Social Scientist (Program Director)

Alexandria, Virginia
Nov 27, 2020
Dec 05, 2020
Full Time


The National Science Foundation is seeking qualified candidates for a Social Scientist (Program Director) position for the Division of Social and Economic Sciences (SES) within the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE), Alexandria, VA.

For more information on SBE please click here .

For more information on SES please click here .

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SES programs fund basic social, behavioral, and economic sciences. Disciplinary programs include Economics, Sociology, and two areas in Political Science, as Accountable Institutions and Behavior (AIB) and Security and Preparedness (SP). Interdisciplinary SES programs include: Decision, Risk and Management Sciences (DRMS); Ethical and Responsible Research (ERR); Law and Science (LS); Measurement, Methods, and Statistics (MMS); Science of Organizations (SoS); Science and Technology Studies (STS); and Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC).

The SES Division welcomes applications from experts with experience with basic SBE research who can help shape, invigorate, and manage the following funding programs:
  • Economics : The Economics program supports research to improve understanding of economic processes and institutions within the U.S. and throughout the world. The program strengthens empirical, theoretical, and other methods of rigorous research on economic behavior and phenomena. Almost every area of economics is eligible, including econometrics, economic history, environmental economics, finance, industrial organization, international economics, labor economics, macroeconomics, mathematical economics, and public finance.
  • Law and Science : The Law and Science program supports research to address social scientific studies of law and law-like systems of rules, as well as studies of how science and technology are applied in legal contexts. This program is inherently interdisciplinary and multi-methodological. Law and Science aims to fund research that advances scientific theory and understanding of the connections between human behavior and law, legal institutions, or legal processes; or the interactions of law and basic sciences, including biology, computer and information sciences, STEM education, engineering, geosciences, and math and physical sciences. Scientific studies of law often approach law as dynamic, interacting with multiple arenas, and with the participation of multiple actors.

Program Directors help research activities and research communities thrive. This requires, for example: long-range planning and budget development; the administration of the merit review process and proposal recommendations; the preparation of press releases, feature articles, and other materials describing advances in the research supported; as well as coordination with related programs in NSF or in other agencies and organizations.

In addition to current opportunities in these specific programs, the Division also is interested in identifying candidates for future rotator positions in our other programs-especially individuals planning for leaves in future academic years. Applicants must specify in their submissions at least one and no more than two programs for which they wish to be considered. Additional details about the full suite of programs supported by the Division can be found here.

Every Program Director is guided by the goals of NSF's Strategic Plan: (I) enable the United States to uphold a position of world leadership in all aspects of science, mathematics, and engineering, (2) promote the discovery, integration, dissemination, and employment of new knowledge in service to society, and (3) achieve excellence in U.S. science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education at all levels. The core strategies NSF staff employ include developing intellectual capital, strengthening the physical infrastructure, integrating research and education, and promoting partnerships.

  • Maintain a healthy portfolio of support for all the needs of the research and education enterprise either through program, division, directorate, Foundation, or interagency activities.
  • Manage program resources to promote integrity, consistency, and good scientific judgement in the grant/declination process while avoiding conflicts of interest, imbalances of representation, or perceptions of partiality.
  • Manage an effective and timely merit review process, with attention to increasing the size, quality, and diversity of the reviewer pools, including participation by women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities, and those from geographically underrepresented areas in social sciences.
  • Provide scientific expertise, evaluation, and advice for other research programs in NSF, including international or other cross-directorate programs.
  • Advise and assist in the development of plans, both short and long-term, that establish compelling goals and objectives for research programs.
  • Budget programmatic expenditures considering past, present, and future fiscal years to allocate risk and resources appropriately.
  • Maintain the rules, integrity, and reputation of NSF grantmaking.
  • Represent the Program, Division, and Foundation within the scientific community, with other NSF Divisions, with other appropriate agencies and organizations, and with the public, accurately reflecting NSF policy and positions.

Travel Required

25% or less - 25% or less

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 plus, after award of the Ph.D., six or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position.

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 and, expertise in basic science, 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
  • Ability to communicate effectively and work productively with the scientific community, peers, and co-workers at all levels to advocate program policies and plans and to fulfill NSF's mission.
  • Ability to organize, implement and manage a proposal-driven grant program, allocating resources to meet a spectrum of goals, including insuring integrity and consistency in the grant award/declination management process.
  • Knowledge of management and organizational concepts, principles, practices, and techniques.

  • 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. 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 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.

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