Researcher, Human/Machine Systems (Direct Hire)

Hampton, Virginia
Sep 23, 2021
Sep 28, 2021
Full Time


As a Researcher, Human/Machine Systems within the Crew Systems and Aviation Operations Branch you will support Research and Development (R&D) to enable transformation of the US National Airspace System to safely integrate thousands of electric/Urban Air Mobility vehicles and operations. Areas of R&D include human factors aspects of intelligent flight systems, autonomous operations, integration of human & machine within the cockpit/operator station/dispatch office, simulation, and flight test.
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  • Duties described below are at the full-performance level. Duties assigned at a lower grade level will be of more limited scope, performed with less independence and limited complexity; duties will be commensurate with the grade of selected employee.
  • Leads a multidisciplinary research team to design, implement, and integrate advanced technologies and procedures for the flight deck, operator?s station, dispatcher, or controller to improve efficiency and safety of the national airspace system.
  • Conceives and designs Human-in-the-Loop simulation experiments, or ensures human factors are properly considered, in response to agency needs for data in specific scientific, technical, or health-related areas.
  • Conceives and formulates research ideas that are the basis for productive studies by other research scientists/engineers.
  • Works as a member of a team to proactively resolve difficult problems with conflicting and inadequate guidelines and precedents.
  • Develops solutions to problems encountered by the research team in data collection, monitoring, compilation, and analysis.
  • Makes major contributions to the scientific community such as inventions or new designs and techniques that are of material significance in the solution of important applied problems.
  • Remains cognizant of Air Traffic Management (ATM) and ATM-related research problems and areas of research and has a working knowledge of current state of the art approaches in modeling and simulation.

Travel Required

Occasional travel - You may be expected to travel for this position.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • This position is open to U.S. citizens, nationals or those who owe allegiance to the U.S
  • Position subject to pre-employment background investigation
  • You must meet qualifications requirements by the closing date of this announcement
  • If selected, you will be required to complete a financial disclosure statement
  • A one year trial period may be required.


In addition to the basic education requirement (shown below), you must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade, which has equipped you with the particular competencies needed to successfully perform the duties of the position described above.

Vacant research positions may be filled at one of several grade levels depending upon the scientific impact of the person selected. A review may be required to determine the appropriate grade level of the position and supplemental materials may be required from the selectee. Please keep this in mind when indicating the lowest grade you will accept.

GS-11: To qualify at the GS-11 level, you must have:

a) One year of directly related specialized experience equivalent to the GS-09 level conducting research, Monte Carlo, and human-in-the-loop simulation experimentation; and, applying human factors principles; and, experience with computational and statistical techniques for modeling and analyzing collected data.
b) Completed all requirements for a master's or equivalent graduate degree in an appropriate field
c) Have an equivalent combination of experience and graduate study as discussed in a) and b) above

GS-12: To qualify at the GS-12 level, you must have:

a) One year of directly related specialized experience equivalent to the GS-11 level conducting goal-directed, human-factors research using human-in-the-loop simulation experimentation; and, applying human factors principles in the aviation context; and, writing, publishing, and presenting results from research.
b) Completed all requirements for a doctoral degree (i.e., Ph.D. or equivalent) in an appropriate field.

GS-13:To qualify at the GS-13 level, you must have one year of directly related specialized experience equivalent to the GS-12 level leading a multi-disciplinary team to plan and execute goal-directed, human-factors research using human-in-the-loop simulation experimentation; and, experience with aviation human factors, aviation operations, and air traffic management; and, writing, publishing, and presenting results from human-subjects research.

Your resume must include a clear and detailed narrative description, in your own words, of how you meet the required specialized experience. Experience statements copied from a position description, vacancy announcement or other reference material constitutes plagiarism and may result in disqualification and losing consideration for the job.

Required college majors for applicants qualifying on the basis of graduate education only:

a. Major study in biology (botany, zoology, biophysics, radiation biology, biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, toxicology), or in behavioral science (experimental, physiological or clinical psychology) or other appropriate field of life science, including or supplemented by at least 20 semester hours of physical science or engineering (undergraduate or graduate), or experience sufficient to provide a basis for understanding, use and interpretation of the highly specialized ground-based or in-flight measurement, environmental control, vehicle control and other equipment required for manned or organism bearing aerospace flights and voyages; or
b. Major study in an appropriate engineering or physical science, including or supplemented by at least 20 semester hours of physiology, experimental or physiological psychology, or other appropriate life science, or experience in biotechnology, human factors engineering or other appropriate life science field.


You must have successfully completed a bachelor's or graduate degree with a major in either a) engineering from a college or university that has ABET accredited engineering programs or b) Physical Science, Mathematics, Life Science, Computer Science*, or other field of physical science.

*Note: Curriculum must include 30 semester hours of course work in a combination of mathematics, statistics and computer science. Of the 30 semester hours, 15 must be in any combination of statistics and mathematics which includes differential and integral calculus.

Degrees in engineering technology are not considered qualifying for this position.

To find out if a school has an ABET accreditation, go to .

Degrees must have been received in the year of, or any year subsequent to the original date of accreditation.

Engineering degrees earned outside the United States: Engineering degrees earned outside the Unites States must be recognized by a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA), often known as accords. These are non-governmental agreements among organizations that accredit academic degree programs. MRAs recognize the substantial equivalence of mature accreditation systems and programs accredited by signatory organizations within their jurisdictions. For a listing of Signatories, please visit,

Science and other related degrees earned within the United States: Science and other related degrees must have been awarded from colleges or universities that are accredited by recognized accrediting organizations. For a list of schools that meet this criteria, go to .

Science and other related degrees earned outside the United States: If you are using education completed in foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs. These education credentials must be deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at a U.S. accredited college or university. For further information, visit: .

Additional information

This announcement has been extended and will close on 9/27/2021.

Additional selections may be made for similar positions across NASA within the local commuting area(s) of the location(s) identified in this announcement. By applying, you agree to have your application shared with interested selecting official(s) within NASA. CTAP/ICTAP will be cleared for any additional selection from this announcement.

This appointment may be extended beyond the initial appointment date, for a period not to exceed a total of six years.

Current Federal civilian employees may apply for this position. If selected, a break in service of at least 4 calendar days may be required prior to appointment to this position.

If you have special priority selection rights under the Agency Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP), you must:

- Indicate your eligibility when applying for a position. The questionnaire asks you to identify your ICTAP/CTAP eligibility.
- Meet the minimum qualifications requirements for the position
-Submit proof that you meet the requirements for CTAP/ICTAP as indicated in 'Required Documents'

For additional information about CTAP/ICTAP eligibility, click here - https://

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

Direct Hire Authority: These positions will be filled through the Office of Personnel Management's Direct Hire Authority. Category rating and veterans' preference will not be considered in evaluating applicants. For more information on Direct Hire Authority, please see: OPM Direct Hire Fact Sheet .

Veterans: Under the provisions of Direct Hire Authority, veterans' preference does not apply. However, applicants who are eligible for veterans' preference are encouraged to include that information in their application and submit supporting documentation (i.e. DD-214, or other substantiating documents). For more information on please see: Veterans' Preference information on the FedsHireVets website.

You will be evaluated for this position based on how well you meet the qualifications and eligibility requirements listed in this vacancy announcement. To determine your qualifications and referral status, we may review your resume and supporting documentation and compare it against your responses to the vacancy questionnaire. Overstating your qualifications and/or experience in your application materials or application questionnaire may result in your removal from consideration.

You will be assessed on the following competencies:
  • Human Factors Engineering
  • Problem Solving
  • Research

NASA considers paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance
Not Required

Drug test required

Position sensitivity and risk
Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

Trust determination process

Required Documents

A complete application package includes a resume, required documents and completion of the vacancy announcement questionnaire. Please see this guidance: What to include in your resume . Your resume should describe your specialized experience and support your answers to the vacancy announcement questionnaire.

The following documents are required:
  • Resume
  • Transcript

While a transcript is the preferred proof of qualifying education, you may submit any of the following items:
  • An unofficial transcript
  • A copy of an official transcript
  • A copy of a degree (i.e. a picture or scan)
  • A list of completed/credited courses that includes, the title, course code, and number of semester, quarter or classroom hours for each course (i.e., BUAD- 101-Introduction to Business, 3 Semester hours)
You will lose consideration if you do not submit proof of your education. Documents must fully support the education requirements listed above. Incomplete documents or documents that do not show completion of required degree program or coursework may result in disqualification.

There may be other supporting documents (licenses, certification, veterans preference, etc.), depending on your answers to the questionnaire and job announcement description, that you may need to submit.

If you are a surplus or displaced employee (CTAP and ICTAP), submit proof that you meet the requirements for CTAP/ICTAP. This includes copies of your agency notice, most recent Performance Rating and most recent Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50) noting current position, grade level, and duty location.

Official documents are required at the time of appointment for verification of eligibility and qualifications.

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.