Program Director

Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)
Washington, DC
Nov 25, 2021
Nov 27, 2021
Full Time
ARPA-E Program DirectorLocation:Washington, DC, United StatesSummary:ARPA-E hires limited-term Program Directors (PDs) who are accomplished in technical R&D and who are thought leaders with visionary ideas to catalyze the development of potentially transformative energy technologies.TermsUS citizenship is required.A typical PD term is between 3-5 years, where employees of national laboratories, universities, or nonprofits may join ARPA-E under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) and generally serve 3 years, while those who join ARPA-E as federal employees typically serve for 5 years.ARPA-E is the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy of the US Department of Energy. ARPA-E's mission is to overcome long-term, high-risk technological barriers in the development of energy technologies that can lead to (i) reductions of imports of energy from foreign sources, (ii) reductions of energy-related emissions, including greenhouse gases, and (iii) improvement in the energy efficiency of all economic sectors. As an agency, ARPA-E values inclusivity, collegiality, flexibility, creativity, sustainability, and passion for its energy mission, while striving to be a "flat organization" with a reduced level of management hierarchy. Agency alumni stay connected as part of a distinguished professional network spanning the energy innovation space.POSITION DESCRIPTION AND RESPONSIBILITIESAn ARPA-E Program Director (PD) holds a unique position in a unique organization. PDs are the driving force behind ARPA-E's mission and are empowered to identify, define, and recommend the most impactful energy R&D to be funded by the agency. The PD role celebrates intellectual curiosity and independence, constant learning, deep technical knowledge, and the willingness to take risks to enable a sustainable energy future. ARPA-E is a dynamic agency in large part due to the constant influx of fresh PD talent.Program DevelopmentThe PD develops a concept for an ARPA-E program through appropriate technical and market analysis, and engagements with the ARPA-E team and energy R&D communities. Via these engagements, the PD will refine the program concept and "pitch" it to the other PDs and agency leadership for approval. Following program approval, the PD leads the drafting of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) and manages all stages of the procurement process, which includes peer review of concept papers and full applications. This culminates in the PD recommending performer awards to agency leadership.Project ManagementAfter project selections, a PD negotiates each project's technical milestones. Once awards are contracted, the PD actively manages the program and its projects, including the tech-to-market (T2M) strategy for each project. Management involves extensive, hands-on oversight of project performers, including regular site visits as required based on the needs of each project team. The PD is responsible for advising, adjusting, re-scoping, extending, or canceling projects during the performance period. The PD's project portfolio may also include projects in adjacent areas from other programs or inherited from departing PDs.Other DutiesA PD carries ARPA-E's endorsement as a thought leader both within DOE and to external R&D communities. A PD develops best practices as part of continually improving how ARPA-E does business. A PD also evaluates new PD candidates, leads or serves on ad hoc groups as required for specific tasks, and provides peer review on program pitches by other PDs.QUALIFICATIONSRequired qualifications Advanced degree in a scientific or engineering field plus at least 5 (doctorate) or 8 (master's) years of technical R&D experience at a university, national laboratory, or in industry; Technical depth and strong record of technical accomplishments/contributions, as evidenced by peer-reviewed publications, patents, awards/recognition, and/or demonstrable commercial impact, commensurate with level of experience; Technical leadership experience, as evidenced by the budgets and/or teams over which the candidate had direct oversight and responsibility, or other specific evidence of direct technical leadership; Excellent written and oral communication skills, as evidenced by lead-author publications and/or successful proposals, invited presentations, recorded interviews, investor pitch decks, etc.; Ability to be a credible leader and organizer of R&D communities, as evidenced by past relevant roles including but not limited to being or having been a member of federal or institutional advisory committees, elected member of a professional society or one of its sections/units, and/or organizer/co-organizer of conferences or industry events; Ability to undertake a significant amount of travel (once travel is permitted again by the agency).Desired qualifications Doctoral degree (or equivalent) in a scientific or engineering field; Demonstrated success over the entire lifecycle of a technical project from ideation and securing funding to execution and delivery of results; Basic understanding of the US energy landscape and its challenges/opportunities, as evidenced in the motivation and framing of the candidate's preliminary program concepts (part of the application); Demonstrated ability to work productively in a collaborative environment, as evidenced by the candidate's employment history.To ApplyHighly qualified candidates should submit:1. Cover letter briefly discussing required and desired qualifications, and interest in the position;2. Full resume or CV, including list of publications and/or patents (if applicable)3. Preliminary description of one potentially new ARPA-E program concept that the candidate proposes to develop and execute:a. THINK BIG (ie, potentially transformative innovations scalable to quad-level energy or gigaton level emissions-reduction impacts)b. Aligned with ARPA-E's energy missionc. Frame your concept around the "Heilmeier questions" (see below)d. Identify specific areas of technical innovation/R&D that may be the centerpiece of the program concepte. Your program concept should be differentiated from past and active ARPA-E programs (see Please limit the program-concept description to under 2 pagesg. This is to help assess both your area(s) of technical interest as well as the approaches you bring to identifying and solving problems; you are not constrained to these program concepts should you eventually become a PD at ARPA-E.h. If you are interested in other program concepts, you may include one paragraph each for up to two additional concepts.Program concepts should be framed around the "Heilmeier questions" (credited to George Heilmeier, former DARPA director): What are you trying to do? What is the problem, and why is it hard? Articulate your objectives using absolutely no jargon. How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice? What is new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful? Who cares? If you are successful, what difference will it make? What is the impact and how will it be measured? (try to identify the most pertinent techno-economic metrics including comparisons with present state-of-the-art) What are the risks? How much will it cost? How long will it take? What are the mid-term and final "exams" to check for success?The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

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