Science Education Administrator (Program Director)

Alexandria, Virginia
Dec 04, 2021
Dec 11, 2021
Full Time

DRL is seeking Program Director(s) with expertise in research on Pre k-12 Science Education.

DRL invests in projects to improve the effectiveness of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning for people of all ages. Its mission includes promoting innovative research, development, and evaluation of learning and teaching across all STEM disciplines by advancing cutting-edge knowledge and practices in both formal and informal learning settings. DRL also promotes the broadening and deepening of capacity and impact in the educational sciences by encouraging the participation of scientists, engineers, and educators from the range of disciplines represented at NSF. Therefore, DRL's role in the larger context of Federal support for education research and evaluation is to be a catalyst for change-advancing theory, method, measurement, development, and application in STEM education. The Division seeks to advance both early, promising innovations as well as larger-scale adoptions of proven educational innovations. In doing so, it challenges the field to create the ideas, resources, and human capacity to bring about the needed transformation of STEM education for the 21st century.


The Program Director(s) will work across programs in DRL, as all programs support research and development on areas related to this announcement. These programs include but are not limited to Discovery Research preK-12 (DRK-12), Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST), and EHR Core Research. The Program Director(S) will help to establish relevant research agendas that will not only enhance current teaching and learning but also catalyze new, more inclusive, creative, and potentially transformative approaches in STEM education research. In addition, the hired person/s may represent the Division on cross-Directorate programs with an emphasis on K-12 science education and or learning sciences applied to K-12 science education.

The responsibilities of the NSF Program Director are constantly evolving. The Program Director is guided by the goals of NSF's Strategic Plan: 1) enable the United States to uphold a position of world leadership in all aspects of STEM, 2) promote the discovery, integration, dissemination, and employment of new knowledge in service to society, and 3) achieve excellence in U.S. science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education at all levels. The core strategies NSF staff employ include developing intellectual capital, strengthening the physical infrastructure, integrating research and education, and promoting partnerships.

The responsibilities of the NSF Program Director include, for example, long-range planning and budget development for the areas of science represented by the program, the administration of the merit review process and proposal recommendations, the preparation of press releases, feature articles and material describing advances in the research supported, and coordination and liaison with other programs in NSF and other Federal agencies and organizations. Additional duties and responsibilities include:

  • Provide strategic support for all the needs of the STEM research and education enterprise.
  • Manage program resources and exercises appropriate scientific judgment to ensure integrity and consistency in the proposal review process.
  • Assume cross-directorate program administrative responsibilities as needed by the division and directorate.
  • Manage an effective, timely merit review process, with attention to increasing the size, quality, and diversity of the reviewer pool
  • Provide scientific expertise, evaluation, and advice for other programs in NSF, including international programs, and other research programs, and cross-directorate activities.
  • Advise and assist in the development of short-and-long range plans, establishing goals and objectives for support of research programs.
  • Plan budgets for programs considering past, present, and future fiscal years, allocate resources within the budget by distributing scarce resources among major competitive programs, and manage post-award evaluation.

  • Represent the Foundation within the scientific community, accurately reflecting NSF policy and positions.
  • Create and maintain linkages to other NSF units and other Federal agencies to support the overall NSF mission.
  • Participate in meetings, providing input relevant to program area and Division.
  • Pursue affirmative action and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) goals.
  • Pursue and be responsive to assignment on special projects.
  • Contribute ideas and effort to improve the quality of policies and NSF's performance of the overall mission.
  • Prepare and disseminate a variety of informational documents.


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.

As required by Executive Order 14043, Federal employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of the employee's duty location or work arrangement, subject to such exceptions as required by law. This policy applies to all NSF staff, to include employees, Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) assignees, Visiting Scientists, Engineers, and Educators (VSEEs), as well as fellows and interns. If selected, you will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 22, 2021 and submit documentation of proof of vaccination by November 22, 2021 or before appointment or on-boarding with the agency, if after November 22. Upon selection, NSF will provide additional information regarding what documentation will be needed and how you can request a legally required exception from this requirement. 

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. or Ed.D. in one or more of the STEM disciplines or STEM Education, Cognitive or Neuroscience plus after award of the Ph.D., six or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position.

Applicants should have experience in K-12 science education or learning sciences applied to K-12 science education.

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 OR current NSF employees) 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.