Director, Division of Extramural Science Programs

Job Summary

Are you an experienced scientific researcher and administrator in search of an exciting career opportunity?

The National Eye Institute (NEI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking exceptional candidates for the position of Director, Division of Extramural Science Programs (DESP) to provide creative vision and strong broad-based leadership to guide this division. DESP serves the larger NEI extramural vision research community and the institute through the management of research project grants, cooperative agreements, training grants, and small business awards.

The mission of NEI is to eliminate vision loss and improve quality of life through vision research. The NEI strives to achieve this mission in multiple ways. NEI (1) drives innovative research to understand the eye and visual system, prevent and treat vision-related diseases, and expand opportunities for people who require vision rehabilitation; (2) fosters collaboration to develop new ideas and share knowledge across other fields; (3) recruits, inspires, and trains talented and diverse individuals to strengthen the vision workforce; and (4) disseminates vision health information.

In Fiscal Year 2022, the NEI budget was $863 million, of which 83% consisted of extramural research projects, which are programmatically managed by DESP. This NEI extramural research portfolio includes approximately 1,600 active grants and cooperative agreements. The incumbent will be responsible for:

•    Directing and managing multiple extramural scientific program initiatives and functions, managing the domestic and international extramural funding activities of the NEI, providing scientific direction for extramural research projects supported by NEI, and developing initiatives to support the NEI strategic plan.
•    Managing a staff of approximately 20 Program Officers and analysts who plan and direct portfolios of research grants, cooperative agreements, small business awards, and individual and institutional research training awards.
•    Advising the NEI Director on vision research activities and coordinating with other offices within NEI, NIH, HHS, and DOD and other federal agencies to accomplish Institute objectives. 
•    Providing executive and managerial leadership in implementing the scientific priorities of the Institute, institute-wide policies and procedures, and resource allocation for extramural funds. Through their expertise and experience, the incumbent must be able to promote, manage, and oversee extramural research activities of national and international significance.
•    Serving as the principal advisor and liaison representing the NEI on NIH internal and external work groups and committees pertaining to extramural science programs and activities and representing the Institute in interactions with the extramural community.
•    Serving as a member of the NEI Senior Leadership Team that advises the NEI Director and interacts closely with NEI leadership in setting research priorities and developing innovative approaches to support vision research. 
•    Creating and maintaining a nurturing environment that encourages innovation, collaboration, and efficient utilization of resources across the vision community.

Information about NEI is available at:

Required Qualifications

The National Eye Institute seeks candidates who have a commitment to rigor and scientific excellence and the energy, enthusiasm, and innovative thinking necessary to lead a dynamic and diverse extramural funding division. Applicants should exhibit leadership ability in managing multidisciplinary research programs. Applicants must possess an MD, PhD, or equivalent doctoral degree. Applicants should have a proven track record of managing significant research programs. Applicants should have demonstrated senior-level research experience and knowledge of vision research in one or more scientific areas related to blinding eye diseases, visual disorders, mechanisms of visual function, preservation of sight, or vision rehabilitation. The candidate should have demonstrated administrative leadership experience managing a complex research program or organization. Applicants should have experience in mentoring and training, budget and resource allocation, and administrative and interpersonal skills.

Preference will be given to applicants who have demonstrated leadership using innovative approaches to develop research programs; 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 diverse staff. The NEI seeks applicants who have a compelling vision for the future of the NEI extramural research portfolio, a commitment to making a positive impact on vision health, and the innovative thinking necessary to advance the public impact of NEI’s basic, translational, and clinical research portfolios. A diverse pool of applicants is sought, so qualified individuals from all backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.
Applications will be accepted from U.S. citizens and non-citizens as allowed by appropriations and statute.


Salary is competitive and will be commensurate with the qualifications according to federal guidelines and based on the experience of the candidate.  Full Federal benefits will be provided, including retirement, health and life insurance, long-term care insurance, leave, and a Thrift Savings Plan (401K equivalent). A recruitment and/or relocation incentive may be available; and relocation expenses may be paid.  

Please read the following guidance on Selective Service requirements.

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 you 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 U.S. 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. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: 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.