National Science Foundation - Program Director

Program Director in the Science of Learning Activity
Agency: National Science Foundation
SALARY RANGE:    $106,263.00 to $165,596.00 / Per Year
OPEN PERIOD:    Tuesday, September 16, 2014 to Tuesday, October 28, 2014
SERIES & GRADE:    AD-0101-04
POSITION INFORMATION:    Full-time. - This position will be filled as a one- or two-year VSEE, 
DUTY LOCATIONS:  Arlington, 

About the Agency

The Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) supports research to develop and advance scientific knowledge about humans spanning areas of inquiry including brain and behavior, language and culture, origins and evolution, and geography and the environment. In addition to the core program areas, BCS sponsors several additional crosscutting and NSF-wide funding opportunities. BCS programs consider proposals that fall squarely within disciplines, but they also encourage and support interdisciplinary projects. These are evaluated either through joint review among programs in BCS, joint review with programs in other Divisions, or by NSF-wide multi-disciplinary panels. All programs in BCS consider proposals for research projects, conferences, and workshops. BCS participates in special initiatives and competitions on a number of topics including human-natural system interactions, children's research, cognitive neuroscience, human origins, and information technology. There is also infrastructure support to improve data resources, data archives, collaboratories, and centers. For more information on the division, please visit the BCS Home Page.

BCS is seeking a Program Director in the Science of Learning Activity. NSF’s investments in the Science of Learning include the establishment of the Science of Learning Centers Program in 2003 to advance fundamental knowledge about learning - in humans, other animals and machines. Over the years, the Program has successfully fostered an interdisciplinary, international community focused on studying learning across many scales of analysis, drawing on perspectives from many fields including cognitive and behavioral sciences, social science, engineering, biology, neuroscience, mathematics and physical sciences, computer science, machines learning and artificial intelligence. Attention is now turned to planning the next phase of Science of Learning investments to continue the advancement of fundamental knowledge about learning through integrative, interdisciplinary research, and to connect the research to societal, scientific, technological, educational, and workforce challenges. This will involve the creation of new funding opportunities.

The responsibilities of the NSF Program Director are constantly evolving. The Program Director is guided by the goals of NSF's Strategic Plan: (1) enable the United States to uphold a position of world leadership in all aspects of science, mathematics, an engineering, (2) promote the discovery, integration, dissemination, and employment of new knowledge in service to society, and (3) achieve excellence in U. S. science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education at all levels. The core strategies NSF staff employ include developing intellectual capital, strengthening the physical infrastructure, integrating research and education, and promoting partnerships. Responsibilities of the Program Director include, for example, long-range planning and budget development for the areas of science represented by the program or program cluster, the administration of the merit review process and proposal recommendations, the preparation of press releases, feature articles and material describing advances in the research supported, and coordination and liaison with other programs in NSF, other Federal agencies and organizations.

The Program Director will have specific responsibilities that include the following:

  • Participate in planning for the future of the Science of Learning
  • Allocate resources to maintain a balance of support to meet the field's needs;
  • Take action on all proposals in a timely manner;
  • Maintain an effective merit review system;
  • Engage in effective post-award management including annual site visit reviews, monthly teleconferences, and review of annual and final progress reports;
  • Participate in one of more cross-cutting activities within the Foundation;
  • Work cooperatively across the Division, Directorate, and Foundation, and with other agencies to accomplish the mission of NSF;
  • Participate in interagency meetings, coordinating groups, special task groups, staff meetings, and site visits;
  • Assess trends and opportunities in the field with assistance of advisory panels;
  • Pursue affirmative action and EEO goals in selection of reviewers, panelists, and grantees;
  • Represent the activity to the scientific community and the public;
  • Establish contacts and maintain active involvement in the program field through participation in meetings and conferences and by undertaking other relevant activities;
  • Pursue a personal scholarly research agenda, with results presented at professional meetings and published in academic journals, as workload permits.

Applicants must possess a Ph.D. in a psychological, cognitive or learning science plus, after award of the Ph.D., six or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position. Experience and expertise in cognitive neuroscience would be especially beneficial.

Have job updates sent to your email: