NSF seeks candidates for Social and Economic Sciences Division Director

July 6, 2021

Dear Colleagues:

We are asking for your assistance in identifying potential candidates for the Social and Economic Sciences Division director position. Please view the position vacancy announcement on USAJOBS. Applications are due by Aug. 6, 2021.

The division is located within NSF’s Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate. The division director serves as a member of the directorate’s leadership team and as a principal NSF spokesperson for social and economic sciences. The division director works with the deputy division director to provide leadership for the Social and Economic Sciences Division which is responsible for funding research and related activities aimed at advancing our fundamental understanding of how people live, work, and cooperate with one another. The evidence and insight that researchers generate with the division’s support help improve quality of life, institutional effectiveness, and economic prosperity for the U.S. The division director provides overall management for a staff of approximately 30 employees and a fiscal year 2021 budget over $110 million. The division director assesses needs and trends in the social and economic sciences and implements overall strategic planning and policy creation for the division, including overseeing NSF’s support of large national surveys such as the Panel Study of Income Dynamics.

We look forward to any help you may be able to offer in filling this key NSF position. We are especially interested in identifying women, members of underrepresented minority groups and persons with disabilities for consideration. Areas of importance for the directorate include interdisciplinary research and the development of infrastructure to support new approaches for gathering and analyzing data related to the social and economic sciences. Successful grantees seek to answer truly important societal questions by using impeccable scientific methodologies. Information about the division’s mission and programs is on the Social and Economic Sciences website. The division’s programs include the following:

  • Accountable Institutions and Behavior
  • Decision, Risk and Management Sciences
  • Economics
  • Law and Science
  • Methodology, Measurement and Statistics
  • Science of Organizations
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Science of Science: Discovery, Communication, and Impact
  • Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace
  • Security and Preparedness
  • Sociology

 Executive and managerial requirements

  1. Leading change. Demonstrated ability to bring about strategic change — both inside and outside an 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 an 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 stakeholder 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 strategically manage human, financial and information resources.
  5. Building coalitions. Demonstrated ability to achieve common goals by building coalitions internally and with other federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations.

 Educational and scientific requirements

  1. Ph.D. or equivalent professional experience or combination of education and equivalent experience in the social and economic sciences (e.g., sociology, economics, law and science, organizational science, or related field).
  2. Substantial research contributions and strong evidence of scholarship and leadership in the social and economic sciences or a closely related field as evidenced in publications, awards and/or innovative leadership in research administration.
  3. Demonstrated broad knowledge of diverse fields of science and their interdisciplinary impact on the social and economic sciences.
  4. Broad understanding of universities and other institutions where research and education in science and engineering is conducted, including knowledge of grant and contract administration, fiscal management, and budget preparation with experience in scientific research support.

Applications will be accepted from U.S. citizens. 

Dawn Patterson in NSF's Division of Human Resource Management is assisting us in this outreach. See NSF's rotator programs website for additional information on rotator positions.

Thank you in advance for helping to identify superb candidates for this very important leadership position at the National Science Foundation.


Arthur W. Lupia
NSF Assistant Director
Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate

Kellina Craig-Henderson
NSF Deputy Assistant Director
Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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