Physical Science Administrator (Program Director)

Alexandria, Virginia
Jun 10, 2021
Jun 18, 2021
Full Time


The National Science Foundation is seeking qualified candidate for a Physical Science Administrator (Program Director) position for the Marine Geology and Geophysics program in the Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE) within the Directorate for Geosciences, Alexandria, VA.

For more information on GEO please click here .

For more information on OCE please click here .

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NSF Program Directors bear the primary responsibility for carrying out the agency's overall mission to support innovative and merit-reviewed activities in basic research and education that contribute to the nation's technical strength, security, and welfare. To fulfill this responsibility requires knowledge in the appropriate disciplines and a commitment to high standards, a considerable breadth of interest and receptivity to new ideas, a strong sense of fairness, good judgment, and a high degree of personal integrity.

The Marine Geology and Geophysics (MGG) Program seeks candidates with experience and expertise in marine geophysics. The Program Director will work closely with other Program Directors who collectively manage the Marine Geology and Geophysics Program. The MGG Program supports research on all aspects of the geology and geophysics of ocean basins and margins and those of the Great Lakes.

The Program Director's core duties and responsibilities are administering the merit review process, proposal recommendations, and coordinating and working with other programs in NSF and other Federal agencies and organizations.

The Program Director's responsibilities are:

  • Maintain a healthy balance of support for all the research and education enterprise needs through Program, Division, Directorate, Foundation, or interagency activities.
  • Manage program resources to provide appropriate scientific judgment to ensure integrity and consistency in the grant/declination process without conflicts of interest, a balance between appropriate sub-fields and institutions, and all qualified scientists' participation.
  • Incorporate cross-directorate responsibilities into program administration.
  • Manage an effective, timely merit review process, with attention to increasing the reviewer pools' size and quality and ensuring participation by women, minorities, and disabled scientists.
  • Provide scientific expertise, evaluation, and advice for other NSF programs, including international programs, other research programs, and cross-directorate programs.
  • Advise and assist in developing short-and-long range plans, establishing goals and objectives for support of research programs
  • Plan the Program's budget considering past, present, and future fiscal years, allocate resources within the budget by distributing scarce resources among major competitive programs, and manage post-award evaluation.
  • Control waste, fraud, and abuse.

  • Represent the Program, Division, and the Foundation within the scientific community, with other NSF Divisions, other appropriate agencies, organizations, and the public, accurately reflecting NSF policy and positions.
  • Create and maintain linkages to other NSF units and other Federal agencies to pursue the overall NSF mission.
  • Participate in staff, panel, committee, and other meetings, providing input relevant to program area and/or Division.
  • Pursue affirmative action and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) goals.
  • Pursue and/or be responsive to assignment on special projects and temporary function teams across the Foundation to solve problems, improve staff communication, and affect special programs' coordination.
  • Contribute ideas and effort to improving the quality of policies and NSF's performance of the overall mission.
  • Develop policies and plans for strengthening support of research and education programs.
  • Provide information to the community on how NSF is pursuing its mission and gather data and impressions from the community on the effectiveness of NSF's performance of its mission.
  • Prepare and disseminate various informational documents, which may include data on progress being made toward NSF goals, trends and opportunities, and budget plans.

  • Establish contacts and maintain active involvement in Program and related areas through participation in professional activities.
  • Maintain familiarity with salient current research developments.
  • Pursue individual research as workload and travel funds permit.
  • Expand 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.

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 ( Foreign Talent Definitions ). 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.

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 Marine Geology or Geophysics, 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 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 and theories applicable to disciplines of ocean science and technology as demonstrated by publications, invited talks, and/or professional recognition.
  • Ability to manage and externally reviewed proposal driven grants program, allocating resources to meet a spectrum of program goals.
  • Professional analytical and technical writing skills which demonstrate experience in presentation on inquiry into a wide variety of significant issues related to the ocean sciences community and the ability to make recommendations and decisions based on finding.
  • Demonstrated ability to interact effectively with members of the Geosciences community, representatives of other federal agencies, foreign national programs and peers to effectively present, advocate and advance program policies, plans and goals.

  • To preview questions please click here .

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance
    Not Required

    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.

    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.