Interdisciplinary (Program Director)

Alexandria, Virginia
Sep 21, 2021
Sep 25, 2021
Full Time


The National Science Foundation is seeking qualified candidates for Interdisciplinary Program Director positions in the Office of International Science & Engineering (OISE) in Alexandria, VA.

OISE will host a webinar to share information about the positions on September 9, 2021 at 3 PM ET. If you are interested in participating, please register at the following link. The webinar will be recorded & shared on the OISE website.

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The incumbents will serve as Program Directors in the Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE) within the Office of the Director (OD) at the NSF. The Program Director has three key areas of responsibility. The first is science diplomacy, which includes representing NSF's interests to a range of international and interagency entities. The second is to interpret relevant scientific, political, economic, social, and other significant international developments and advise NSF leadership, staff and external stakeholders on how these developments impact NSF research, education and innovation activity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The third is to develop and oversee programs that enhance STEM research excellence, workforce development, and innovation activities through international cooperation. All three responsibilities require the ability to establish and maintain an understanding of domestic and international STEM ecosystems to include the agencies/ministries responsible for basic and use-inspired funding in STEM fields.

Consistent with OISE's unique mission, this position requires the incumbent to serve as an official representative of the United States Government (USG) with representatives from a range of foreign entities (e.g., governments, academia, and private sector). Diplomatic poise is critical for the position.

Specific Duties Include:

Science Diplomacy
  • Representation and Management of International Science and Technology Activities, Including Policy Activities

Monitors and advises on scientific, political, economic, social, and other significant international developments that may affect the NSF, its international collaborations, and the U.S. research, education, and innovation community it serves. Establishes and maintains relationships with foreign counterparts, Embassies, and other representatives of assigned countries, science officers at U.S. Embassies in assigned countries, and members of the U.S. STEM research, education and innovation community. Drafts agreements or memoranda of understanding as appropriate to ensure the interests of NSF and the U.S. STEM research, education and innovation community are properly served. Offers insights and advises on effective options for action to advance NSF interests in the area of international partnerships. Implements selected courses of action to accomplish goals. Represents OISE, NSF and the USG sometimes on short notice, to internal and external audiences.
  • Intra-agency and Inter-agency Coordination

In concert with colleagues, identifies, designs, and pursues opportunities for international collaboration and engagement strategies consistent with NSF's mission and vision. As appropriate, prepares recommendations, remarks and briefing materials for OISE, Directorate and NSF leadership for intra-agency and inter-agency contexts, with limited oversight from the OISE management team.

International Activity Analysis

Contributes to the collection, interpretation, review, and communication of information internally and externally on relevant trends in foreign STEM research, education, and innovation, or events abroad that impact NSF and the U.S. STEM research, education, and innovation ecosystem. Provides recommendations on courses of action to OISE leadership. Stays updated on opportunities and barriers for U.S. researchers to engage in cooperative work with foreign counterparts. Participates in special studies concerning issues or program areas of expertise, as necessary.

Program Development and Implementation
  • Program Planning and Direction

In coordination with the supervisor and as appropriate, recommends and prepares annual and long-range budgets and plans for programs that strengthen U.S. STEM research, education, and innovation through international cooperation. Collaborates with other NSF staff and, where applicable, international counterparts, in the development of solicitations, Dear Colleague Letters, memoranda of understanding, and other program planning and implementation activities. As assigned, oversees the solicitation, merit review, decision, and monitoring of awards consistent with NSF policies and procedures. Ensures programmatic activities are consistent with the NSF mission and current U.S. science and foreign policy, and that they support current OISE and NSF strategic priorities.
  • Program Solicitation, Proposal Review, and Award Management

Solicits proposals from the research community and other stakeholders, and fields questions from prospective investigators about the solicitation. As assigned, effectively manages the proposal review process. Proactively develops and implements programmatic opportunities to broaden participation in STEM research, education, and innovation through international cooperation. Evaluates proposals and prepares recommendations for awards or declinations.

For more information on OD please click here and on OISE please click here .

Travel Required

25% or less - Domestic and International travel may be required.

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 a Social, Biological, or Physical Science, Engineering, or Mathematics, 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 a Social, Biological, or Physical Science, Engineering, or Mathematics, plus after award of the degree, eight 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 will NOT be paid.

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
  • Working knowledge of NSF's and OISE's mission and programmatic activities.
  • In-depth understanding of U.S. science and foreign policy and the organizations responsible for establishing said policy.
  • Experience interacting with foreign government officials and/or representatives of international science-related organizations.
  • Ability to cooperate and work with peers across government agencies and scientific disciplines.
  • Experience in managing international research and education initiatives.
  • In-depth understanding of U.S. and foreign scientific and engineering research and education trends.

  • To preview questions please click here .

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Drug test required

    Position sensitivity and risk
    High Risk (HR)

    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.

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