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EEC 19-002

Dear Colleague Letter: Employment Opportunity for Engineering Research Center (ERC) Program Director in the Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC), Directorate of Engineering (ENG) (Open Until Filled)

This document has been archived.

March 1, 2019

Dear Colleagues:

The Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC) in the Directorate for Engineering at the National Science Foundation is seeking a Program Director for the Engineering Research Center (ERC) program through an Intergovernmental Personnel Assignment (IPA) Act assignment. The initial assignment will be made for one year, and it may be extended for additional three years by mutual agreement. Formal consideration of interested applicants will begin February 28, 2019 and will continue until a selection is made. The selected applicant is expected to start in late May or early June of 2019.

The ERC program was launched in 1985, and it continues to be a landmark program in federal support for university research and education in partnership with industry. These centers provide an interdisciplinary environment where academe and industry focus together on advances in complex engineered systems that can transform industrial processes, develop new product lines, and/or build new infrastructures important for the Nation's future. NSF has continually refined the goals and purposes of the ERC program to meet shifting needs. The NSF-requested 2017 study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) "A New Vision for Center-Based Engineering Research" recommends that NSF place a greater emphasis on forming research centers focused on convergent research and education approaches that address challenges with significant societal impact. Convergent problems require the deep integration of knowledge, tools, and ways of thinking across disciplinary boundaries. A detailed explanation of the convergence concept can be found in a 2014 National Academies report, "Convergence: Facilitating Transdisciplinary Integration of Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering and Beyond" and in the NSF's 10 Big Ideas Growing Convergence Research at NSF website.

Now in their fourth generation, ERCs continue to focus on advancing an engineered system through inclusive cross-disciplinary and cross-sector partnerships, while placing greater emphasis on research that leads to societal impact through convergent approaches, engaging stakeholder communities, and strengthening team formation. ERCs establish innovation ecosystems, which include: partnerships with center member firms/practitioners to strengthen the ERC and streamline technology transfer; translational research partnerships with small firms to accelerate commercialization of high-risk ERC advancements; and innovation partnerships with local organizations to stimulate entrepreneurship and job creation as well as enable technological innovation. For more information, please visit the Division's website at:

NSF Program Directors bear the primary responsibility for carrying out the Foundation's overall mission to support innovative and merit-evaluated activities in fundamental research and education that contribute to the nation's technological strength, security and welfare. The positions require a commitment to high standards of intellectualism 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. EEC's ERC Program Directors solicit, receive and review 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.

The Program Director position recruited under this announcement may be filled under 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. 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.

Candidates must have a Ph.D. in an engineering discipline or a related and appropriate field; plus after award of the degree, six or more years of successful research, research administration and/or managerial experience in engineering.

In addition, effective oral and written communication skills, and familiarity with NSF programs and activities is highly desirable. The incumbent is expected to function effectively both as individual within the ERC 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.

The successful candidate will be a member of the team of Program Directors and staff responsible for the selection and post-award oversight of ERCs. The position combines ERC program level functions in post-award oversight and assessment with responsibility for selected centers. The incumbent will coordinate with the other ERC program directors to synthesize dynamic metrics from research, professional formation, and innovation in ERC activities using data analytics tools.

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

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.

Persons wishing to apply for this position are referred to the Division's web page for a description of the program. These persons are also encouraged to contact current Program Directors, identified on the program web page, for more information. To apply, email a single PDF document that includes (i) statement of interest, (ii) a curriculum vitae, and (iii) Citizen affidavit, as applicable, to or:

Division of Engineering Education and Centers,
Suite 585 National Science Foundation
2415 Eisenhower Avenue, Office E14318
National Science Foundation
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: 703-292-8380
Attn: Dr. Don Millard, Deputy Division Director

Although paper applications will be accepted at the above address, it is preferred that they be received electronically.

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