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National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council
Human Resources

Senior Program Officer, Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences and Board on Science Education

Location: Corporate Headquarters - DC
Department: Div of Behavioral & Social Sciences & Education
Job Req #: 140127-4
Basic Requirements: Master's degree in a related field or equivalent knowledge with six years of related professional experience, two of which were in a supervisory capacity. Ph.D. in psychology (such as cognitive science, neuroscience, developmental psychology, educational psychology, or the learning sciences) or related field is highly desired. Skill in organizing and leading experts from a variety of fields to discuss and work on policy issues from an evidence-based stance. Ability to solve intellectual problems of substantial variety and complexity using originality and ingenuity. Demonstrated proficiency in communicating scientific/technical/policy information. Strong program/project management skills. Previous knowledge or experience with research on learning and education and/or public consumption of those topics is highly desired. Ability to work successfully in a team environment and to form and maintain effective teams. Excellent written and communication skills with a proven ability to develop relationships with diverse external stakeholder communities.


The National Research Council seeks a Senior Program Officer (SPO) to direct a study on the Science and Practice of Learning which will revise and extend the previous NRC report, How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School (National Research Council, 2000).

The work will be overseen by the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences in collaboration with the Board on Science Education. The Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences monitors advances and developments in the behavioral, cognitive, and sensory sciences and serves as an intellectual resource for the National Research Council, as well as public policy makers, as to how these advances and developments are creating opportunities or potential problems for public policy. The Board on Science Education focuses on science learning and education for all, from early childhood to adulthood, in both schools and informal learning environments, such as science museums, aquariums, nature centers, and social networks.

The study will span 30 months and will result in a consensus report with recommendations and conclusions for educators, policy makers, students and other stakeholders. The SPO will be responsible for managing and providing intellectual leadership to the study, including assembling a committee of experts to guide the study, developing the study strategy, working closely with the committee to develop the content of the consensus report, monitoring the budget, supervising staff, and ensuring the study meets objectives. Following the release of the report, the SPO will implement and oversee a dissemination plan to develop products and activities (e.g., a handbook for practitioners) to increase the overall value and impact of the report.

The candidate will minimally hold a master's degree with six years of related professional experience, two of which were in a supervisory capacity, and will posses skill in organizing and leading experts from a variety of fields to discuss and work on policy issues from an evidence-based stance.. A Ph.D. in psychology (or a sub-discipline or related field such as cognitive science, neuroscience, developmental psychology, educational psychology, or the learning sciences) is desired. 


1. Independently manages a newly-forming consensus committee related to behavioral science and education. Develops project strategy and budget, staffing requirements and ensures stated objectives are met. Conducts project evaluations. Activities may include leading studies, research programs, grant programs, fellowship programs, etc.

2. Assembles study committee and guides the committee to meet the needs of a contract. Leads convening activities such as forums or workshops. Communicates and coordinates with the chair and other members of the group. Identifies and gathers research materials. Solicits and contacts potential panel members. Facilitates the flow of information among panel members, consultants, staff, and other applicable parties.

3. Conducts workshops and meetings. Develops agendas, invites presenters and participants, oversees meeting logistics and multimedia presentations, and prepares written summaries.

4. Prepares background papers and technical summaries. Develops written products (e.g., reports, proceedings, white papers). Drafts and edits materials for publication. Synthesizes and edits research findings and technical data and determines the relevance of data for purposes of study.

5. Supports committee members, forum members, workshop participants, etc. in all aspects of work. Provides assistance in preparing draft report, including writing sections of report based on committee input and review and editing the report for format, consistency, and grammar. Manages the response to review, responds to comments and concerns of editors, and prepares the final manuscript for publication.

6. Responsible for extensive communications activities related to assigned programs or projects. Publicizes programs and other priorities. Develops complex and content rich materials and websites to provide interest groups with information generated from and for activities.

7. Manages dissemination of report and other types of publications or outreach activities. Prepares dissemination plan and funding proposal. Manages report production activities. Identifies and engages external organizations in dissemination. Prepares dissemination materials. Conducts dissemination meetings.

8. Independently supervises program or project staff. Ensures staff are appropriately trained and plans for staff development. Mentors staff. Initiates personnel actions. Conducts performance reviews. Interprets and ensures consistent application of organizational policies.

9. Responsible for financial management of assigned study, including overseeing budget and schedule and authorizing expenditures. As required, collaborates with financial staff to ensure compliance.

10. Collaborates with experts and sponsors from federal, state, and local government agencies, foundations, schools, and other organizations. Represents the unit and committee within and outside the National Academies.

11. Maintains ongoing relationships with major sponsors and develops new program areas. Conducts background research on topics for new studies, programs, or activities. Writes prospectuses and proposals for new and continuing funding. Identifies potential sponsors. Raises funds for current and future projects. Negotiates funding with sponsors. Where applicable, manages funder/member/alumni relations.

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