The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced on 18 February a national search for a new Assistant Director for Biological Sciences. The current Assistant Director, James Collins, has served in this position since October 2005.

The Assistant Director for Biological Sciences oversees five programs within NSF: Biological Infrastructure, Environmental Biology, Emerging Frontiers, Integrative Organismal Systems, and Molecular and Cellular Bioscience. Together, these divisions span a wide range of research topics: molecular and cellular biology, organismal biology, population ecology, and ecosystems. These programs also support the growth and development of science through investment in technology such as databases, informatics, and the development of new instrumentation. Additionally, the Biological Sciences Directorate promotes research experience for students. The Assistant Director for Biological Sciences leads a staff of 130 people and administers a budget of over $600 million.

Dr. Barbara Schaal of Washington University in St. Louis will head the Search Committee. The Search Committee is looking for a candidate with “outstanding leadership; a deep sense of scholarship; a grasp of the issues facing the biological science community in the areas of education and research; and the ability to serve effectively as a member of the NSF management team.” Nominations for candidates, including any supporting materials, should be emailed to by March 31, 2009.

For information about candidate qualifications, how to make a nomination, or about the NSF biology, go to


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