the evaluation process.

    We also ask that you complete and submit the Applicant Survey . This will help NSF to ensure that our recruiting efforts are attracting a diverse candidate pool; it will be used for statistical purposes only.

    You can fax or upload your letter of recommendation(s) or the individual(s) can email the letter of recommendation(s) to ; please ask him/her to put your name and the job announcement number in the subject line.

    Transcripts are not required; however, please indicate the year that each degree was obtained on your application materials.

    All faxing/uploading must be completed before 11:59 PM Eastern time on the vacancy closing date. If you are faxing your information, please use extreme care in dialing the fax number to assure we receive your information. You will receive an email confirmation of receipt of your faxed/uploaded document(s).

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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