NASA Astrobiology Program

NASA Seeks New NASA Astrobiology Institute Director

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
February 5, 2015
Filed under , ,
NASA Seeks New NASA Astrobiology Institute Director

NASA seeks a new Director for the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI). The ideal candidate will be an internationally recognized scientist with proven experience in leading or managing large interdisciplinary research programs or projects, possessed with a vision for leading the Institute into the future.

Applicants for this position should have a broad scientific perspective on astrobiology, experience in conducting interdisciplinary scientific research, and demonstrated skills needed to harness the strengths of disparate research communities towards a greater goal. S/he should understand how to grow a research endeavor and respond to changing budget climates while focusing on maximizing the scientific return on NASA’s investments in astrobiology. S/he should have experience in leading a diverse staff ranging from established scientists to support personnel, resource planning, and executing budgets and schedules. S/he should be comfortable with modern information technologies and distributed research teams. NASA is particularly interested in applicants who will find ways to infuse astrobiology into NASA flight missions.

The NAI Director is both the senior scientific officer and chief operating officer of the NAI. The Director coordinates scientific activities of the Institute’s member teams and is responsible and held accountable for all operational aspects of the NAI, including the administration of personnel, budget and NASA policies. The Director will lead the NAI in fulfilling its mission to perform, support, and catalyze collaborative interdisciplinary astrobiology research; train the next generation of astrobiologists; provide scientific and technical leadership for astrobiology space mission investigations; develop new information technology approaches for collaborations among widely distributed investigators; and support K-12 education and public outreach programs.

Established in 1998 as part of NASA’s Astrobiology Program, the NAI is a virtual, distributed organization of competitively-selected teams that conduct and integrate astrobiology research and training programs in concert with the national and international science communities. The Institute has 12 teams including ~600 researchers distributed across ~100 organizations as well as 13 international partner organizations. Headquartered at NASA Ames Research Center in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, the NAI links researchers across the US and around the globe using modern information technologies.

The NAI serves a vital role in advancing the goals of the larger NASA Astrobiology Program, with a focus on seeking the answers to these fundamental questions: How does life begin and evolve? Is there life beyond Earth and, if so, how can we detect it? What is the future of life on Earth and beyond?

U.S. citizenship is required for the NAI Director.

Interested individuals should apply at: You can also go to USAJobs at In the keyword search box, type vacancy number “AR15S0001”. Select “Director, NASA Astrobiology Institute”, then click “Apply Online”.

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻