Oceanographer (Program Director)

Alexandria, Virginia
Oct 20, 2021
Oct 27, 2021
Full Time


The National Science Foundation is seeking qualified candidates for an Oceanographer (Program Director) position for the Integrative Programs Section (IPS), in the Division of Oceansciences (OCE) within the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO), Alexandria, VA.

For more information on GEO please click here .

For more information on OCE please click here .

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OCE supports basic research and education to further understanding of all aspects of the global oceans and their interactions with the earth and the atmosphere. The division also offers opportunities to participate in global change research programs and other focus programs.

OCE supports the operation, acquisition, construction, and conversion of major shared-use oceanographic facilities needed to carry out oceanographic-related research programs.

The incumbent is a member of the Integrative Programs Section (IPS) of OCE and serves as the Program Director of the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Program. The OOI Program Director will work closely with other Program Directors in IPS who collectively manage OCE's research infrastructure facilities, and coordinate with the OCE Science Program Directors on opportunities for OOI Program engagement with the science community to support cutting edge scientific research and technological developments. The IPS portfolio supports a broad range of programs in research infrastructure and observations facilities, ocean technology development, and ocean education. The OOI Program Director will also interact with members of the NSF Large Facilities Office (LFO) on matters pertaining to the management of NSF Major Facilities.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

Program Planning and Management:
  • Plan and implement allocation of funds to meet program requirements effectively and efficiently within the limits of program budgets.
  • Manage the NSF Oversight responsibilities for the management and operation of the program.
  • Plan, implement, and monitor program actions to meet fiscal and procedural policies.
  • Coordinate with the Division of Acquisition and Cooperative Support (DACS) to administer the Cooperative Agreements (CA) for the Management & Operation of the program.
  • Coordinate with the Office of the Assistant Director for Geosciences (GEO) and the LFO on the administration of NSF policies and procedures for oversight of major facilities as applicable to the program.
  • Conduct necessary risk management activities such as the planning, identification, analysis, mitigation, and monitoring of risks through a variety of quantitative and qualitative tools.
  • Utilize knowledge of agency policies in order to process proposals in a timely and appropriate manner, ensure that adequate documentation is provided for all proposal actions, and to maintain appropriate proposal review procedures and post-award monitoring processes. Ensure that all activities that may impact other programs are appropriately communicated to responsible staff.

Representation, Communication, and Leadership:
  • Represent the program within the scientific community accurately reflecting NSF policies and positions.
  • Inform the Division and Directorate leadership regarding the significant outcomes of the program and developments and trends in the field.
  • 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 to provide input relevant to Program and/or Division areas.
  • Pursue affirmative action and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) goals. This can be achieved by establishing an inclusive environment where both organizational and cultural awareness are demonstrated, and all perspectives are considered.
  • Pursue and/or be responsive to assignments to special projects and temporary function teams across the Foundation to solve problems, improve staff communication, and affect special programs' coordination.
  • Contribute ideas and efforts towards improving the quality of NSF policies and achievement of the overall mission.
  • Contribute to the development of policies and plans for strengthening support of ocean research infrastructure, observations facilities, technological developments, and ocean education programs.
  • Utilize the ability to demonstrate knowledge in a logical, organized, concise, and compelling manner through verbal and written communication to advise, inform, persuade, present, and defend actions. Apply the skill to tailor the message to the intended audience with the appropriate tone, style, and delivery. Apply the expertise to use these communications to persuade and connect with stakeholders to reach agreements in concurrence with NSF's positions and decisions.
  • Provide effective communication and cooperation and the ability to interact in a thoughtful, transparent, and respectful manner to minimizes disputes and disagreement.

Professional Development:
  • Establish contacts and maintain active involvement in program and related areas through participation in professional activities.
  • Maintain familiarity with salient current research facilities, technology developments, and scientific and engineering best practices in order to make decisions with minimal supervision using evidence to weigh options and forecast outcomes.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Background investigation.
  • Selective Service registration required for male applicants, unless exempt.
  • US citizenship.

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 Master's degree in an Ocean Science, 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 MAY be paid contingent upon the availability of funds

This announcement is open to All US Citizens eligibility requirements.

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 experience with research infrastructure or facility, preferably ocean sciences.
  • Demonstrated experience working with science data management, data serving, and data archiving, preferably ocean sciences. Experience with cyberinfrastructure and cybersecurity is a plus.
  • Demonstrated experience in management of Program/Project Awards, Budgets, Risks and Opportunities, and Scientific and Technical Reviews.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with a wide variety of stakeholders in a dynamic environment using verbal and written communication skills to present ideas and information clearly, accurately, and coherently.
  • Professional analytical and technical writing skills which demonstrate experience in managing a wide variety of significant issues related to the ocean sciences community infrastructure and facilities.
  • Demonstrated ability to interact effectively with members of the Geosciences community, representatives of other federal agencies and 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
    Top Secret

    Drug test required

    Position sensitivity and risk
    Special-Sensitive (SS)/High Risk

    Trust determination process

    Required Documents

    All applicants must submit a resume in any format, and may also submit a cover letter.

    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 adsearch@nsf.gov ; 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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