Email Print Share
DRL 19-004

Dear Colleague Letter: The Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL), in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) Employment Opportunity for a Program Director

June 7, 2019

Dear Colleagues:

The Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL), in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) announces a nationwide search for temporary Program Directors at the National Science Foundation. Applicants are encouraged to submit their materials as soon as possible and no later than December 31, 2019. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

DRL seeks program officers with research and development expertise in one or more of the following areas at the pre-K-12 level: science education research (e.g., the learning and teaching of biology, chemistry, earth science, or physics); and mathematics or statistics education (e.g., the learning and teaching of mathematics or statistics).

DRL supports innovative research, development, and evaluation of learning and teaching across all science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines in both formal and informal learning settings, and in any age group. A major goal of DRL research and development awards is to enhance the science of broadening participation in STEM. DRL programs support innovations in theory, methods, measurement, development, and applications in STEM education.

Duties and Responsibilities

Successful candidates will be expected to work collaboratively with staff and other program officers primarily in the Discovery Research preK-12 (DRK-12) program but may be expected to work in other DRL programs. They will also be expected to work closely with staff across divisions and directorates on cross-cutting programs of importance to the mission of the Agency.

NSF Program Directors have an unparalleled opportunity and responsibility to ensure NSF-funded research and development activities are at the forefront of advancing fundamental knowledge. In support of that, Program Directors are responsible for extensive interaction with academic research communities, formal and informal educational organizations, industry, as well as interaction with other Federal agencies that may lead to development of interagency collaborations. Within this context, Program Directors solicit, receive and review research and education proposals, make funding recommendations, administer awards and undertake interaction with research communities in these fields. The position requires a commitment to the highest research standards and ethical conduct, a considerable breadth of interest, receptivity to new ideas, a strong sense of fairness, good judgment, and a high degree of personal integrity.


Applicants must have a Ph. D or Ed.D. in a STEM related field, plus after award of the Ph.D. or Ed.D., six or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience.

Experience in STEM education research, evaluation, statistics or measurement, or any of the behavioral, cognitive, or social science bases of STEM learning is highly desired. Successful candidates will have research or development expertise in the areas highlighted in this announcement. Ideal candidates will have strong research expertise in an area of STEM learning as well as expertise and experience using quantitative and/or qualitative research methodologies to support these learning goals.

The position will be filled using an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Assignment. 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. 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 to a maximum of four years total. These positions are ineligible for conversion to permanent NSF service. For additional information on NSF's rotational programs, please visit:

Applications will be accepted from U.S. 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. This also applies to individuals considered for Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) assignments to NSF. Non-citizens who do not provide the affidavit at the time of application will not be considered eligible.

How to Apply

Applicants should submit a current curriculum vitae with statement of interest to Dr. Rob Ochsendorf, Program Director, Please indicate the number of this DCL in the subject line of the email.

Along with your application, please provide responses to the following:

Quality Ranking Factors

  1. Knowledge of and contributions to research in the field of preK-12 STEM education in one of the areas listed above.
  2. Research, analytical, and/or technical writing expertise as evidence by publications, presentations or other documents.
  3. Ability to interact, on a peer basis, with practitioners, administrators, senior scientific and managerial personnel in governmental agencies, academia, non-profits, and the private sector.
  4. Ability to organize, implement and manage the review of proposals, articles or other documents related to STEM education.

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