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OPP 19-002

Dear Colleague Letter: Office of Polar Programs (OPP) announces a nationwide search for a Program Director in Polar Cyberinfrastructure (Open Until Filled)

July 2, 2019

Dear Colleagues:

The Office of Polar Programs (OPP) announces a nationwide search for a Program Director in Polar Cyberinfrastructure. Formal consideration of interested applications will begin on July 10, 2019 and will continue until a selection is made.

The Office of Polar Programs supports innovative research, engineering, and education in the Arctic and Antarctic across all scientific disciplines central to the National Science Foundation's (NSF) mission. Investments catalyze fundamental discovery of polar systems and their influence on global Earth processes to inform the nation and advance the welfare of all people. OPP also supports world-class astrophysical facilities essential for advancing understanding of the universe's origins. OPP's Polar Cyberinfrastructure Program transforms polar science by facilitating the transmission and integration of data and knowledge across the polar research and cyberinfrastructure communities.

The foundation of OPP's Polar Cyberinfrastructure Program arose from numerous research community reports including: "Revolutionizing Science and Engineering Through Cyberinfrastructure: Report of the National Science Foundation Blue-Ribbon Advisory Panel on Cyberinfrastructure" ( and "Report on Workshop on Cyberinfrastructure For Polar Sciences" ( The Polar Cyberinfrastructure Program is focused on building capacity within the polar research community as well as developing a community that is competitive in NSF-wide cyberinfrastructure competitions. The Polar Cyberinfrastructure Program also encourages interactions between the polar research community and the EarthCube initiative ( co-sponsored by NSF's Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) and the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (OAC). Additional cyberinfrastructure opportunities for the geosciences can be found at:

OPP's polar cyberinfrastructure investments encompass high-performance computing, stewardship and utilization of scientific data, and development of virtual organizations critical for tackling the complex interdisciplinary issues in polar science. Example areas for emphasis include support of (i) cost-effective transfer of data from remote field locations; (ii) long-term sustainable curatorship, standardization, management and discovery of data and metadata; (iii) access and interoperability of data across scientific disciplines; (iv) visualization, manipulation, and analysis of data for enhanced understanding; (v) high performance computing to advance predictive modeling capabilities; and (vi) e-learning and educational tools. The Polar Cyberinfrastructure Program focuses on both building capacity within the polar research community as well as developing a community that is competitive in NSF-wide competitions led by OAC and the Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE).

The Program Director for Polar Cyberinfrastructure manages OPP's investments to advance cyberinfrastructure related to polar science and education and has the opportunity to shape future research directions. The successful candidate will be engaged in defining and communicating cyberinfrastructure needs through interactions with the research community, related research programs within OPP, in other divisions of NSF, and in other organizations external to NSF. We are seeking an individual who is not only versed in cyberinfrastructure, but that also has experience in the application of cyberinfrastructure to the diverse fields of science that OPP supports. The incumbent will play an active role in developing and managing joint funding competitions with the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure, and other organizations within NSF. It is also expected that the new Program Director will engage with the NSF Big Idea: Harnessing the Data Revolution (


Candidates must have a Ph.D. in an appropriate 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; OR a Masters degree in an appropriate field plus after award of the degree, eight or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position.

This position requires effective oral and written communication skills. Familiarity with NSF programs and activities is highly desirable. The candidate is expected to function effectively as a member of crosscutting and interactive teams as well as be an individual contributor. The candidate must also demonstrate a capability to promote NSF activities and to work closely with a broad spectrum of polar researchers while advancing polar cyberinfrastructure capabilities in support of discovery-based research.

This position will be filled as an IPA appointment.

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.

For additional information on NSF's rotational programs, please see "Programs for Scientists, Engineers, and Educators" on the NSF website at: and More information on these employment options can be found 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. 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.


A description of the Office of Polar Programs can be found at

To apply, email a single PDF document that includes (i) a cover letter outlining qualifications and reason for interest in the position (ii) a curriculum vitae, (iii) and Citizenship affidavit, as applicable, to the Head of Antarctic Sciences, Dr. Alexandra Isern (