Physical Scientist (Program Director)

Alexandria, Virginia
Oct 20, 2020
Oct 27, 2020
Full Time


The National Science Foundation is seeking qualified candidates for a Physical Scientist (Program Director) position for the National Facilities and Instrumentation Program in the Division of Materials Research (DMR) within the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), Alexandria, VA.

For more information on MPS please click here .

For more information on DMR please click here .

Learn more about this agency


The National Facilities and Instrumentation program supports the operation of national user facilities. National facilities are research facilities with specialized instrumentation available to the scientific research community in general, and the materials research community in particular. Facilities like the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, the Center for High Energy X-ray Science at the Cornell High-Energy Synchrotron Source, and the Center for High Resolution Neutron Scattering at the NIST Center for Neutron Research provide unique research capabilities that can be located at only a few highly specialized laboratories in the Nation. They provide open user service for scientists and engineers from a broad range of disciplines including biology, chemistry, geosciences, materials research, and physics.

The National Facilities and Instrumentation program manages a portfolio of national facilities and resources for research using high magnetic fields, x-ray synchrotron radiation, neutron scattering, and nanofabrication. The program also manages Materials Innovation Platforms (MIP), and actively participates in NSF-wide Mid-scale Research Infrastructure and Major Research Instrumentation activities. The MIP Program provides state-of-the-art tools to users throughout the Nation and advances science by exemplifying the Materials Innovation Initiative (MGI) approach.

The candidate selected for this position will organize review of facility and instrumentation proposals; formulate funding recommendations; and provide post-award oversight. The successful candidate will be directly responsible for establishing NSF's positions on a wide range of facilities and instrumentation related issues, and will work within various national and international committees to further those positions. The successful candidate will also be responsible for making presentations at scientific conferences and advisory bodies on facilities-related issues, and will interface with government and private-sector facilities-using entities to build partnerships and increase access to a broad range of facilities and tools.

Travel Required

Occasional travel - Travel will be less than 10%.

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 Physical 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 Physical 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 ideal candidate will have prior experience in the management and operation of user facilities. The position requires outstanding presentation and writing skills as well as responsiveness to stakeholders. Knowledge of the research and education needs of the broad US academic community and experience in research administration and/or familiarity with the management and operation of user facilities would be highly desirable

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 OR current NSF employees) 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
  • Knowledge and understanding of scientific principles applicable to materials research as evidenced by documented research and publication.
  • Demonstrated record of effective communication and productive working collaborations with the scientific and technical community, co-workers, and/or international partners to develop and execute plans and policies.
  • Knowledge of management and organizational concepts, principles, practices and techniques with experience in management and oversight of multidisciplinary user facilities or large projects.
  • Understanding of the role of the broad science-user-facilities in the U.S. available to the scientific community, and understanding/awareness of the user facilities outside the U.S.
  • Demonstrated ability to navigate complex collaborations such as those that are required to maximize the scientific potential of national user facilities operated in partnership with other federal, or non-federal agencies.

  • To preview questions please click here .

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Drug test required

    Position sensitivity and risk
    Moderate Risk (MR)

    Trust determination process

    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 should 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 uploading must be completed before 11:59 PM Eastern time on the vacancy closing date.

    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.

    Similar jobs