Program Director – Astronomical Sciences

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, October 31, 2023
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Management
Institution Classification/Type: 
Government Agency
National Science Foundation
Department Name: 
Street Line 1: 
2415 Eisenhower Avenue
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is seeking qualified candidates for an Astronomer (Program Director) position within the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST), located in Alexandria, VA.  This position is eligible for a few days telework per week but is not fully remote.  Applications will be considered from all US citizens who meet citizenship and eligibility requirements.  NSF is committed to building and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace environment and encourages applications from women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans. NSF is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer.

The mission of AST is to support forefront research in ground-based astronomy; to help ensure the scientific excellence of the U.S. astronomical community; to provide access to world-class research facilities through merit review; to support the development of new instrumentation and next-generation facilities; and to encourage broad understanding of the astronomical sciences by a diverse population of scientists, policy makers, educators, and the public at large. The Division supports research in all areas of astronomy and astrophysics as well as related multidisciplinary studies. Because of the scale of modern astronomical research, the Division engages in numerous interagency and international collaborations. Areas of emphasis and the priorities of specific programs are guided by community recommendations, which have been developed and transmitted by National Academies decadal surveys and reports, and by federal advisory committees.

Program Directors are expected to bring their scientific expertise to the activities of the Division, and to serve as a liaison between the astronomical community and NSF, disseminating information about NSF and Division activities and opportunities. Candidates are expected to work with the astronomical research and education community to broaden the diversity of participants in NSF programs. The core strategies NSF staff employ include developing intellectual capital, strengthening the physical infrastructure, integrating research and education, and promoting partnerships.

Duties include the following, but prior expertise is not required in each area listed:

  • Conduct appropriate oversight of facilities in operation or under construction, including activities such as review of budgets and annual program plans, and possible divestment, re-purposing, or transition of individual facility components.
  • Provide advice to the AST Division Director and Deputy Director on all aspects of major facilities planning, construction, and management of operations, as well as coordination of mid-scale activities.
  • Oversee and participate in the preparation of major facility award and decision packages to be presented to the National Science Board and internal review boards, potentially requiring the formation of internal/external advisory structures and coordination with other agencies.
  • Develop and execute partnerships with other federal agencies, international organizations, and private/university entities within the United States, for both mid-scale and large facilities.
  • Advise and assist in the development of short- and long-range plans, establishing goals and objectives for research programs.

Candidates must have a Ph.D. in astronomy, astrophysics, physics, engineering, solar physics, computer science, or a closely related field, as well as at least 6 years of post-Ph.D. experience relevant to the position.  Candidates will be evaluated on the extent and quality of experience, expertise, education, and research activities relevant to the duties of the position.  To ensure that you receive full consideration, we strongly encourage you to specifically address some or all of the Quality Ranking Factors below:

  1. Knowledge and understanding of scientific principles and theories applicable to astronomy, astrophysics, and physics which have resulted in recognized status in the community of scientists.
  2. Excellent written and spoken communication skills, including the ability to communicate effectively and work productively with the scientific community, peers, and co-workers at all levels to advocate program policies and plans and to fulfill NSF's mission.
  3. Knowledge of management and organizational concepts, principles, practices and techniques with expertise in applying this knowledge in science program management, and/or research administration.
  4. Knowledge of budgeting, planning, and project management related to facilities, preferably scientific research facilities.
  5. Knowledge of policy related to the management of facilities, and in particular, scientific research facilities.
  6. Knowledge of the design, construction, operation, and the end states of large, complex, cutting-edge, multi-user facilities, and scientific research facilities in particular.

Applicants must complete and submit an application online at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) USAJOBS website.  For more information and instructions on how to apply, see  

Pay Compensation
Salary Min: 
$160889.00 (USD)
Salary Max: 
$195000.00 (USD)
Application Deadline: 
Thursday, November 30, 2023
Selection Deadline: 
Sunday, December 31, 2023
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Program Director
National Science Foundation
Street Line 1: 
2415 Eisenhower Ave.
Zip/Postal Code: 
United States of America
Institution/Company Job ID or Reference Code: 
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Alison Peck
Program Director – Astronomical Sciences