Science Advisor

Alexandria, Virginia
Oct 15, 2021
Oct 19, 2021
Full Time


The National Science Foundation is seeking qualified candidate for a Science Advisor position in the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS), within the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO), Alexandria, VA.

For more information about BIO, click here.
For more information about IOS, click here.

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The open period for this vacancy has been extended to Monday, October 18, 2021.

IOS supports research aimed at improving our understanding of organisms as integrated units of biological organization. The division welcomes diverse approaches to research addressing organismal questions, and especially encourages integrative and interdisciplinary perspectives on complex problems in organismal biology with a goal to understand and to predict why organisms are structured the way they are, and function as they do. Areas of inquiry include, but are not limited to, developmental biology and the evolution of developmental processes; nervous system development, structure, modification, function, and evolution; biomechanics and functional morphology, physiological processes, symbioses and microbial interactions, interactions of organisms with biotic and abiotic environments; plant and animal genomics; and animal behavior.

We seek candidates with a broad background in integrative organismal biology. The Science Advisor advises and collaborates with the Division Director, the Deputy Division Director, and Program Directors in Division management, and broadening participation efforts as well as the development of IOS long range plans. Responsibilities include: development and approval of outreach materials and coordination of virtual and in-person outreach across the Division in consultation with the Deputy Division Director; coordination of special projects, workshops and initiatives within the Division, including innovation activities; analysis of Division program data and trends; assistance in recruitment of Program Directors and other scientific staff;, assistance in program planning; and, representation of the Division's programs and interests to officials in the government, academic and industrial sectors, and internationally, as needed.

As Science Advisor you will advise the Division Director and the Deputy Division Director on scientific, policy, planning, and management matters related to the management and support of research in the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems. You will represent the Division as required on working groups and at meetings. You will also be responsible for encouraging and supporting integrative, synthetic, and interdisciplinary research involving the biological sciences.

Additional duties and responsibilities include the following:
  • Assisting the Division Director and the Deputy Division Director in Divisional management activities, including actions in electronic business software, succession planning, and rotator recruitment, as appropriate.
  • Coordinating both virtual and in-person outreach activities and develop and approve associated outreach materials across the Division. Developing concepts for public dissemination of the outcomes of IOS science and its benefits to society. You will act as Divisional liaison with the Directorate Communications Specialist and NSF's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs.
  • Assisting the Division Director, the Deputy Division Director, and Program Directors in identification and development of emerging areas of IOS science, through analysis of Division program data and trends, and organization of seminars and workshops relevant to IOS science. You will provide advice and assist with the continuing review, evaluation, planning, and coordination of IOS activities.
  • Coordinating special projects, innovation activities, and programs within the Division, including defining their purpose and identifying areas of emphasis.
  • Coordinating and serving as liaison with other programs in NSF and other Federal agencies and organizations. You will provide scientific expertise, evaluation, and advice for other programs in NSF, including international programs, other research programs, and cross-directorate programs. You will maintain a healthy balance of support for all the needs of the research and education enterprise either through Program, Division, Directorate, Foundation, or interagency activities.

Travel Required

25% or less - Up to 25% of domestic or foreign travel may be required for this position.

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.


You must meet eligibility and qualification requirements by the closing date of the announcement.

Candidates must have a Ph.D. in biological 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.

IOS is seeking candidates with the ability to participate in the leadership of a research organization; a record of accomplishments in his or her field; and an ability to recognize current and emerging scientific trends and recommend new directions. The incumbent must have good communication skills and be able to represent the breadth of IOS science in a wide range of settings. Management or other experience with a Division program is desirable but not required.

NSF is particularly interested in candidates who have a strong background using interdisciplinary approaches.

Familiarity with NSF policies and practices, administrative experience, and recognized stature among peers are desirable.

This position is outside the competitive civil service.


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
  • Demonstrated broad knowledge and understanding of scientific principles, theories, and technologies applicable to the biological sciences in general, and organismal biology in particular.
  • Research, analytical, and technical writing skills, evidencing the ability to perform extensive inquiry into a wide variety of significant issues and to make recommendations and decisions based on findings.
  • Knowledge of management and organizational concepts, principles, practices, and techniques, with expertise in large project management or research administration.
  • Ability to interact with the scientific community and peers, and to advocate program policies and plans.
  • Understanding of, and dedication to, the promotion of both intellectual merit and broader impacts of research and education activities.

  • 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.

    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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