Join NSF/CISE as a Rotator
Take advantage of a unique opportunity to have an impact on computer and information science and engineering research and education as well as advanced research cyberinfrastructure by serving in a rotator position in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE).
It is an exciting, impactful, and important time to be in computer and information science and engineering, not only as a researcher or educator, but also as an expert serving the community. NSF is unique among federal agencies in that many of our program directors, science advisors, and leadership come from the research community on temporary leave from their "home institutions," serving as rotators for between one and four years at a time.
Rotators bring fresh perspectives from across the country, helping influence new directions for research, research infrastructure, and education, including in emerging interdisciplinary areas. The presence of rotators ensures that NSF/CISE maintains a close connection with the broader community, building and nurturing community trust. Combining rotators with federal NSF/CISE staff results in a highly productive and integrated workforce that optimally serves the Nation by providing effective scientific leadership and management of NSF/CISE's research, research infrastructure, and education programs. Ultimately, this balance helps to ensure that our programs reflect the current research, research infrastructure, and education needs of the field, and keeps CISE-supported efforts at the frontiers of discovery and innovation.
You can become a rotator within NSF/CISE either through the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) or the Visiting Scientist, Engineer, and Educator (VSEE) program. Learn more about NSF's Temporary/Rotator Programs at https://www.nsf.gov/careers/rotator/.
HEAR FROM CURRENT AND RECENT ROTATORS
"We as NSF, we as the scientific community, see the benefits of the IPA program on a daily basis."
– Jim Kurose, NSF assistant director for Computer & Information Science & Engineering
"Part of getting prepared to come to this job is mentally making a shift from doing your work at an institution in your discipline to really having to think and understand you're working at a different level."
– Anita Nikolich, former Program Director, Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure
"One of the things I like most about this experience is the opportunity to interact with people who are outside my very narrow discipline and to think bigger about what research can do to help people."
– Jonathan Sprinkle, Program Director, Division of Computer and Network Systems
"For senior [researchers], there is an opportunity with helping [to set] some direction going into new areas and [bringing] the experience you had as a senior researcher and educator into NSF."
– Chaitan Baru, former Senior Science Advisor for Data Science, Office of the Assistant Director
"I have always wanted to give back to the National Science Foundation. It's an agency that has given a lot to me throughout my research career and I feel like it's an obligation, a civic duty, to give back."
– Beth Plale, Science Advisor for Public Access, Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure
"I encourage everyone to become a program director. [It] is so much fun... you'll work the hardest you'll ever work in your life, but you'll accomplish the most as well... It's a different way of doing research, but it's highly effective."
– Keith Marzullo, former Division Director, Division of Computer and Network Systems
"It's a great way to see how NSF works, to see the government in action as it is shaping science, and to really get to know the community in your area."
– Weng-keen Wong, Program Director, Division of Information and Intelligent Systems
"Different people use their IPA rotation for different things. I used it as an extended sabbatical... some people use it as a stepping stone into administration... others have a grand vision for the programs they want to influence and want to begin."
– Jack Snoeyink, former Program Director, Division of Computing and Communication Foundations
OPEN ROTATOR POSITIONS
There are a number of rotator positions open as of November 2018.
- Multiple CCF Program Directors for the Algorithmic Foundations, Communications and Information Foundations, Foundations of Emerging Technologies, and Software and Hardware Foundations clusters.
- Multiple OAC Program Directors in the areas of Data, Advanced computing, Networking/Cybersecurity, Software and Services, and Learning and Workforce Development.
- Multiple IIS Program Directors for the Cyber-Human Systems program; Information Integration and Informatics program, including the Information Integration and Informatics specialty area within the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace program; Robust Intelligence, Robotics, and Autonomous Systems programs; and Intelligent Systems and Machine Learning specialty area within the Robust Intelligence program.
Also see the full list of CISE career opportunities.
RELATED ARTICLES AND RESOURCES
- Kolympiris, C., Hoenen, S., & Klein, P.G. (2019). Learning by seconding: Evidence from National Science Foundation rotators. Organization Science. https://pubsonline.informs.org/doi/10.1287/orsc.2018.1245
If you have questions about life as a rotator, you are welcome to contact Jonathan Sprinkle, Program Director within the CISE Division of Computer and Network Systems.
Website content last edited 8.15.19