Astrophysics Program Scientist

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
To event remaining 13 days
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Management
Institution Classification/Type: 
Government Agency
NASA Headquarters
Street Line 1: 
300 E. Street, SW
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

Anticipated NASA Job Announcement:  Astrophysics Program Scientist

The Astrophysics Division within NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is hiring one or more scientists to serve as a civil servant Program Scientist at Headquarters in Washington, DC. The Program Scientist will work as part of a diverse and agile team whose core values include excellence, integrity, transparency, teamwork and a growth mindset toward stewarding the nation’s space-based astrophysics program.

Applicants with backgrounds in all areas of astrophysics, including cosmic origins, exoplanet exploration, and physics of the cosmos, are encouraged to apply.


NASA’s Astrophysics Division is responsible for the United States’ space-based astrophysics program ( With an astrophysics budget (including the James Webb Space Telescope) exceeding $1.75 billion annually, NASA leads the nation to explore the universe, determine how it began and evolved, and search for extrasolar planets.

NASA’s Astrophysics Program Scientists have broad responsibility for advancing NASA’s astrophysics portfolio; serving as the Headquarters science leads for one or more missions; developing and shaping multimillion-dollar scientific research grants programs selected through competitive peer review; and leading NASA’s preparation for implementing the recommendations of the 2020 Decadal Survey. Program Scientists have substantial influence over high-level astrophysics strategic planning, as well as leading the long-term scientific direction of missions and programs that they oversee.

Specifically, a Program Scientist within the Astrophysics Division will:

  1. Solve problems in implementing a balanced program across the breadth of astrophysics within technological, scientific, budgetary, and programmatic constraints. Provide solutions that are strategic and tactical, and are innovative as well as implementable, in alignment with the priorities of NASA.
  2. Orchestrate peer reviews that evaluate the scientific merit of proposals in all areas of astrophysics research across the thematic areas of the program (Physics of the Cosmos, Cosmic Origins, Exoplanet Exploration).
  3. Collaboratively define a long-term vision for the program and work collaboratively to implement it in a fast-paced environment, while leading diverse teams using influence rather than supervisory authority.
  4. Communicate, engage, and build consensus with multiple stakeholders, including the scientific community, external advisory committees, senior NASA leaders, programs and projects at NASA Centers, and the public.
  5. Manage multiple responsibilities using effective time management and organizational skills.

NASA recognizes that candidates with non-traditional career paths, or individuals who are at earlier stages of their careers may have demonstrated experience in different ways. NASA encourages applications from such individuals.

Application Process

The job announcement will open for applications at on Friday May 7 and will close on Tuesday May 11. The announcement number will be HQ-21-DE-11072486-ST when the announcement opens for applications on May 7, 2021.

This is a fair and open competition that all U.S. Citizens and Status candidates can apply to.

This will be a Direct Hire Authority (DHA) announcement through, so it will only be open for 3 workdays. The short period that the announcement is open is due to the type of hiring authority, which streamlines the hiring process and assists with rapidly filling competitive positions. It is not a reflection of the openness of the position. Advance notice of the vacancy is being provided to allow interested scientists to prepare. In order to apply for this position, you will only need to (i) submit your resume and a transcript and (ii) answer the screening questions and supplemental information through USAJOBS.

Given the short period the announcement will be open, it is a good idea to log into USAJOBS before the job announcement opens and update your username, password, resume, etc., to facilitate the timely submission of an application.

A transcript demonstrating that you meet the education requirements for a Federal physical scientist will be required at the time of application. Given the short period that the announcement will be open, it is a good idea to obtain a transcript in advance.  While a transcript is the preferred proof of qualifying education, any of the following items will be accepted as proof of education:

•          An unofficial transcript,

•          A copy of an official transcript,

•          A copy of a degree (i.e. a picture or scan), or

•          A list of courses.

Candidates interested in being notified when this job opportunity is posted on USAJOBS and opened for three days are encouraged to sign up for a notification using the features of the USAJOBS website.

Further Information

Candidates interested in this opportunity are encouraged to contact NASA well in advance so they can make a well informed decision on submitting an application during the very short (3 day) window when the job opportunity will be open for applications.  Questions about this anticipated opening for an Astrophysics Program Scientist at NASA Headquarters may be directed to Eric Smith, Chief Scientist, Astrophysics Division,, 202-358-2439.


Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
Selection Deadline: 
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Eric Smith