Director, Office of Nutrition Research

Job Summary

The Position: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking exceptional candidates for the critically important position of Director, Office of Nutrition Research (ONR). This is an exciting opportunity to provide leadership for and coordinate scientific research within the NIH relating to nutrition; serve as the principal advisor to the Secretary and to the Assistant Secretary for Health; and provide advice to the NIH Director and Director, Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI). 

The ONR is a new office located within DPCPSI in the NIH Office of the Director (OD). As the NIH Acting Director stated in his testimony to Congress for the FY 2023 President’s budget, “The FY 2023 President’s Budget requests $97.2 million for the NIH Office of the Director to support ONR.” The ONR will play a central role in planning initiatives that address the most pressing scientific opportunities in nutrition research. In addition, the ONR (1) advises the NIH Director, DPCPSI Director, and other key officials on matters relating to research on nutrition; (2) coordinates implementation of the Strategic Plan for NIH Nutrition Research; (3) coordinates research projects in nutrition science conducted or supported by the NIH Institutes and Centers (IC) and/or the OD; (4) identifies research projects that deserve expanded effort and support by the ICs or the OD; (5) develops nutrition research projects in cooperation with the ICs and OD; (6) represents the NIH on intra- and or inter-agency/departmental committees on nutrition research and related policy issues; and (7) builds relationships with advocacy organizations and private sector organizations invested in nutrition research and serves as a national leader and respected and evidence-based communicator of nutrition science to the Congress, the Administration, and the public.  

In this role, you will lead the NIH effort to assess research priorities and gaps, encourage and facilitate scientific studies, conduct, and implement nutrition science while acknowledging the cultural diversity of dietary patterns in the U.S. population. The ONR Director will also collaborate with other Federal agencies and the private sector to develop and initiate a national research agenda and programs focused on nutrition. Successful candidates will have outstanding communication, strong program management, executive leadership, and relationship building skills which are essential to the formulation of initiatives, resources, and policies that promote research on nutrition. Candidates will be highly respected experts in the national nutrition research community and recognized as an authority in nutrition science. Clinical, translational, and implementation science research are critical for this position. Candidates must have an M.D, Ph.D. or equivalent. Candidates with a range of experience are welcome, including from the private and public sectors.

This Title 42 position offers a unique and exciting opportunity for a scientific leader to execute and manage the daily operations in support of the ONR strategic vision and mission. The incumbent leads efforts to plan, coordinate, integrate and evaluate nutrition research and other nutrition research-related activities conducted and supported by the NIH; develops a strategic plan for the conduct/support of nutrition research and related activities; and provides consultation, leadership, guidance, and direction with respect to the scope and direction of nutrition research to Institute and Center Directors, policy makers, the nutrition science stakeholder community, and others interested in and affected by nutrition research activities.

The Director, ONR provides leadership, direction, and coordination for the implementation of the 2020-2030 Strategic Plan for NIH Nutrition Research. This plan emphasizes cross-cutting, innovative opportunities to advance nutrition research across a wide range of areas, from basic science to experimental design to research training. Estimated NIH nutrition research funding in FY 2019 totaled approximately $1.9 billion and included 4,600 projects. The Director, ONR leads NIH-wide nutrition research efforts, including facilitating collaborations between and among the ICs. The Director, ONR chairs the NIH Nutrition Research Coordinating Committee which has broad representation from the NIH ICs and several OD offices and includes liaisons from other federal offices and agencies. The ONR Director serves as the co-Executive Secretary of the Interagency Committee on Human Nutrition Research (ICHNR) which is charged with improving the planning, coordination, and communication among federal agencies engaged in nutrition research. The ICHNR is co-chaired by the USDA Chief Scientist/Undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics and the HHS Assistant Secretary for Health.

Information about ONR is located at its website: Information about the National Institutes of Health in located at its website.  

About the NIH:  As the world's largest medical research facility, NIH consists of 27 Institutes/Centers, including the Clinical Center (an on-site research hospital), the Fogarty International Center, and the National Library of Medicine. NIH's national program of health research and research training is currently funded at more than $40 billion annually. NIH has over 18,000 employees.  

Required Qualifications

NIH seeks candidates with strong communication skills, who have a commitment to scientific excellence and the energy, enthusiasm, and innovative thinking necessary to lead a dynamic and diverse organization. Applicants must possess an M.D. and/or Ph.D., or comparable doctorate degree in a field of health science plus senior-level scientific experience in one or more aspects of nutrition science and research, medicine, chemistry, or biochemistry, and outstanding scientific knowledge of nutrition research programs. Clinical and/or translational research experience is desirable, but not required. The candidate should be known and respected within their profession, both nationally and internationally, as individuals of outstanding scientific prominence, with a distinguished record of research accomplishments and leadership credentials. Applicants must also have demonstrated experience in setting, planning, implementing, and analyzing program objectives and priorities. They should have the demonstrated leadership and broad visionary capabilities in the research arena with demonstrated ability to engage others to create and execute an organization’s vision; to navigate successfully within and collaborate across the public sector to achieve research objectives; and to optimize organizational performance by developing strategic priorities, setting and communicating clearly defined expectations, promoting accountability for results, and resolving operational problems and issues. Candidates should have demonstrated management acumen, including identification and management of financial and human resource needs; proven ability to make complex and strategic decisions to optimize resource usage, mitigate risks, and achieve desired results; and the ability to build, mentor, motivate, and maintain a culturally diverse biomedical research workforce.


The Director, Office of Nutrition Research, will be appointed at a salary commensurate with their qualifications and experience. Full Federal benefits, including leave, health and life insurance, retirement, and savings plan (401K equivalent) will be provided. A recruitment and/or relocation incentive may be available; and relocation expenses may be paid.

Equal Employment Opportunity

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 applicants to review this information. The position is subject to a background investigation and 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. 


HHS has a critical preparedness and response mission: HHS protects the American people from health threats, researches emerging diseases, and mobilizes public health programs with domestic and international partners.  In support of this mission, HHS offers its employees the opportunity to volunteer to become Federal Civilian Detailees and contribute their unique skills through voluntary temporary assignments to humanitarian emergencies or Departmental priorities countering new and emerging health, safety, and security threats.

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.