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Dear Colleague Letter: Division of Industrial Innovation & Partnerships Division Director Employment Opportunity

March 22, 2018

Dear Colleague:

The National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Engineering (ENG) announces a nationwide search to fill the position of Division Director (DD), Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP). The position provides an unparalleled opportunity to lead the Division to support research, innovation, and entrepreneurship at the forefront of advancing knowledge and stimulating translation of new knowledge into solutions that benefit society; to share in the management responsibility of the Directorate for Engineering to advance NSF’s overall strategic goals “to expand knowledge in science, engineering, and learning, to advance the capability of the nation to meet current and future challenges, and to enhance NSF’s performance of its mission.”

The Division Director for IIP leads a team of professional and administrative staff in managing a broad portfolio of investments in research and education addressing the frontiers of knowledge that advance the Nation’s prosperity, health, and infrastructure. The Division Director is NSF’s principal advocate for industry-university partnerships, industry-inspired basic research, translational research, technology transfer, entrepreneurial education, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR). The DD fosters partnerships to advance technological innovation, and plays a key role in the public-private innovation partnership enterprise. The DD assesses needs and trends in the areas supported by IIP, including two congressionally mandated small business programs (SBIR and STTR), implements overall strategic planning and policy setting with other Division, Directorate, Federal agencies, the industrial sector, scientific organizations and academic community. Responsible for ensuring that the Foundation meets the requirements for entrepreneurial training and translational research as mandated in the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (AICA).  The position offers a challenging and demanding opportunity to effect change and provide intellectual leadership. 

The successful candidate will possess an established record of significant achievement in research and innovation leadership, and increasing leadership responsibility in academe, industry or government. Additionally, the Division Director must be experienced and competent in technical, financial and administrative management. The incumbent must work well with people, be an effective communicator, and be committed to continuously develop the diversity of talents and skills of the team.

The Qualification Requirements of the position are listed below:

Executive/Managerial Requirements

1. Leading Change. Demonstrated ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. Includes the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment.

2. Leading People. Demonstrated ability to lead people toward meeting the organization’s vision, mission, and goals. Includes the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts.

3. Results-Driven Leadership. Demonstrated ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Includes the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks.

4. Business Acumen. Demonstrated ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically.

5. Building Coalitions. Demonstrated ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals.

Professional/Technical Requirements

1. Ph.D. or equivalent professional experience or a combination of education and equivalent experience in engineering, the sciences, or a closely related science based discipline.
Substantial contributions to engineering research through research or research administration.

2. Demonstrated knowledge of the academic and industrial research communities and recognized professional standing in these communities as evidenced by publications, patents, and/or professional leadership and awards.

3. Demonstrated broad knowledge of diverse fields of engineering research and demonstrated ability to relate different fields of engineering and science to research problems critical to technological advancement. Broad experience in innovation management, entrepreneurship, and in fostering partnerships to enhance technological innovations. 

4. Skill in balancing complex and diverse program demands and available resources in response to major advances or changing needs of science and engineering research and technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Appointment to this Senior Executive Service position may be on a career basis or on a one- to three-year limited-term basis. Alternatively, the incumbent may be assigned to the position under Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) provisions. Information about the IPA program is described below.

Intergovernmental Personnel Assignment (IPA) Act: Individuals eligible for an IPA assignment with a federal agency include employees of state and local government agencies or institutions of higher education, Indian tribal governments, and other eligible organizations in instances where such assignments would be of mutual benefit to the organizations involved. The initial IPA appointment may be made for up to two years, with a possible extension for up to one additional two-year period. The individual remains an employee of the home institution and NSF provides the negotiated funding toward the assignee’s salary and benefits. For additional information regarding IPA positions, please visit the NSF website at:

General inquiries about the Division Director position should be directed to:

Dr. Sohi Rastegar
Senior Advisor
Search Committee Chair
(703) 292-5379          

The qualification requirements and application procedures are described in the vacancy announcement (IIP-2018-0003) at

Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. of the closing date of the posted vacancy announcement, IIP-2018-0003, and may be transmitted electronically to or mailed or delivered to the following address:

National Science Foundation
Executive Personnel and Visiting Personnel Branch
Division of Human Resource Management
2415 Eisenhower Avenue, Room W 15200
Alexandria, VA 22314
ATTN:  Sandra DeLeon
(703) 292-7493


Dawn Tilbury
Assistant Director



The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, its budget is $7.8 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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