Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Innovation Fellow
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Reference Code
Application Deadline
2/14/2024 11:59:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

The Office of the Assistant Director of the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF) seeks an Innovation Fellow (SBE Innovation Fellow) to provide scientific, research, and program management expertise to cross-cutting SBE directorate opportunities, such as the Centers for Research and Innovation in Science, the Environment, and Society (CRISES) program. These emerging opportunities focus on the contributions that an understanding and integrated application of the SBE sciences can make to intractable problems that confront society. The SBE Fellow will have the opportunity to take a collaborative role in the further development of such opportunities and initiatives, as well as engage with programs in the SBE Office of Multidisciplinary Activities on matters of research program oversight. These programs focus on support for student and early-career scientists, minority- serving institutions, and the study of ethical and responsible research.

The SBE Innovation Fellow will also participate in the office’s efforts in strategic engagement and outreach in the SBE sciences, strengthening connections with collaborators ranging from consumers of SBE science (policymakers, businesses), to researchers in the field (individual scientists, professional organizations), to potential funding partners.

The SBE Innovation Fellow may also participate as a scientific and statistical fellow to collaborate with the staff analysts and program specialists in the Office of the Assistant Director. Projects will contribute to the knowledge of descriptive statistics and analytic inference and existing SBE staff knowledge of the SBE award portfolio and portfolio analyses for the purpose of better understanding past and current SBE investments and planning future ones.

Lastly, the SBE Innovation Fellow will strengthen directorate efforts at the intersection of SBE sciences and technology and innovation, in part advanced by NSF’s new Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships (TIP) directorate. The fellow will learn to advance understanding of what is meant by the science of technology and innovation as it pertains to the SBE sciences.


With the mentorship of the SBE Senior Advisor for Innovation, Strategic Engagements, and Partnerships, assisted by other colleagues in SBE, the SBE Innovation Fellow will:
  • Learn to contribute to existing and emerging SBE Office of the Assistant Director/Office of Multidisciplinary Activities grant programs and other scientific initiatives.
  • Exchange knowledge bidirectionally with SBE program staff about how to apply disciplinary and general statistical and programming techniques to evaluate program effectiveness and identify new opportunities for funding.
  • Strengthen and aid with the execution the SBE directorate strategy for outreach and engagement.
  • Engage SBE senior staff and identify and carry out ideas for increasing innovation in the SBE sciences, in possible concert with NSF’s TIP directorate.
  • Attend virtual and in-person meetings in science and science policy internally at NSF and elsewhere in the Washington, DC region with links to the SBE portfolio.
  • Engage in conducting background research and developing reports on emerging areas of scientific interest to SBE related to current or future funding opportunities. 
  • Engage in analyzing program data to help evaluate and improve existing and emerging programs.
  • Participate in communicating funding opportunities and information about SBE to current and potential partners, including organizing outreach efforts and events.
  • Collaborate with SBE communications to increase awareness of the value of the research supported by SBE.
  • Engage with SBE staff to explore strategic partnerships among SBE programs and the SBE sciences.

In-person participation at the NSF building in Alexandria Virginia is preferred. However, remote participation may be an option.

SBE is the country’s foremost funder of basic and fundamental behavioral and social sciences research occurring at U.S. colleges and universities. Headquartered in Alexandria, VA, in the Washington, DC metro area, it is one of eight directorates at NSF, a nearly $10 billion federal agency tasked to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense. In the SBE Directorate, program officers fund nearly $300 million in grants annually in fields ranging from cognitive neuroscience to science and technology studies. SBE also has an impact on science policy issues occurring outside of the agency. At the encouragement of NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan, the White House, and others, NSF SBE joins the other directorates at NSF to examine how it might inspire creativity and innovation to better meet the foundation’s mission.

The Fellow will be positioned in the Office of the Assistant Director of SBE—the leader of SBE sciences at NSF—which as a unit is charged with supporting the assistant director and deputy assistant director and overseeing SBE’s efforts to advance multidisciplinary SBE science through the SBE Office of Multidisciplinary Activities.

If you have any questions regarding the application process or eligibility, please contact


Preferred qualifications include:

  • Knowledge of statistical analysis programs or languages such as R or Python as well data visualization software such as Tableau.
  • Ability to collaborate effectively with colleagues and team members to achieve common goals and objectives.
  • Demonstrated capacity to participate in a positive and supportive work environment. 
  • Capability to participate autonomously and take initiative in completing tasks and projects.
  • Exhibit a high level of professionalism in all interactions, including communication, appearance, and conduct.
  • Strong attention to detail.
  • Ability to critically analyze and evaluate complex information, data, and situations to make informed decisions and recommendations.
  • Proficiency in written communication, including the capacity to convey ideas, findings, and recommendations clearly and effectively through various written formats.
  • Strong research capabilities, including the ability to gather, synthesize, and interpret information from diverse sources to support evidence-based decision-making.
  • Knowledge of social, behavioral, and/or economic sciences.
  • Awareness of the value of research supported by SBE.
Eligibility Requirements
  • Degree: Doctoral Degree received within the last 60 months or anticipated to be received by 6/30/2024 11:59:00 PM.
  • Academic Level(s): Postdoctoral.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Business (4 )
    • Communications and Graphics Design (2 )
    • Computer, Information, and Data Sciences (3 )
    • Mathematics and Statistics (4 )
    • Other Non-Science & Engineering (2 )
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (30 )
  • Age: Must be 18 years of age

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