Job Opportunities

All current opportunities to work in NASA Science as a federal employee are located on When there are other opportunities available like temporary assignments, we list them here. Visit often to learn more.

Director, Mars Sample Return Program

The incumbent serves as the Director of the Mars Sample Return (MSR) Program within the Science Mission Directorate (SMD), reporting to the SMD Associate Administrator (AA). The incumbent is responsible for implementation of all MSR program activities, beginning with mission formulation and continuing through design, development, launch, and mission operations. The incumbent also assesses and evaluates the total flight program design, development, and operational activities.

Heliophysics Division Program Scientist

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) has an immediate need for two scientists with expertise within the Heliophysics Division science portfolio to serve on assignment as a Program Scientists under the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA).

Under authority granted to NASA in the NASA Flexibility Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-201, 118 Stat. 461 (5 U.S.C. 9801 et seq.)), the initial IPA appointment will be for up to two years, with the possibility of reappointment up to a total of six years. The Intergovernmental Personnel Act provides for the temporary assignment of personnel between the Federal Government and state and local governments, colleges and universities, Indian tribal governments, federally funded research and development centers, and other eligible organizations; all applicants must be from an IPA-eligible organization.

An individual in this position:

  • Plans, directs, and leads the integration of cross-functional scientific programs in various technical disciplines.
  • Implements balanced programs across the breadth of a science portfolio within technological, scientific, budgetary, and programmatic constraints.
  • Oversees and manages flight projects across the breadth of a science portfolio to enable scientific mission success within budgetary and programmatic constraints.
  • Oversees research and analysis programs, including
    • developing proposal solicitations;
    • implementing the review of submitted proposals;
    • developing recommendations to management for selections that integrate proposal review and programmatic considerations; and
    • initiating and monitoring research contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements.
  • Provides innovative and implementable solutions that are strategic and tactical, and in alignment with the priorities of NASA and the nation.
  • Communicates, engages, and builds consensus with multiple stakeholders, including the scientific community, external advisory committees, senior NASA leaders, interagency and international partners, and programs and projects at NASA Centers.
  • Manages multiple and competing responsibilities using effective time management and organizational skills.
  • Actively promotes diversity and inclusiveness, within NASA appointed teams and committees, and within the science community.

Applicant Eligibility

Not every employee of a non-Federal entity is eligible to participate in the IPA program. The following lists indicate which employees of eligible non-Federal entities are eligible and which are not eligible to participate in the IPA program:


  • Employees of non-Federal entities provided that they occupy a career position and have been with the entity for at least 90 days.
  • If an employee changes from one non-Federal entity to another, he or she does not have to begin a new 90-day period provided that both organizations are eligible to participate in the IPA program.
  • Since non-Federal entities do not always use the precise terms that are used in the Federal Government, it is important to examine the actual situation. For example, a university professor may not be called permanent, but may have worked at an institution for many years and is expected to continue working there. In such a case, the individual would be eligible to participate.

Not Eligible:

  • Students employed at institutions of higher education in research, graduate, or teaching assistant positions.
  • Elected officials of state and local governments.

Conflicts of interest

Duties and responsibilities to be performed for NASA must take into account possible conflicts of interest that may arise as a result of the assignee’s continued employment at his or her home institution. Before selection of an assignee, SMD will consider the particular matters on which the assignee would work, the interest of the assignee's home institution in those matters, and how the assignee's participation may affect the home institution's interest. SMD will also consider whether the applicant is involved in any outside activities that may create additional conflicts. These conflicts of interest arise as part of the Program Scientist’s role in the proposal review process, flight project lifecycle reviews, and policy implementations that may affect future procurements.

Additionally, assignees will not communicate on NASA's behalf with their home institution, continue to work on matters for their home institution, or represent their home institution or other third party to NASA or any other federal agency. Part-time IPAs may present unique conflict and representational concerns given their continued work with their home institution.

Applicants should forward their resume or Curriculum Vitae to Amy Marshall ( by March 1, 2020 at 11:59pm US Eastern Standard Time. Questions about this position are directed to Jared Leisner (