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MPS 11-003

Dear Colleague Letter: Employment Opportunity for Division of Physics (PHY), Directorate of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) (Open Until Filled)

DATE: February 14, 2011

The Division of Physics (PHY) announces a nationwide search for senior-level researchers to serve as Program Directors. Formal consideration of interested applications will begin April 1, 2011 and will continue until selections are made.

The Program Director position involves responsibility for the planning, coordination, and management of resources for research and human resource development in one of the disciplinary areas under the purview of the Division of Physics. The position requires effective oral and written communication skills, and familiarity with NSF programs and activities is highly desirable. The incumbent is expected to work effectively both as individual within the specific NSF program and as a member of crosscutting and interactive teams. The incumbent must also demonstrate a capability to work across government agencies to promote NSF activities and to leverage program funds through interagency collaborations. Applicants must have a Ph.D. or equivalent experience in a scientific discipline supported by NSF. In addition, applicants must have six or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the program of interest. We are especially interested in applicants with a Ph.D. or equivalent experience in one of the programs covered by the Division. Full descriptions of all programs in the Division of Physics can be found at PHY Home on the NSF Physics web page at

The Division is currently seeking to fill positions for the following programs: Elementary Particle Physics, Particle and Nuclear Astrophysics, Theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics, and Gravitational Physics.

The position may be filled with one of the following appointment alternatives:

Intergovernmental Personnel Assignment (IPA) Act: Individuals eligible for an IPA assignment with a Federal agency include employees of State and local government agencies or institutions of higher education, Indian tribal governments, and other eligible organizations in instances where such assignments would be of mutual benefit to the organizations involved. Initial assignments under IPA provisions may be made for a period up to two years, with a possible extension for up to an additional two-year period. The individual remains an employee of the home institution and NSF provides the negotiated funding toward the assignee's salary and benefits. Initial IPA assignments are made for a one-year period and may be extended by mutual agreement.

Visiting Scientist Appointment: Appointment to this position will be made under the Excepted Authority of the NSF Act. Visiting Scientists are on non-paid leave status from their home institution and placed on the NSF payroll. NSF withholds Social Security taxes and pays the home institution's contributions to maintain retirement and fringe benefits (i.e., health benefits and life insurance), either directly to the home institution or to the carrier. Appointments are usually made for a one-year period and may be extended for an additional year by mutual agreement.

Temporary Excepted Service Appointment: Appointment to this position will be made under the Excepted Authority of the NSF Act. Candidates who do not have civil service or reinstatement eligibility will not obtain civil service status if selected. Candidates currently in the competitive service will be required to waive competitive civil service rights if selected. Usual civil service benefits (retirement, health benefits, and life insurance) are applicable for appointments of more than one year. Temporary appointments may not exceed three years.

For additional information on NSF's rotational programs, please see "Programs for Scientists, Engineers, and Educators" on the NSF website at:

How to Apply: Interested applicants should send an e-mail to with the following information: A subject line stating "Application for PD position in [Name of Program]"; a cover letter highlighting specific qualifications that address the position requirements and duties outlined above; and current curriculum vitae.