Director of the Astrophysics Cross-Observatory Science Support (ACROSS) initiative

Job Summary

Science Management
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Astrophysics Science Division
Number of Positions Available
5+ Years
Could the duration be extended?
Work Arrangement
In-Person Location(s)

Greenbelt, MD
United States

Job Description

The Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) seeks a creative, innovative individual with strong teamwork and leadership skills to serve as Director of the Astrophysics Cross-Observatory Science Support (ACROSS) initiative. This will be a term civil servant position for 6 years with option for conversion to permanent.

The 2020 Astrophysics Decadal recommended multimessenger Astrophysics as one of its top priorities for the next decade. NASA is currently addressing this priority with its fleet of operating missions, many of which are managed in ASD. The ACROSS initiative aims at enabling multimessenger astrophysics by defining, implementing, and evaluating capabilities in the following areas:    

  1. Software and data systems to facilitate science workflows within the context of a global multimessenger ecosystem;
  2. Help desk to provide expertise in multimessenger science operations, and to facilitate coordination among multiple observatory teams and the general observing community; and
  3. Management of a community grant program to incentivize coordinated multimessenger science from space and ground, subject to available funding. 

The ACROSS Director will lead a multidisciplinary, multi-organizational team to:

  • Conceive, initiate, and sustain agreements and partnerships dealing with the most challenging aspects of multimessenger science, spanning NASA missions, U.S. ground-based observatories, and international observatories;
  • Provide the scientific vision that forms the basis for strategic planning and development of functional requirements for ACROSS operational capabilities, and ensure capability implementations meet the goals and objectives of the ACROSS initiative;
  • Conceive, plan, and conduct pioneering work of outstanding scope, difficulty, and complexity, with an emphasis on scientific and operational achievements involving coordination of multiple observatories, several of whom are managed within ASD;
  • Provide scientific coordination of ASD’s Guest Observer Facilities, and interact with HEASARC for data archives;
  • Define, document, and promulgate best practices to streamline, standardize or automate science workflows working with a team of scientists within the ACROSS team;
  • Provide authoritative decisions, advice, and consultation on variables and unknowns affecting the planning, coordination and execution of the project, working with a team of scientists, engineers, and programmers within the ACROSS team;
  • Identify and present solutions, risks, issues, and status to GSFC leadership on a regular basis;  
  • Chair the ACROSS Users Group, formed by elected members of the community, and interface with other existing advisory bodies (Program Analysis Groups, Astrophysics Advisory Committee, etc.) as needed;
  • Foster a culture of engagement, diversity, inclusiveness, excellence and innovation, both within the ACROSS team and in the community. Lead inclusively within multiple stakeholders’ interests.

The successful candidate is expected to carry a productive research program for ~20% FTE.

The position will reside at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, a suburb of Washington, DC.  

This is a 2-step process. The first phase, through 6/30/2024, is this announcement which provides the heads-up for the upcoming job ad. The second phase will be a USAJobs posting, anticipated for Summer 2024. Note that phase 1 is the “heads-up” phase and phase 2 is the proper application phase.

US citizenship is required at the time of the Phase 2/USAJobs application.  Those who are expecting U.S. citizenship by the time of the Phase 2 opportunity are encouraged to submit materials during Phase 1, even if they do not yet have their U.S. citizenship. A Ph.D. degree is preferred. This position would be a the GS-14 or GS-15 level.

Interested applicants should contact Diana Elben ([email protected]) by June 30, 2024, to be notified when the USAJOBS opportunity opens.  Please use the subject line “ACROSS Director position”.  Inquiries about the position may be addressed to Dr. Rita Sambruna at [email protected].  Application material will be required in Phase 2 at a later date via the USAJOBS website.

To learn about the application process in Phase 2, we encourage you to peruse the following resources: Careers: How to Apply & Working With NASA - NASA and/or USAJOBS - The Federal Government's official employment site.

NASA GSFC is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and we encourage expressions of interest from members of under-represented communities.

Compensation and Benefits

Compensation Type
Compensation Range
$139,395USD to $191,900USD

Application Details

Application Instructions
Interested applicants should contact Diana Elben ([email protected]) by June 30, 2024, to be notified when the USAJOBS opportunity opens. Please use the subject line “ACROSS Director position”.
Publication Start Date
2024 May 02
Application Deadline
2024 Jun 30


Rita Sambruna