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Candidate Search - Assistant Director for Biological Sciences  (BIO)


Dear Colleague:

The National Science Foundation is beginning a national search for the Assistant Director for Biological Sciences (BIO), and we seek your help in identifying visionary candidates. The new Assistant Director (AD) will succeed Dr. Joanne Tornow, who has served with distinction since February 2019.

The Assistant Director, BIO, leads a Directorate containing four Divisions: Biological Infrastructure (DBI), Environmental Biology (DEB), Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS), and Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB), and the Emerging Frontiers (EF) Office. Together, the Directorate's portfolio encompasses a broad range of research in the biological sciences, with a total budget of $819 million. The enclosed information sheet summarizes the Directorate's activities, the responsibilities of the position, and the criteria for the search.

I am pleased that Dr. Elizabeth (Toby) Kellogg, Robert E. King Distinguished Investigator at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, will chair the search committee. We seek your help in identifying candidates who are outstanding leaders, have a deep record of scholarship, and understand the issues facing the biological sciences, particularly in terms of support for fundamental research, innovation, broadening participation, and workforce development. Candidates must also have the skills and temperament to serve effectively as a key member of the NSF senior management team, working with the NSF Director and other Assistant Directors on interdisciplinary activities. The AD/BIO also interacts with the executive and legislative branches of government and must be able to communicate effectively with leaders in business, industry, and philanthropy.

Employment in the position may be made under provisions of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA). We welcome recommendations of individuals from any sector, including academia, industry, and government. The National Science Foundation is an equal opportunity employer committed to engaging a highly qualified staff that reflects the diversity of our nation.

Please send your recommendations, including any supporting information that you might be able to provide, to the AD/BIO Search Advisory Committee via e-mail to In light of COVID-19, we cannot receive recommendations by conventional mail. Please submit your recommendations by Friday, August 12, 2022.

Thank you for your help with this important task.

          /// signed ///
          Sethuraman Panchanathan


[Candidate Review Criteria]

[Overview of the Directorate for Biological Sciences]

[PDF version of Letter and Enclosures]

[Return to O/D home page]