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AST 19-001

Dear Colleague Letter: Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST) - Employment Opportunity for Program Director Positions (Open Until Filled)

February 7, 2019

Dear Colleague:

The Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST) of the Directorate for Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF) announces a search for Program Director positions under the provisions of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA). IPA Program Directors typically work within our Individual Investigator Grants programs. We are therefore particularly interested in attracting the services of community members with experience in the federal grant process (preparing proposals, reviewing proposals, and/or administering grants).

IPA Program Directors are involved in activities such as the merit review and proposal recommendation process, project oversight, budget management, program planning, the preparation of written materials describing research supported by the Division, and interactions with other NSF programs, external organizations and Federal agencies. Program Directors are expected to bring to the Division expertise in astronomy and astrophysics as well as an up-to-date perspective on the state of the astronomical research and education community; they also serve as a liaison between NSF and the community, disseminating information about NSF activities and opportunities. Appointees should be willing to contribute to other NSF Divisions or Directorates, and coordinate with external agencies and organizations, as necessary.

Program Directors strive to broaden the diversity of participants in all NSF programs; they work among a team of scientific and administrative professionals to support the Division's responsibilities within NSF's overall mission, which is to promote the progress of science and engineering, to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare, and to secure the national defense. 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.


Candidates must have a Ph.D. in astronomy, astrophysics, physics or a closely related field plus after award of the Ph.D., six or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position.

Candidates are expected to have significant knowledge of research and research-related activities in astronomy and astrophysics; familiarity with and recent exposure to the astronomical community is also highly desirable. Program Directors must be excellent communicators, should be comfortable adopting a leadership role, and must be able to function effectively while working alone or within program-specific groups in the Division.

The position will be filled with the following appointment option:

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 IPA assignments are made for a one-year period and may be extended by mutual agreement, with the maximum period being a total of four years. The individual remains an employee of the home institution and NSF provides the negotiated funding toward the assignee's salary and benefits, a stipend for per diem costs, and a travel allowance.

Applications will be 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. We also ask that you complete and submit the Applicant Survey Form. This will help NSF to ensure that our recruiting efforts are attracting a diverse candidate pool; it will be used for statistical purposes only.


To apply for a Program Director position under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, please email a current Resume or short Curriculum Vitae along with a cover letter highlighting relevant skills and experiences and a Citizenship Affidavit (if applicable) to Richard Green at

For information and conditions for IPA positions, please visit the NSF website at:

For additional perspective on working at NSF, please see "Programs for Science/Engineering/ Education" on the NSF website at: and

For additional information about AST research areas and programs, please see

NSF is an Equal Opportunity Employer Committed to Employing a Highly Qualified Staff that Reflects the Diversity of Our Nation.