The Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP) is seeking candidates for the Program Director position for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Program in Alexandria, VA.

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The National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program serves the nation by enabling the transformation of invention to impact, based on an approach of integrating scientific inquiry and industrial discovery in an inclusive, data-driven culture driven by rigor, relevance, and evidence. It prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the university laboratory. 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. NSF created I-Corps to train faculty, students and other researchers in innovation and entrepreneurship skills, to encourage collaboration between academia and industry, and to stimulate the translation of fundamental research to the marketplace. 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.

Program Directors at the NSF are in charge of specific research areas and program activities. 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 interaction with other Federal agencies, forming and guiding interagency collaborations, and service to Foundation-wide activities.

The I-Corps Program Director team oversees the I-Corps program to build, utilize and sustain an 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.

Travel Required

25% or less – Travel required 25% or less of the time.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • Background investigation.
  • Selective Service registration required for male applicants, unless exempt.

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. Foreign Talent Definitions

You will need to successfully complete a background security investigation before you can be appointed into this position.

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.

This position is in the bargaining unit.

Please preview "Evaluations" section and "Qualifications" for additional requirements and Quality Ranking Factors.


You must meet eligibility and qualification requirements by the closing date of the announcement.

Candidates must have a Ph.D. in a field of Engineering or 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.

This position is outside the competitive civil service.


Additional information

Relocation expenses will NOT be paid.

This announcement is open to All US Citizens who meet citizenship and eligibility requirements.

Federal Appropriations Law requires that Non-Citizens 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.

This announcement may be used to fill like positions in other organizations within the National Science Foundation.

NSF has determined that all of its positions are eligible for telework. Work suitable for telework depends on job duties; therefore, employees must receive approval from their supervisor for telework and have a telework agreement in place. Entering into a telework agreement is voluntary.

The Selected Candidate(s) may be subject to a background investigation.

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

You will be evaluated on the extent and quality of your experience, expertise, education, and research activities relevant to the duties of the position. In some cases, additional assessment processes may also be used.

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

  • The candidate should have deep experience in technology translation from the laboratory to the marketplace through a startup, including demonstrated understanding of: how to staff leadership roles and assign responsibilities; address technical and business risks; development and execution of a viable business model; and how to obtain sources of public and private capital. Familiarity with the I-Corps Program is desirable.
  • The candidate should have experience in industrial research and demonstrate an understanding of systems requirements definition, trade space exploration, technology infusion processes, and risk assessment frameworks.
  • The candidate should have an understanding of philosophies and processes to conduct institutional basic and applied research in organizations such as universities, teaching hospitals, foundations, and others institutions with significant research activities, including: the mentoring and training of students, how to launch and manage a sponsored research program; how to conduct translational activities; etc.
  • The candidate should have effective oral and written communication skills.
  • The candidate is expected to function effectively both as an individual within a specific NSF program and as a member of crosscutting and interactive teams.
  • The candidate must demonstrate a capability to work within NSF and across government agencies to promote NSF activities and to leverage program funds through interagency collaborations.
  • To preview questions please click here .

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Drug test required

    Position sensitivity and risk
    Moderate Risk (MR)

    Trust determination process

    Required Documents

    All applicants must submit a resume in any format, and may also submit a cover letter.

    In order to be considered for federal appointments, Non-Citizens must affirm that they meet the Appropriations Law eligibility criteria by signing and attaching this Citizenship Affidavit to their application. This also applies to individuals considered for Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) assignments to NSF. Non citizens who do not provide the affidavit at the time of application will not be considered. Non Citizens who are exempt from the Appropriations Law requirements due to their status as officers or employees of the U.S. government on December 16, 2009 must provide a statement with their application noting their exemption with documentation of proof of status as officers or employees of the U.S. government on that date.

    You are strongly encouraged to submit a current performance appraisal and/or letter(s) of recommendation and a supplemental statement that describes how your background relates to the Quality Ranking Factors (QRFs) listed in the Qualifications and Evaluation Requirements section of this announcement. This information will be used in the evaluation process.

    We also ask that you complete and submit the Applicant Survey . This will help NSF to ensure that our recruiting efforts are attracting a diverse candidate pool; it will be used for statistical purposes only.

    You should upload your letter of recommendation(s) or the individual(s) can email the letter of recommendation(s) to adsearchnsf.gov ; please ask him/her to put your name and the job announcement number in the subject line.

    Transcripts are not required; however, please indicate the year that each degree was obtained on your application materials.

    All uploading must be completed before 11:59 PM Eastern time on the vacancy closing date.

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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