Behavioral Scientist (Program Director), National Science Foundation

Job Type: Government/Non-Profit

Application Deadline: January 20, 2020


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

For more information on SBE please click here.

For more information on BCS please click here.


The Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences Division supports research to develop and advance scientific knowledge on human cognition, language, social behavior and culture as well as the interactions between human and natural systems. 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.

The Perception, Action, and Cognition (PAC) Program supports research on perception, action and cognition that is 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; symbolic computation, connectionism, ecological, nonlinear dynamics, complex systems and a variety of methodologies including both experimental studies and modeling. Research involving acquired or developmental deficits and research on animals is appropriate if the results speak to basic issues of perception, action, and cognition. The program’s focus is on perceptual, motor, and cognitive mechanisms of human behavior.

The responsibilities of the NSF Program Director are constantly evolving. The Program Director is guided by the goals of NSF’s Strategic Plan: (1) transform the frontiers of science and engineering, (2) stimulate innovation and address societal needs through research and education, and (3) excel as a Federal Science Agency. The core strategies NSF staff employs include developing intellectual capital, strengthening the physical infrastructure, integrating research and education, and promoting partnerships. Responsibilities of the Program Director 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.

The Program Director will have specific responsibilities that include the following:

  • Articulate a vision for the future of the discipline and allocate program resources to maintain a balance of support to meet the field’s needs and future development;
  • Maintain an effective merit review system and post-award action process;
  • Participate in one or more cross-cutting activities within the Foundation;
  • Work cooperatively across the Division, Directorate, Foundation and with other agencies to accomplish the mission of NSF;
  • Participate in interagency meetings, coordinating groups, special task groups, staff meetings and site visits;
  • Assess trends and opportunities in the field with assistance of advisory panels;
  • Pursue affirmative action and EEO goals in selection of reviewers, panelists and grantees;
  • Represent the program to the scientific community and the public;
  • Establish contacts and maintain active involvement in the program field through participation in meetings and conferences and by undertaking other relevant activities;
  • Pursue a personal scholarly research agenda, with results presented at professional meetings and published in academic journals, as workload permits.

Posted: January 13, 2020