Status Report

NASA Job Announcement: Program Scientist at NASA Headquarters

By SpaceRef Editor
May 7, 2021
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NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is hiring one or more scientists to serve as a civil servant Program Scientist at Headquarters in Washington, DC. SMD will fill multiple Program Scientist positions in the Earth Science, Heliophysics, Planetary Science, Astrophysics, or Biological & Physical Sciences Divisions, Exploration Science Strategy & Integration Office, Front Office, and/or other SMD program offices. Program Scientists work as part of a diverse and agile team whose core values include excellence, integrity, transparency, teamwork and a growth mindset toward stewarding the nation’s space-based science program.


The NASA Headquarters Program Scientist job announcement is now live on USAJOBS. Please see link below






NASA’s Astrophysics Division is responsible for the United States’ space-based astrophysics program ( With an astrophysics budget (including the James Webb Space Telescope) exceeding $1.75 billion annually, NASA leads the nation to explore the universe, determine how it began and evolved, and search for extrasolar planets.


NASA’s Program Scientists have broad responsibility for advancing NASA’s science portfolio; serving as the Headquarters science leads for one or more missions; developing and shaping multimillion-dollar scientific research grants programs selected through competitive peer review; and leading NASA’s preparation for implementing the recommendations of Decadal Surveys. Program Scientists have substantial influence over high-level strategic planning, as well as leading the long-term scientific direction of missions and programs that they oversee. 


Specifically, a Program Scientist within SMD will:


1.    Solve problems in implementing a balanced program across the breadth of NASA science within technological, scientific, budgetary, and programmatic constraints. Provide solutions that are strategic and tactical, and are innovative as well as implementable, in alignment with the priorities of NASA.

2.    Orchestrate peer reviews that evaluate the scientific merit of proposals in all areas of NASA science.

3.    Collaboratively define a long-term vision for the program and work collaboratively to implement it in a fast-paced environment, while leading diverse teams using influence rather than supervisory authority.

4.    Communicate, engage, and build consensus with multiple stakeholders, including the scientific community, external advisory committees, senior NASA leaders, programs and projects at NASA Centers, and the public.

5.    Manage multiple responsibilities using effective time management and organizational skills.


***For the Heliophysics Division, applicants with backgrounds in Magnetospheres, Ionosphere-Thermosphere, and Outer Heliosphere are preferred. Applicants with backgrounds in solar and inner heliosphere are also strongly encouraged to apply***


***For the Astrophysics Division, applicants with backgrounds in all areas of astrophysics, including cosmic origins, exoplanet exploration, and physics of the cosmos are encouraged to apply***


*** For the Planetary Science Division, applicants with backgrounds in all areas of planetary science are encouraged to apply. Applicants with experience in field/particle-related research are of particular interest.


***For the Exploration Science Strategy and Integration Office, applicants with backgrounds in all areas of lunar science, are encouraged to apply***


*** For the Biological and Physical Sciences Division, applicants with backgrounds in Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) physics and quantum science are preferred. Applicants with backgrounds in applications of quantum metrology to fundamental physics are also strongly encouraged to apply.


NASA recognizes that candidates with non-traditional career paths, or individuals who are at earlier stages of their careers may have demonstrated experience in different ways. NASA encourages applications from such individuals.


Application Process


The job announcement is open for applications at on Friday May 7 and will close on Tuesday May 11.


This is a fair and open competition that all U.S. Citizens and Status candidates can apply to. 


This will be a Direct Hire Authority (DHA) announcement through, so it will only be open for 3 workdays. The short period that the announcement is open is due to the type of hiring authority, which streamlines the hiring process and assists with rapidly filling competitive positions. It is not a reflection of the openness of the position.


A transcript demonstrating that you meet the education requirements for a Federal physical scientist will be required at the time of application. Given the short period that the announcement will be open, it is a good idea to obtain a transcript in advance.  While a transcript is the preferred proof of qualifying education, any of the following items will be accepted as proof of education:


       An unofficial transcript,

       A copy of an official transcript,

       A copy of a degree (i.e. a picture or scan), or

       A list of courses.

SpaceRef staff editor.