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Candidate Search - Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (AD/SBE)


Dear Colleague:

The National Science Foundation is initiating a national search for the Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE). We seek your assistance in the identification of visionary candidates to lead the Directorate in the coming years. Dr. Fay Lomax Cook has served in this position with distinction since September 2014. Through her efforts SBE sciences maintain a prominent role in the agency's plans and programs, including a leadership role in the NSF Big Idea focused on Work at the Human-Technology Frontier. The next Assistant Director will have similar opportunities to shape future research and education in the SBE sciences as well as ensure that SBE is a key participant in NSF's expanding efforts to support convergence research. The next Assistant Director will also be central to the strategic visioning for SBE that has been recommended by a 2017 study of the National Academies of Science.

The Assistant Director, SBE, manages a Directorate with a budget of approximately $270.0M, and comprising the varied fields of the social, behavioral and economic sciences. These include the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS), the Division of Social and Economic Sciences (SES), the SBE Office of Multidisciplinary Activities (SMA), and the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). Shown below are an information sheet that summarizes the Directorate's activities and the responsibilities of the position, together with the criteria that will be used in the search. Employment may be on a temporary or permanent basis in the Federal Service or by temporary assignment under provisions of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act.

We are very pleased to announce that Dr. Anne Petersen, former NSF Deputy Director and Research Professor at the University of Michigan, has agreed to head the Search Advisory Committee. Both the Committee and I seek your help in identifying candidates with the following qualifications: outstanding leadership; a deep sense of scholarship; a grasp of the issues facing the social, behavioral, and economic science communities, especially in the areas of education and fundamental research; and expertise with the production, analysis and dissemination of public data and statistics. Candidates must also have the ability to serve effectively as a key member of the NSF senior management team, working together with the NSF Director and other Assistant Directors on cross-directorate activities and interactions with executive and legislative branches of government. When opportunities arise, the candidate must be able to communicate effectively with leaders of business and industry as well as the philanthropic community. Recommendations of individuals from any sector — academic, industry, or government — are welcome.

Please send your recommendations, including any supporting information which you might be able to provide, to the AD/SBE Screening Committee via e mail ( or at the following address: National Science Foundation, Office of the Director, 2415 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA, 22314. We would appreciate receiving your recommendations by January 15, 2018.

Your assistance in this very important task is appreciated.

          /// signed ///
          France A. Córdova


[Candidate Review Criteria]

[Overview of the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences]

[PDF version of Letter and Enclosures]

[Return to O/D home page]