Program Director (Innovation Corps Program)

Division: Translational Impacts (TIP/TI)
Directorate: Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP)
Job Type:
Appointment Type:
Temporary / Rotator
This job is open to the public

Application timeline

Date Posted:
Closing date: Open until filled

Position Summary

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announces a nationwide search to fill two Program Director positions for the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) program.

NSF seeks to strengthen a national innovation ecosystem that helps foster innovation among faculty and students, promotes regional coordination and linkages, and develops networks to address pressing societal challenges and economic opportunities for the nation.

The goal of the I-Corps program is to use experiential education to help researchers reduce the time necessary to translate a promising idea from the laboratory bench to the market. In addition to accelerating technology translation, NSF seeks to reduce the risk associated with technology development conducted without insight into industry requirements and challenges.

Through I-Corps™, NSF-funded researchers learn to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research and gain practical skills in entrepreneurship. Ultimately, I-Corps accelerates the economic and societal benefits of NSF-funded, basic-research projects that are ready to move toward commercialization.

Position Description

NSF Program Directors bear the primary responsibility for carrying out the agency's overall mission to support innovative and merit-reviewed activities in basic research and education that contribute to the nation's technical strength, security, and welfare. To fulfill this responsibility they solicit, receive and review research and education proposals, make funding recommendations, administer awards, conduct site visits and execute program activities. They are also responsible for forming and guiding interagency collaborations, developing partnerships with industry and non-profits, and service to Foundation-wide activities.  The positions require a commitment to high standards, a considerable breadth of interest and receptivity to new ideas, a strong sense of fairness, good judgment, and a high degree of personal integrity.

The I-Corps Program Director team oversees the I-Corps program to build, utilize and sustain a national innovation ecosystem that enhances the development of technologies, products and processes that benefit society.

The I-Corps Program Directors will ensure that the I-Corps program fosters an understanding of how to:

  • Identify, develop and support promising ideas that can generate value,
  • Create and implement tools and resources that enhance our nation's innovation capacity,
  • Gather, analyze, evaluate and utilize the data and insight resulting from the experiences of the I-Corps Teams, and
  • Share and leverage effective innovation practices on a national scale to improve the quality of life for the U.S. citizenry.

Persons wishing to apply for this position are referred to the webpage for a description of the I-Corps program. Persons are also encouraged to contact the current I-Corps Program Directors, who are identified on the I-Corps web pages, for more information.

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. 

Temporary Excepted Service Appointment: Appointment to this position will be made under the Excepted Authority of the NSF Act. Candidates who do not have civil service status or reinstatement eligibility will not obtain civil service status if selected. Candidates currently in the competitive service will be required to waive competitive civil service rights if selected. Usual civil service benefits (retirement, health benefits and life insurance) are applicable for appointments of more than one year. Temporary appointments may not exceed three years.

Visiting Scientist, Engineer, and Educator (VSEE) Program: Appointment to this position will be made under the Excepted Authority of the NSF Act. Visiting Scientists are on non-paid leave status from their home institution and placed on the NSF payroll. NSF withholds Social Security taxes and pays the home institution's contributions to maintain retirement and fringe benefits (i.e., health benefits and life insurance), either directly to the home institution or to the carrier. Appointments are usually made for a one-year period and may be extended for an additional year 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 an appropriate engineering or science field supported by NSF, plus after award of the degree, six or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position; OR a Master's degree in an appropriate field plus award of the degree, eight or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position. Candidates must also possess experience in successfully translating research from the academic lab to the marketplace.

In addition, effective oral and written communication skills are highly desirable. Familiarity with the I-Corps program is highly desirable. The incumbent is expected to function effectively both as individual within the specific NSF program and as a member of crosscutting and interactive teams. The incumbent must also demonstrate a capability to work within NSF and across government agencies to promote NSF activities and to leverage program funds through interagency collaborations.

To apply, email a single PDF document that includes 1) CV, 2) a cover letter explaining the reasons they are interested in the position, and 3) Citizen affidavit, as applicable. The cover letter should describe how their experiences fit with the position of I-Corps Program Officer (referencing the CV), why this position would be of mutual benefit to NSF and to their institutions, and how they foresee this assignment benefiting their careers. It is preferred that application materials and questions be sent to the Division of Translational Impacts via email to the address noted below with "I-Corps Program Director" in the subject line.

Application Submission Email Address: