Program Director

Alexandria, Virginia (US)
Salary commensurate with experience.
January 08 2021
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
Job Type

The National Science Foundation is seeking qualified candidates for a Behavioral Scientist (Program Director) position for the Biological Anthropology Program in the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) within the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE), Alexandria, VA.



BCS is responsible for the support of fundamental research in all behavioral and cognitive science fields. The Division is composed of standing programs in Anthropological, Geographical, Psychological, and Language Sciences.

The Biological Anthropology Program supports basic scientific research related to human evolution and contemporary human biological variation. The Program’s broad portfolio includes theoretically-driven evolutionarily-framed research in humans, nonhuman primates, and model systems. This research often engages with method and theory in archaeology, cultural anthropology, biology, geology, chemistry, and other fields in the behavioral and natural sciences. Applicants for the Program Director position should have a strong foundation across the anthropological sciences and allied fields, as well as knowledge and expertise regarding innovative, emerging trends and methods in the discipline. A successful candidate should also have demonstrated expertise and interest in engaging with other programs in the division, the directorate, and across the agency in cross-directorate programs and initiatives.

The responsibilities of NSF Program Directors are dynamic and constantly evolve. 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, and 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.


Maintains a healthy balance of support for all the needs of the research and education enterprise through program, division, directorate, Foundation, or interagency activities.

Manages program resources to provide optimal appropriate scientific judgment to insure integrity and consistency in the grant/declination process without conflict of interests, and with balance among appropriate sub-fields and institutions, and participation of all qualified scientists.

Incorporates cross-directorate responsibilities into program administration.

Manages an effective, timely merit review process, with attention to increasing the size and quality of the reviewer pools and insuring participation by women, minorities and disabled scientists.

Provides scientific expertise, evaluation and advice for other programs in NSF, including international programs, and other research programs, and cross-directorate programs.

Advises and assists in the development of short-and-long range plans, establishing goals and objectives for support of research programs.

Plans the budget for the program/programs considering past, present and future fiscal years, allocates resources within the budget by distributing scarce resources among major competitive programs, and manages post-award evaluation.

Controls waste, fraud and abuse.


Represents the Program, Division and the Foundation within the scientific community, with other NSF Divisions, with other appropriate agencies and organizations, and with the public, accurately reflecting NSF policy and positions.

Creates and maintains linkages to other NSF units and other Federal agencies in pursuit of the overall NSF mission.

Participates in staff, panel, committee and other meetings, providing input relevant to program area and/or Division.

Pursues affirmative action and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) goals.

Pursues and/or is responsive to assignment on special projects and temporary function teams across the Foundation to solve problems, improve staff communication, and effect coordination for special programs.

Contributes ideas and effort to improving the quality of policies and NSF's performance of the overall mission.

Develops policies and plans for strengthening support of research and education programs.

Provides information to the community on how NSF is pursuing its mission and gathers data and impressions from the community on the effectiveness of NSF's performance of its mission.

Prepares and disseminates a variety of informational documents which may include data on progress being made toward NSF goals, trends and opportunities, and budget plans.


Establishes contacts and maintains active involvement in Program and related areas through participation in professional activities.

Maintains familiarity with salient current research developments.

Pursues individual research as workload and travel funds permit.

Expands administrative capabilities through training courses or assumption of new management.


Candidates must have a Ph.D. in a field directly related to biological anthropology, 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 basic research areas relevant to the goals of BCS would be beneficial.

In addition to above qualifications, the ability to organize, implement and manage a proposal-driven grant program, allocate resources to meet a spectrum of goals and insure transparency and accountability in the grant award/declination management process is highly desired. Candidates should be able 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

This position is outside the competitive civil service.

You must meet eligibility and qualification requirements by the closing date of the announcement.

Please note the closing date in

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