Job Opportunity: Astronomer (Program Director, Grants, Temporary) - Closes: Until Position Filled

April 19, 2023

Position Summary

The National Science Foundation is seeking qualified candidates to fill one or more Program Director positions in the Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST), Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Alexandria, VA.

The mission of AST is to support forefront research in ground-based astronomy; to help ensure the scientific excellence of the U.S. astronomical community; to provide access to world-class research facilities through merit review; to support the development of new instrumentation and next- generation facilities; and to encourage broad understanding of the astronomical sciences by a diverse population of scientists, policy makers, educators, and the public at large. The Division supports research in all areas of astronomy and astrophysics as well as related multidisciplinary studies. Because of the scale of modern astronomical research, the Division engages in numerous interagency and international collaborations. Areas of emphasis and the priorities of specific programs are guided by community recommendations, which have been developed and transmitted by National Academies decadal surveys and reports, and by federal advisory committees.

The candidates selected for these positions will have responsibility in one or more of the following areas: management of proposal merit review and award recommendations; management oversight of one or more mid-scale instrumentation/science awards; and interacting with other NSF programs, Federal and international agencies and organizations. Program Directors are expected to bring their scientific expertise to the activities of the Division, and to serve as a liaison between the astronomical community and NSF, disseminating information about NSF and Division activities and opportunities. Candidates are expected to work with the astronomical research and education community to broaden the diversity of participants in NSF programs.

Position Description

The responsibilities of the NSF Program Director are constantly evolving. The Program Director is guided by the goals of NSF’s Strategic Plan: (1) transform the frontiers of science and engineering; (2) stimulate innovation and address societal needs through research and education; and (3) excel as a Federal Science Agency. The core strategies NSF staff employ include developing intellectual capital, strengthening the physical infrastructure, integrating research and education, and promoting partnerships. Duties include the following:

• Managing proposal processing from receipt through merit review to final recommendation.
• Working with colleagues to organize merit review using the full range of NSF options, ensuring appropriate and comprehensive evaluation of each proposal.
• Recommending a balanced suite of awards and monitoring progress and evaluating changes during the execution of awarded projects.
• Advising and assisting in the development of short-and long-range plans and establishing goals and objectives for research programs. Incorporating recommendations of Federal advisory committees (such as the Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee and the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee) and their subcommittees, and of National Academies studies, into these plans.
• Managing the merit review, award recommendation, and post-award oversight for research proposals in one or more areas.

For more information, refer to this webpage:

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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