Status Report

NASA Announcement of Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Opportunity Human Research Program Chief Scientist

By SpaceRef Editor
May 17, 2021
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Chief Scientist (IPA)

Human Research Program

Human Health and Performance Directorate

NASA Johnson Space Center

Houston, Texas



Full-time for 2 years, potentially renewable


Open & closing dates:

2021-05-17 to 2021-06-01


Start Date:

Summer/Fall 2021



Serves as the Human Research Program (HRP) Chief Scientist providing science leadership and expertise at the highest level with HRP, including providing scientific guidance and oversight for a broad biomedical research and technology development program directed toward the understanding of the effects of exploration space flight beyond low-Earth orbit on human health and performance.



The Chief Scientist Human Research Program will:


  • Serve as a key member of the HRP senior management team, and specializes in guiding science policies and recommending innovative research and technology investment strategies to achieve program objectives.
  • Responsible for maintaining the scientific integrity of the Program, ensuring appropriate balance among disciplines, scientific community, review panels, and oversight groups, and providing scientific guidance/input to the Program Director concerning budgetary requirements and funding priorities.
  • Serve as the primary Program advocate for science, representing program research within and external to NASA, interfacing with Agency, Program and Center Chief Scientists, external domestic and international scientists and partners to develop and ensure effective coordination and execution of joint research activities.
  • Guide development of the highly visible Program research portfolio, ensuring overall balance across elements, adequacy of planned research, appropriate utilization of ground and space-based platforms, spaceflight responses and risks, and appropriate research prioritization.
  • Oversee external reviews of scientific content and merit of the Program from peer review of individual proposals through National Academy reviews of overall Programmatic content.
  • Establish data and specimen policies, advocating for adequate funding for data sharing, processing and analysis, as appropriate, to encourage and facilitate broad scientific access to NASA data and specimens, assuring timely release of data, publicity for and publication of results.
  • Lead HRP Chief Scientists Office personnel, and directs activities, approaches, and processes carried out by science portfolio scientists and their subordinates.


Conditions of Employment:


  • The individual selected will be required to file an Executive Branch Personnel Financial Disclosure Report (OGE-278) in accordance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.
  • Successful completion of a background investigation commensurate with the risk and sensitivity level of the position.
  • Successful completion of pre-employment and random drug screening may be required.
  • Must meet qualification requirements by the closing date of this announcement.



Candidates must be a recognized subject matter expert with at least 1 year of directly related specialized experienceequivalent to the GS-15 level in:


  • Significant experience overseeing programs involved with: evaluating human physiological responses to spaceflight and the operational limitations imposed by them; researching the environmental risks of spaceflight to human health and performance; and addressing critical questions required to evaluate and mitigate these risks.
  • Demonstrated experience in the oversight of large research departments and/or diverse research portfolios, including experience as a competitive principal investigator in space biomedical research, participation in recognized peer review processes, leadership of professional research teams, and successful negotiation of research partnerships represented by national and international members.


Your resume must include a clear and detailed narrative description, in your own words, of how you meet the requiredspecialized experience. Experience statements copied from a position description, vacancy announcement, or other reference material constitutes plagiarism and may result in disqualification and losing consideration for the job.


Your resume must show relevant work experience (start/end dates stated in month/year, description of duties), applicable education at a minimum, and your contact information. For current or previous Federal employees, it should also include the Pay Plan, Series and Grade for each work experience entry. Limit your resume to 10 pages. If more than 10 pages are submitted, only the first 10 pages will be reviewed to determine your eligibility/qualifications.


Evaluation Criteria:

To meet the minimum qualification requirements for this position, you MUST address each Evaluation Criteria separately not to exceed a total of ten (10) pages. If you fail to do so, your application will be rated ineligible. Where applicable, please cite experience directly related to the specialized experience requirements outlined above.  Please include your full name on all documents 



Evaluation Criteria


1.   Education Level and Training

2.   Technical Excellence and Contributions

a. Experience/Accomplishment

b. Technical and Strategic Problem Solving

c. Information Transfer

  1. Awards and Recognition
  2. Outside Professional Activities
  3. Corporate Cooperation and Technical Leadership Skills



This position has a positive education requirement. To be eligible, you must clearly state in your resume the following: degree, major and/or minor, and college/university.


A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major study in engineering, physical science, mathematics, life sciences, computer science, or other field of science.


SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR FOREIGN EDUCATION: If you are using education completed in foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs. These education credentials must be deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at a U.S. accredited college or university. For further information, click here.


How You Will Be Evaluated:

All qualification requirements must be met by the closing date of this announcement.  You will be evaluated based on how well you meet the qualifications above.  To determine your qualifications and referral status, we may review your resume and supporting documentation and compare it against your responses to the competencies and evaluation criteria listed above. Overstating your qualifications and/or experience in your resume and supporting documents may result in your removal from consideration.


You will be assessed on the following competencies:

Biomedical Research

Program/Project Management

Partnership & Business Development

Policy Management


Technical Competence


To apply:

Submit your resume (not to exceed 10 pages) including a summary of your specialized experience, evaluation criteria (not to exceed 10 pages), cover letter and other supporting documents describing your interest and qualifications via email to:


Please use the subject line “HRP Chief Scientist IPA.”


Your application must be received by June 1, 2021.


Note: Individuals eligible for an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) assignment with a federal agency include employees of state and local governments; private and public colleges and universities; Indian Tribal governments; federally funded research and development centers; and qualified non-profit organizations involved in public management organizations where such assignments would be of mutual benefit to the organizations involved. With special NASA flexibilities, the initial IPA appointment may be made for up to two years, with possible extensions for up to two additional two-year periods. An employee of a non-Federal organization must be employed by that organization for at least 90 days in a permanent position before entering into an IPA agreement. While on detail, the individual remains an employee of the home institution, as such remains covered under their permanent employer’s leave and benefit system. Federal Agencies do not offer permanent positions as a part of IPA assignments. NASA will negotiate funding of the detailee’s salary and benefits with the detailee’s home institution.


SpaceRef staff editor.