Program Director (Perception, Action, and Cognition program)
National Science Foundation - Arlington, VA

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Become a part of our mission to maintain and strengthen the vitality of the US science and engineering enterprise. For over 60 years, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has remained the premier Federal agency supporting basic research at the frontiers of discovery across all fields, as well as science and engineering education at all levels.

The NSF is seeking a candidate for a Program Director position in the Perception, Action and Cognition (PAC) Program within Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS), Directorate for Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBE), Arlington, VA.

The BCS Division supports research to develop and advance scientific knowledge on human cognition, language, social behavior and culture as well as research on the interactions between human societies and the physical environment. 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. Some programs also consider proposals for doctoral dissertation improvement grants, the acquisition of specialized research and computing equipment, group international travel, and large-scale data collection.

The PAC Program supports research on cognition, perception and action including the development of these capacities. Emphasis is on research strongly grounded in theory. Research topics include vision, audition, haptics, attention, memory reasoning, written and spoken discourse, motor control and developmental issues in all topic areas. The program encompasses a wide range of theoretical perspectives such as symbolic computation, connectionism, ecological, nonlinear dynamics, and complex systems and a variety of methodologies including both experimental studies and modeling. More information about BCS programs can be found here .


This Program Director in the PAC Program specific responsibilities that may include the following:

Allocating program resources to maintain a balance of support to meet the field’s needs;

Taking action on all proposals in a timely manner;

Maintaining an effective merit review system and post-award action process;

Participating in one or more cross-cutting activities within the Foundation;

Assessing trends and opportunities in the field with assistance of advisory panels;

Pursuing EEO goals with regard to diversity and inclusion in selection of reviewers, panelists, and grantees;

Working cooperatively across the Division, Directorate, and Foundation, and with other agencies to accomplish the mission of NSF;

Participating in one or more cross-cutting activities within the Foundation.

Participating in interagency meetings, coordinating groups, special task groups, staff meetings, and site visits;

Representing the program to the scientific community and the public;

Establishing contacts and maintain active involvement in the program field through participation in meetings and conferences and by undertaking other relevant activities;

Pursuing 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. or equivalent experience in Cognitive Science or related discipline, plus at least six years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the program.

You must meet eligibility requirements before 11:59PM Eastern time on the closing date of the job announcement. You must answer all job-related questions in the NSF eRecruit questionnaire.

All online applicants must provide a valid email address. If your email address is inaccurate or your mailbox is full or blocked, you may not receive important communication that could affect your consideration for this position.

You will be evaluated on the extent and quality of your experience, education, and research relevant to the duties of the position. We strongly encourage you to specifically address the Quality Ranking Factors below. This will ensure that you receive full consideration in the evaluation process.

Quality Ranking Factors

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.

Ability to organize, implement and manage a proposal-driven grant program, allocating resources to meet a spectrum of goals, including insuring integrity and consistency in the grant award/declination management process.

Knowledge of management and organizational concepts, principles, practices and techniques.

Ability to work collaboratively with representatives of other programs and agencies so as to enhance interdisciplinary research and the mission of NSF.

Ability to assess trends and opportunities in the field with the assistance of the advisory panel and expertise from other sources.

To preview questions please click here .

Under the provisions of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, assignees remain on the payroll of his/her home institution and the home institution will continue to administer pay and benefits. NSF will reimburse the home institution for NSF's negotiated share of the cost of the assignment. Individuals eligible for an IPA assignment include employees of State and local government agencies, institutions of higher education, Indian tribal governments, federally funded research and development centers, and qualified nonprofit organizations. For more information regarding an IPA assignment, visit our website .

Under the provisions of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA), non-citizens may be considered as long as the individual is employed at an IPA-eligible institution.

For Visiting Scientist appointments, individuals are in a non-pay leave status from their home institutions and are appointed to NSF's payroll as Federal employees. NSF withholds Social Security and provides reimbursement to the home institution for fringe benefits. For information regarding Visiting Scientist appointments, visit our website .

For more information regarding Federal Temporary Appointments, visit OPM's website .

Relocation expenses will be paid subject to funds availability.

For additional information on the NSF eRecruit system, please visit our NSF eRecruit Frequently Asked Questions .

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