NIH seeks Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research/Director, OBSSR

POSITION: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking exceptional candidates for the challenging position of Director, Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR). The Director also functions as the NIH Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. The Director provides advice and staff support to the NIH Director and the Director, DPCPSI, serves as the NIH focal point for establishing agency-wide policies and goals in behavioral and social sciences research, and coordinates the activities undertaken in the performance of this research. This is a dual reporting position. As the Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, the position reports to the Director, NIH, and as the Director, OBSSR, the position reports to the Director, DPCPSI, and has NIH-wide responsibilities summarized below.

The ADBSSR/Director, OBSSR is responsible for coordinating the development of NIH policies, goals, and objectives and functioning as a liaison between the NIH and the extramural behavioral, social sciences, and biomedical research communities; and with other Federal agencies, academic and scientific societies, national voluntary health agencies, the media, and the general public on matters pertaining to behavioral and social sciences research. The ADBSSR/Director, OBSSR serves as an NIH spokesperson for issues in behavioral and social sciences research and advises and consults with NIH and other scientists within and outside the Federal Government with regard to research on the importance of behavioral, social and lifestyle factors in the etiology, treatment, and prevention of disease. The ADBSSR/Director, OBSSR prepares required and special reports, including periodic reports to the HHS Secretary, the President, the Congress, the research community, and the general public on the status of the NIH efforts to develop, implement, refine, and maintain programs in critical areas of research linking human behavior and social processes with the development and preservation of health, therapeutic intervention, and the prevention of disease. Specifically, the Director is responsible for: (1) advising the NIH Director, the Director, DPCPSI, and other key officials on matters relating to research on the role of behavioral and social factors in the promotion of health and prevention of disease; (2) identifying and fostering research projects in the behavioral and social sciences conducted or supported by the NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs); and (3) developing projects in cooperation with the ICs. The Director, OBSSR, manages a staff, demonstrating commitment to work force diversity enhancement. The OBSSR employs approximately 20 full time positions and has a FY 2021 estimated budget of more than $29 million.

CHALLENGE: As the world’s largest medical research facility, NIH consists of 27 ICs including the Clinical Center (an onsite research hospital), the Fogarty International Center, and the National Library of Medicine. NIH's national program of health research and research training is funded at over $41 billion for FY 2021. NIH has over 18,000 employees. The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research opened July 1, 1995, with a mandate from Congress to serve as the focal point for the advancement of behavioral and social sciences research across all of the NIH ICs. The vision of OBSSR is to bring together the biomedical, behavioral, social, and public health research communities to work more collaboratively to solve the most pressing population health challenges faced by our society. Four core elements of OBSSR’s vision are: 1) supporting and facilitating the next generation of basic behavioral and social science research; 2) facilitating interdisciplinary, collaborative research; 3) stimulating systems thinking and modeling approaches to research that integrates multiple levels of analysis – from cells to society; and 4) identifying key problems in health where scientists, practitioners, and decision makers can work together to accelerate translation, implementation, dissemination, and adoption of behavioral and social science research findings. More information can be found in OBSSR’s strategic plan at.

Information about the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research is located at its website:

LOCATION: Bethesda, Maryland

VACCINE MANDATE: In accordance with Executive Order 14043, Federal employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of the employee’s duty location or work arrangement (e.g., telework, remote work, etc.), subject to exceptions that may be required by law. If selected, you will be required to submit proof of vaccination by November 22, 2021, or before your entrance on duty if you are selected after the compliance date. Your HR Consultant will provide a list of documents acceptable as proof of vaccination and instructions for how to submit a request for a legally required exception, if needed, to comply with vaccination requirement.

EXPANDED/MAXIMUM TELWORK POSTURE: Due to COVID-19, the agency is currently in a maximum telework posture. If selected, you may be expected to telework upon your appointment. As employees are permitted to return to the office, you may be required to report to the duty station listed on this announcement within 30 calendar days of receiving notice to do so, even if your home/temporary telework site is located outside the local commuting area. Your position may be eligible for workplace flexibilities which may include remote work or telework options, and/or flexible work scheduling. These flexibilities may be requested in accordance with the HHS Workplace Flexibilities policy.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS: Applicants must possess a Ph.D., M.D., or comparable doctorate degree in the behavioral, social, or behavioral sciences plus senior-level scientific experience and knowledge of research programs in one or more scientific areas related to behavioral and social sciences research. They should be known and respected within their profession as individuals of scientific prominence, with a distinguished record of research accomplishments and expertise in policy development regarding behavioral and social sciences research. Candidates should have demonstrated leadership and broad vision in the behavioral and social sciences research arena involving dealings with diverse stakeholders and communities; serving as spokesperson; planning, program assessment, and analysis of program objectives; resolution of operational problems and issues; and the ability to manage financial and human resources including building, motivating, and maintaining a culturally diverse staff.

SALARY/BENEFITS: The Director, OBSSR, will be appointed at a salary commensurate with their qualifications. Full Federal benefits will be provided including leave, health and life insurance, long-term care insurance, retirement, and savings plan (401k equivalent).

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYMENT: Selection for this position will be based solely on merit, with no discrimination for non-merit reasons such as race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, disability, age, or membership or non-membership in an employee organization. The NIH encourages the application and nomination of qualified women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities.

STANDARDS OF CONDUCT/FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: The National Institutes of Health inspires public confidence in our science by maintaining high ethical principles. NIH employees are subject to Federal government-wide regulations and statutes as well as agency-specific regulations described at the NIH Ethics website. We encourage you to review this information. The position requires the incumbent to complete a public financial disclosure report prior to the effective date of the appointment.

FOREIGN EDUCATION: Applicants who have completed part or all of their education outside of the U.S. must have their foreign education evaluated by an accredited organization to ensure that the foreign education is equivalent to education received in accredited educational institutions in the United States. We will only accept the completed foreign education evaluation. For more information on foreign education verification, visit the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) website. Verification must be received prior to the effective date of the appointment.

REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION: NIH provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you require reasonable accommodation during any part of the application and hiring process, please notify us. The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

HOW TO APPLY: Applicants must submit a current Curriculum Vitae (CV) and bibliography (if not included in your CV) and a photocopy of your doctoral degree. In addition, applications are asked to prepare two statements: a vision statement and a statement that addresses the specific qualification requirements (please limit both statements to two pages each) and to provide the name, title, email, and telephone number of three references. Complete applications packages must be submitted to Applications will be reviewed starting May 14, 2022, and will be accepted until the position is filled.

Please contact Ms. Betina Orezzoli at for questions about the application process, or Search Committee Co-Chairs, Dr. Janine Clayton at or Dr. Joshua Gordon at, for questions about the position.