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Candidate Search - Assistant Director for Geosciences (GEO)


Dear Colleague:

The National Science Foundation is beginning a national search for the Assistant Director for Geosciences (GEO) and we seek your help in identifying visionary candidates. The new Assistant Director (AD) will succeed Dr. William Easterling, who has served with distinction since June 2017.

The Assistant Director, GEO, leads a Directorate of three divisions — Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences (AGS); Earth Sciences (EAR); Ocean Sciences (OCE) — and the Office of Polar Programs (OPP). The Directorate's portfolio encompasses a broad range of the geosciences with a total budget of approximately $1.5 billion. Linked below is an information sheet summarizes the Directorate's activities, the responsibilities of the position, and the criteria for the search.

I am pleased that Dr. Inez Fung, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, and Dr. Margaret Leinen, Director of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, will co-chair the search committee. We seek your help in identifying candidates who are outstanding leaders, have a deep sense of scholarship, and understand the issues facing the geosciences community, particularly in education, innovation, and fundamental research. 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 Geosciences AD 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 on a temporary or permanent basis in the Federal Service or by temporary assignment under provisions of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act. 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/GEO Search Advisory Committee via e-mail to In light of COVID-19, we cannot receive recommendations by conventional mail. Please submit your recommendations by February 26, 2021.

Thank you for your help with this important task.

          /// signed ///
          Sethuraman Panchanathan


[Candidate Review Criteria]

[Overview of the Directorate for Geosciences]

[PDF version of Letter and Enclosures]

[Return to O/D home page]