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


Dear Colleague:

The National Science Foundation is beginning a national search for the Assistant Director for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) and we seek your help in identifying visionary candidates. The new Assistant Director (AD) will succeed Dr. Arthur (Skip) Lupia, who has served with distinction since 2018.

The Assistant Director, SBE, leads a Directorate containing the Division of Behavorial 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). Together, the Directorate's portfolio encompasses a broad range of the social, behavioral, and economic sciences with a total budget of nearly $283 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. Robert Groves, Executive Vice President and Provost at Georgetown University, will 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 social, behavioral, and economic science communities, 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 AD/SBE 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.

To be considered for an SES appointment, please apply online on USAJobs by the closing date of the vacancy announcement. The vacancy outlines all required documentation that should be submitted. To be considered under the IPA program, please send your recommendations, including any supporting information that you might be able to provide, to the AD/SBE Search Advisory Committee via e-mail to In light of COVID-19, we cannot receive recommendations by conventional mail. Please submit your recommendations by October 8, 2021.

Thank you for your help with this important task.

          /// signed ///
          Sethuraman Panchanathan


[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]