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CBET 14-001

Dear Colleague Letter: Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems (CBET) - Employment Opportunity (Open Until Filled)

December 24, 2013

The Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET), within the Directorate for Engineering at the National Science Foundation (NSF), announces a nationwide search for an engineering professional to fill the following position:

Program Director: Nano-Biosensing Program

The National Science Foundation Program Directors solicit, receive and review research proposals, make funding recommendations and administer awards. They are also responsible for interaction with other Federal agencies, forming and guiding interagency collaborations, and for service to Foundation-wide activities. Formal consideration of interested applicants will begin on January 7, 2014 with an approximate beginning appointment date between June 1 and August 15, 2014.

While disciplinary expertise will be expected for the program director, the focus of the search is to locate a scholarly, open-minded, diverse and intellectually integrated individual to join the present team in sharing the Engineering Directorate’s responsibilities within NSF’s overall mission: to promote the progress of science and engineering; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense.


The Nano-Biosensing Program supports innovative, transformative, and insightful fundamental investigations of original technologies with broad long-term impact. The program also supports fundamental development of applications that require novel use of nano-scale bio-inspired engineering principles and approaches that will meet the engineering and technology needs of the nation. The program is targeting research in the area of the monitoring, identification and/or quantification of biological signals and is particularly interested in projects at the intersection of engineering, life sciences, and information technology. The focus areas for the program include: 1) Novel biorecognition elements, 2) multifunctional nanomaterials and interfaces for biosensing applications, 3) fundamental study of bio-macromolecules confinement and orientation at the micro- and nano-interfaces for biosensing applications, 4) nano-biosensors for basic biology applications, 5) integration of nano-biosensors into portable devices for medical applications. The candidate will also have an opportunity to participate in cross-programmatic activities related to brain mapping/neuroscience and bio-manufacturing and may serve on working groups related to these and other activities.

NSF Program Directors bear the primary responsibility for carrying out the Agency’s overall mission. To discharge this responsibility requires not only knowledge in the appropriate disciplines, but also a commitment to high standards, a considerable breadth of interest and receptivity to new ideas, a strong sense of fairness, good judgment, and a high degree of personal integrity.

Qualification requirements include a Ph.D. or equivalent professional experience in the relevant discipline, plus after the award of the Ph.D., six or more years of successful research, research administration and/or substantial managerial experience in academe, industry, or government. Appointees are expected to have significant and relevant knowledge of research related to biosensing. Also desirable is knowledge of the general scientific community, skill in written communication and preparation of technical reports, an ability to communicate orally, and several years of successful independent research of the kind normally expected of the academic rank of associate or full professor. Research accomplishments on topics related to biosensing are highly desirable. All appointees are expected to function effectively both within specific programs and in a team mode, contributing to and coordinating with organizations in the Directorate, across the Foundation, and with other Federal and State government agencies and private-sector organizations as necessary. Such responsibilities can include serving on committees developing new administrative approaches and implementing new focused research activities.

Periodic appointments to leadership of inter-divisional, inter-directorate and interagency programs may be made. NSF is an equal opportunity employer committed to employing a highly qualified staff that reflects the diversity of our nation. This position may be filled by one of the following appointment options:

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:

Applications accepted from US Citizens. Recent changes in Federal Appropriations Law require Non-Citizens to meet certain eligibility criteria to be considered. Therefore, Non-Citizens must certify eligibility by signing and attaching this Citizenship Affidavit to their application. Non-citizens who do not provide the affidavit at the time of application will be considered as an IPA only.

Applicants should send a current CV accompanied by a cover letter that highlights experience that specifically relates to the program objectives to and or

Dr. Susan Kemnitzer 
Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET)
Telephone: (703) 292-8320
Fax: (703) 292-9054

Dr. JoAnn Lighty
Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET)
Telephone: (703) 292-8320