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Vacancy Announcement

Director, Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Sciences Research

National Institutes of Health

THE 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 trans-NIH responsibilities. The primary duty station is Bethesda, MD.

The position functions as a liaison between the NIH and the extramural behavioral 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 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 14 full time positions and has a FY 2014 estimated budget of more than $26 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 $30 billion for FY 2014.  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 prospectus at.

Required Qualifications

Candidates must have an established and national or internationally recognized record in the behavioral and social sciences research. Candidates must possess a Ph.D., M.D., or comparable doctorate degree in the biomedical 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 outside groups; 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.


Bethesda, Maryland


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

How To Apply

:  Applicants must submit a current CV and bibliography electronically to Ms. Adia McCray at (301-402-9852).   In addition, applicants are strongly encouraged to prepare a supplemental narrative statement that addresses the qualifications requirements, and to provide the names, titles, and telephone numbers of 4-5 references.

Applicants are encouraged to browse the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research home page at:  

For further information about the position, please contact Ms. Adia McCray or email at  All information provided by applicants will remain confidential and will be reviewed only by authorized official of NIH.



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This page last reviewed on October 1, 2014

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