Apr 25, 2018

Behavioral Science (Program Director)

  • National Science Foundation
  • Alexandria, VA, USA
Full time Behavioral Behavioral Neuroscience Cognitive Cognitive Neuroscience

Job Description

NSF Program Directors bears the primary responsibility for carrying out the agency's overall mission is to support innovative and merit-reviewed activities in basic research and education that contribute to the nation's technical strength, security and welfare. Fulfilling this responsibility requires not only knowledge in the appropriate disciplines but also a commitment to high standards, a considerable breadth of interest, receptivity to new ideas, a strong sense of fairness, good judgement, and a high degree of personal integrity.

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 program in BCS, joint review with program 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 Cognitive Neuroscience program. The Cognitive Neuroscience Program aims to spur the development of highly novel theories, techniques and models directed toward enabling basic scientific understanding of a broad range of issues involving brain, cognition, and behavior. Research will provide insights into healthy functions of brain, cognition, and behavior. Additionally, the program highly values the exploration of new methodologies, utilization of the latest analytic approaches, and the convergence of cutting edge techniques for addressing basic questions about human cognition.


The responsibilities of the NSF program officer are constantly evolving. The program officer 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.

Responsibilities of the program officer 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.

Additional duties and responsibilities include:

• 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.

Supervisory status


Promotion Potential



National Science Foundation


Cognitive Neuroscience

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