Social Scientist (Program Director)

Alexandria, Virginia
Oct 19, 2019
Oct 27, 2019
Full Time


The National Science Foundation is seeking a qualified candidate for a Social Scientist (Program Director) position for the Science of Science: Discovery, Communication, and Impact (SoS:DCI) Program in the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE), Arlington, VA.

For more information on SBE please click here .

Learn more about this agency


The SBE Directorate supports research, education, and infrastructure in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences, primarily through grants to investigators at universities and other institutions. SBE research produces substantial advances in our understanding of human and social development, behavior, and organizations. These advances span all areas of the social and behavioral sciences. SBE also supports collections of significant national data infrastructure, including the National Center of Science and Engineering Statistics, the General Social Survey, the American National Election Studies, and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Collectively, this research fuels economic growth, improves national security, increases organizational capacity and empowers individuals.

The SoS:DCI program is part of the SBE Office of Multidisciplinary Activities (SMA). SMA supports interdisciplinary research and training in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences, including SBE's intersections with other science and engineering fields.

SMA provides a focal point for programmatic activities that cut across NSF and SBE boundaries and is SBE's broadest mechanism for contributing to NSF priorities. While many SBE programs support interdisciplinary work, SMA assists with seeding new multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary activities for the future and plays a critical role in the development of infrastructure underpinning these activities. In addition to the SoS:DCI program, SMA houses the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites, and SBE Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (SPRF). Co-funding with other divisions in SBE and with other directorates is typical for SMA, as is participation in interagency activities. All areas of SBE sciences are represented in the SMA portfolio.

The Science of Science: Discovery, Communication, and Impact (SoS:DCI} program is designed to increase the public value of scientific activity. The program pursues this goal by supporting basic research in three fundamental areas:
  • How to increase the rate of socially beneficial discovery;
  • How to improve science communication outcomes; and
  • How to expand the societal benefits of scientific activity.

The SoS:DCI program, which builds upon the former Science of Science and Innovation Policy (SciSIP) program, funds research that builds theoretical and empirical understandings of these three areas. With this goal in mind, proposals should:
  • Develop data, models, indicators, and associated analytical tools that constitute and enable transformative advances rather than incremental change.
  • Identify ethical challenges and mitigate potential risks to people and institutions.
  • Provide credible metrics and rigorous assessments of their proposed project's impact.
  • Include robust data management plans, preregistration plans where appropriate, and related commitments that increase the usability, validity, and reliability of scientific materials.

Moreover, the SoS:DCI program places a high priority on broadening participation. It encourages participation by junior faculty, women, members of historically underrepresented groups, and proposals from Minority Serving Institutions (MSls), Research Undergraduate Institutions (RUls), and EPSCoR states.


Responsibilities of the Program Director include: the administration of the merit review process and proposal recommendations, participating in the development of press releases, feature articles and material describing advances in the research supported, and coordination and liaison with other programs in NSF, other Federal agencies and organizations.

Represents the SoS:DCI program, as required, on national and international committees, boards, panels, etc. Interprets NSF policies for groups and acts as liaison between these and the Foundation.

Determines the need for workshops and special studies and works with the directorate's scientific staff in the development of such activities, including defining their purpose and identifying areas of emphasis.

Establishes administrative procedures for special meetings of oversight review panels to evaluate the operations of program.

Provides advice and assistance in the development and revision of suitable internal program structures, the arrangement of program and project goals and levels of effort, and the continuing review, evaluation, and coordination of all program activities.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

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

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. Foreign Talent Definitions

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 a Social Science, as it relates to the SoS:DCI Program, plus after award of the Ph.D., six or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position.

In addition, the ability to participate in the leadership of a research organization; a record of accomplishment in their field of study; detailed understanding of the resource needs of social and economic scientists and appropriate modes of support; ability to recognize current and emerging science trends and recommend new directions. Experience and expertise in basic science research areas relevant to the goals of SBE would be beneficial.

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 be used.

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. This also applies to individuals considered for Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) assignments to NSF. 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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