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Job Opportunity: Program Director (IPA) for the Office of Polar Programs, Organisms/Ecosystems, Antarctic Sciences

April 21, 2022

The Antarctic Sciences Section at the National Science Foundation is recruiting a rotator Program Director under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) to lead biological research. These are one-year appointments, renewable for a period not to exceed 4 years. Program Directors are expected to have a PhD plus six years of experience in a field of science related to Organisms and Ecosystem research. More details are available in the Dear Colleague Letter (DCL 18-001) that provides general information about the IPA role. 

The Antarctic Sciences Section is seeking a program Director who will lead Antarctic and Southern Ocean biological related research. The program Director will be responsible for managing a dynamic proposal-driven research grants program through the Antarctic Research Opportunities solicitation (NSF 21-567). The Program Director manages a research portfolio directed at all levels of ecological, physiological, and genomic related processes that occur within and around Antarctica, as well as their interactions with the ocean, sea ice, biogeochemical cycling, ice sheets, and more. Investigators use a wide variety of techniques, from theory to land- and sea-based field observations to global climate models to explore the high latitude biological systems and how it might respond to climate change. The successful candidate should have expertise in a relevant (polar) bioscience discipline, including experience pertinent to the management challenges presented by covering the broad scope of ecological, physiological and genomic related research encompassed by the program, conduct outreach to diverse institutions and prospective principal investigators, including graduate students and early career researchers. The Program Director coordinates with the Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics (AIL) section, other Program Directors in the Office of Polar Programs (OPP) and throughout the National Science Foundation (NSF), other funding agencies and international partners to achieve program goals. Through interactions with the community and related research programs within Antarctic Sciences (ANT) and across NSF, the Program Director will have the opportunity to shape future directions for the program.

Preferred qualifications include:

  • Expertise in one or more fields of inquiry related to the Antarctic Science Program;
  • Research experience in the Antarctic and/or Arctic;
  • Research experience that complements 2021 NASEM strategic priority area 2: How Do Antarctic Biota Evolve and Adapt to the Changing Environment?
  • Broad recognition of diversity, equity, and inclusion issues facing the geosciences and experience in developing solutions to tackle these challenges;
  • Expertise in outreach and mentorship; and
  • Ability to work collaboratively with representatives of other NSF programs and agencies to enhance interdisciplinary research and the mission of NSF.

The Antarctic Sciences Section is a small, dynamic group of professionals dedicated to supporting research about the Antarctic. The incumbent will join a group of program directors who create a collaborative environment that fosters a growing science community and supports new ideas, innovations, and different knowledge systems. In addition to managing the merit review process for proposals, Program Directors develop funding opportunities, work with colleagues in other parts of NSF, collaborate with other federal agencies, and find other ways to increase research and funding opportunities for Antarctic researchers. More information about the Antarctic Sciences Section is available from the OPP website and in the Antarctic Research Opportunities solicitation.

Interested applicants should provide their curriculum vitae (CV) and cover letter to the Antarctic Program Director, Dr. Maria Vernet ( who would forward it to the search committee.

This position is telework-eligible based on agency policy. 

Application deadline: 31 May 2022

For more information, read the Dear Colleague Letter OPP 18-001.

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 2023 budget of $9.5 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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