NASA Announcement of Opportunity - Associate Element Scientist, Exploration Medical Capability (ExMC), Human Research Program (HRP)

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Wednesday, December 15, 2021


Associate Element Scientist, Exploration Medical Capability (ExMC), Human Research Program (HRP)


Area of Consideration:

Open to all qualified US Citizens, permanent residents, or non-residents with a US “J” Visa  



NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX 
Human Health & Performance Directorate 
Space Medicine Operations Division



Two years with potential for extension. 


Application Period:

December 15, 2021 to January 31, 2022



The Human Research Program seeks a candidate to fill the position of Associate Element Scientist for the Exploration Medical Capability (ExMC) Element of the Human Research Program (HRP). This team helps to determine and develop the human health and performance capabilities needed for future human exploration missions.


The Associate Element Scientist will work with the ExMC Element Manager, Element Scientist, Deputy Element Manager, and the Deputy Element Scientist to provide technical leadership to ExMC, advocating for the science, representing this science within NASA, ensuring the development of health risk mitigation strategies in support of space exploration, and handling of domestic and international external interfaces ensuring the effective coordination and execution of research activities. The incumbent will provide support to the HRP by providing medical expertise to inform ExMC priorities, including medical risk assessment and reduction. 


This position is anticipated to be filled at 50-80% time (to be negotiated), allowing remaining time for work (clinical or other) at the home institution. The incumbent will not provide direct patient care at NASA as this is a non-operational role. While the incumbent will be affiliated through Johnson Space Center, this position can be performed remotely with periodic travel required. 


Major Duties/Responsibilities:

Serves as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for all ExMC risks (Medical, Pharmacy, Renal Stones, Dust) and provides integration of risk reduction work across the entire ExMC portfolio


·         Recommends mitigation strategies for assigned risks and supports the Element Science team in development and execution of the scientific strategy for the assigned risks

·         Provides scientific recommendations on technical content and scientific direction of research plans associated with Element risks for research tasks and science integration

·         Synthesizes the outcomes of research studies to develop deliverables for review as requested by the Element Leadership Team (e.g. NASA Technical Reports, HRP Evidence Reports, conference presentations, Human System Risk Board Risk Reviews, journal manuscripts, etc.)

·         Contributes ExMC content to HRP documents and deliverables

·         Supports collaborations with other Elements and external organizations as directed by the Element Leadership Team 

·         Presents scientific material at both internal and external meetings and conferences

·         Works in close coordination with the ExMC Leadership Team to contribute to the overall Element success, priorities, and objectives

·         Responsible for participating in peer review of technical papers and manuscripts developed within the ExMC element

·         Responsible for providing mentorship to students and medical residents rotating with the element




·         Degree in medicine (Medical Doctor or Doctor of Osteopathy) licensed to practice in the United States

·         Knowledge, expertise, and/or experience with spaceflight operations, aerospace medicine, medical care in austere environments, wilderness medicine, military/operational medicine, or diving/hyperbaric medicine


·         Clinical Board certification or Board eligibility

·         Relevant academic and/or research experience related to mitigating and managing the risks associated with human health and performance in space

Candidate Characteristics:

·         Expert skills at communicating effectively with professional and non-professional personnel at all technical and managerial levels in both oral and written form

·         Independently plan, design, execute, and evaluate projects, programs, studies, or other work

·         Uses judgment and ingenuity to interpret HRP and ExMC needs and develop high-quality work on behalf of the Element

·         Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to facilitate group decision-making on complex scientific and technical subjects

·         Strong ability to create technical partnerships within and outside of HRP

·         Uses extensive probing and analysis to determine the nature and scope of problems

Travel expectations: 

·         Approximately once a quarter (pending alleviation of COVID-19 travel restrictions)

·         Travel for badging is permitted (pending alleviation of COVID-19 travel restrictions)


To apply:

Please submit a Curriculum Vita, references, and cover letter explaining your qualifications in a single PDF file to


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.


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