NASA Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Opportunity for Human Research Program Chief Scientist (REVISED)

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2021

Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Opportunity for Human Research Program Chief Scientist (REVISED)

Chief Scientist (IPA)

Human Research Program

Human Health and Performance Directorate

NASA Johnson Space Center

Houston, Texas


This opportunity is open to the public and advertised on USAJOBS via announcement number JSC-21-SL-11103727 This opportunity may also be filled through an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) assignment.  Individuals eligible for an 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.



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, the 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.


The ideal candidate will have experience in the following:


·         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.


Position Requirements: 


·         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.




A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a major study in engineering, physical science, mathematics, life sciences, computer science, or another field of science is preferred.


If you are interested please submit your resume and cover letter describing your interest via email to: 

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


Your interest must be received by June 1, 2021.


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