Physical Scientist (Program Director)

Division: Materials Research (MPS/DMR)
Directorate: Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS)
Job Type:
Appointment Type:
Temporary / Rotator
Pay Grade/Scale:

Application timeline

Date Posted:
Closing date: Open until filled

Position Summary

The Division of Materials Research (DMR) announces a nationwide search for senior-level researchers to serve as a Program Director for the Condensed Matter and Materials Theory program. The position requires an individual with broad knowledge and demonstrated experience in theoretical materials research; experimentalists that closely work with theorists may also be considered. Individuals with expertise in theoretical soft matter physics are particularly encouraged to apply. Applicants must be familiar with a broad spectrum of the materials research community, as well as with the most relevant research issues being addressed in the field currently. Applicants with accomplishments in the integration of research and education and with multidisciplinary experience and interests are desired.  Formal consideration of interested applications will begin immediately, and will continue until a selection is made.

Position Description

The position requires an individual with broad knowledge and demonstrated success in the sub-disciplinary area of materials research indicated above. Applicants must have a Ph.D. or equivalent experience in the physical sciences or a closely-related field, plus after the award of the Ph.D., a minimum of six or more years of successful independent research. In addition, research administration and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position would be highly desirable. The incumbent should also have an appreciation for interdisciplinary research. For the DMR mission statement and additional information about the above program, please see

The position requires effective oral and written communication skills, and familiarity with NSF programs and activities is highly desirable. The incumbent is expected to work effectively both as an individual within the specific NSF program and as a member of crosscutting and interactive teams. The incumbent must also demonstrate a capability to work across government agencies to promote NSF activities and to leverage program funds through interagency collaborations.

The position recruited under this announcement will be filled under the following appointment option(s):

Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Assignment: Individuals eligible for an IPA assignment with a Federal agency include employees of State and local government agencies or institutions of higher education, Indian tribal governments, and other eligible organizations in instances where such assignments would be of mutual benefit to the organizations involved. Initial assignments under IPA provisions may be made for a period up to two years, with a possible extension for up to an additional two-year period. The individual remains an employee of the home institution and NSF provides the negotiated funding toward the assignee's salary and benefits. Initial IPA assignments are made for a one-year period and may be extended by mutual agreement. 

It is NSF policy that NSF personnel employed at or IPAs detailed to NSF are not permitted to participate in foreign government talent recruitment programs.  Failure to comply with this NSF policy could result in disciplinary action up to and including removal from Federal Service or termination of an IPA assignment and referral to the Office of Inspector General.

Applications will be accepted from U.S. Citizens. Recent changes in Federal Appropriations Law require Non-Citizens to meet certain eligibility criteria to be considered. Therefore, Non-Citizens must certify eligibility by signing and attaching this Citizenship Affidavit to their application. Non-Citizens who do not provide the affidavit at the time of application will not be considered eligible. Non-Citizens are not eligible for positions requiring a security clearance.

To ensure compliance with an applicable preliminary nationwide injunction, which may be supplemented, modified, or vacated, depending on the course of ongoing litigation, the Federal Government will take no action to implement or enforce the COVID-19 vaccination requirement pursuant to Executive Order 14043 on Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees. Federal agencies may request information regarding the vaccination status of selected applicants for the purposes of implementing other workplace safety protocols, such as protocols related to masking, physical distancing, testing, travel, and quarantine.

Candidates must have a Ph.D. in Physical Science, plus after award of the Ph.D., six or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position.

Applicants should indicate which program they are applying to within their cover letter and the subject line of the email. Please submit the curriculum vitae and Citizenship affidavit (if applicable) to Applications are reviewed by DMR's Division Director and Deputy Division Director. A few candidates are selected for telephone and/or NSF on-site interviews. Applicants will receive an acknowledgment of their application and a status update by email when selections occur. For more information about these openings, you may send an inquiry to or contact Alex Klironomos.

Nominations from the community are also encouraged. A nomination email can be sent to

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