Chief Scientist

Department Of Agriculture
Washington, OH
Closing date
Sep 26, 2023

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Organization Type
  • The Chief Scientist supports Agency goals by advancing a common understanding of complex food safety concerns, developing solutions and suitable alternatives, and conveying scientific information to stakeholders.
  • S/he coordinates all OPHS scientific program efforts, especially those that cross program lines; serves as primary contact for all activities; and is the recognized spokesperson on key food safety and public health initiatives.
  • Collaborates with other Agency officials to ensure that decisions made, and actions taken fully consider and respond to the interests and needs of other programs and organizations.
  • The incumbent performs critical analyses of key technical programs and program components to ensure conformance with major program policies and to identify options available for attaining optimum scientific effectiveness.
  • Critically reviews and evaluates new and proposed policies, procedures, regulations and legislation that impact OPHS programs. Assesses the nature and degree of potential impact and frames options for review by the Assistant Administrator.
  • Prepare the Assistant Administrator, Administrator or Deputy Administrator for important meetings and conferences. Researches and analyzes issues to be addressed, becomes thoroughly familiar with the interests of and positions taken by attendees.
  • Develops, presents, and negotiates for acceptance of OPHS strategy on critical food safety and public health issues.
  • Interfaces with officials from Federal, State and local public health and agricultural offices, providing information on and insight into matters of meat, poultry and egg product safety and public health.
  • Maintains effective relations with food producers and manufacturers, academic scientists, consumers, public health professionals, veterinary medical professionals, and representatives of the food service sector.
  • The incumbent of the position serves as Chief Scientist for the Agency, the key scientific advisor on matters of public health and food safety that affect the mission of OPHS, and contributes scientific expertise.
Requirements Conditions of Employment
  • Initial appointments are required to serve a 1-year probationary period.
  • Narrative Statements for the TQs must not exceed 2 pages per response.
  • Background Investigation required.
  • Subject to satisfactory adjudication of background investigation and/or fingerprint check.
  • Subject to one-year managerial probationary period unless prior service is creditable.

You must meet the following requirements by the closing date of this announcement.

As a basic requirement, applicants must demonstrate progressively responsible leadership experience that is indicative of senior level capability and directly related to the skills and abilities outlined under Mandatory Qualifications. Typically, experience of this nature will have been gained at or above the GS-14/15 grade level in the Federal service or its equivalent with state or local government, the private sector, or nongovernmental organizations. Failure to meet basic qualification requirements and all mandatory qualifications listed automatically disqualifies an applicant.

Applicants must submit a resume. In addition, applicants are required to submit written narratives addressing each of the mandatory technical qualifications (TQs). Narratives should not exceed (2) pages for each TQ. Responses must demonstrate mastery of the TQs and be supported by your resume. Please provide examples that are clear and concise, emphasize your level of responsibility, scope and complexity of programs managed, accomplishments, sensitivity of issues handled, policy initiatives and level of contacts.

Failure to submit a resume and written narratives addressing each TQ separately, will result in elimination from further consideration. Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.


MANDATORY TECHNICAL QUALIFICATIONS (TQs): All applicants must submit a written narrative response to the following TQs. You must address each TQ separately. Each TQ narratives must not exceed two (2) pages. Please give examples and explain the complexity of the knowledge possessed and the sensitivity of the issued you handled.
1.) Provide an example of when you had to communicate a complex scientific topic both orally and in writing to a diverse audience (e.g. high-level agency officials, representatives of external and interagency committees, the public, Congress, industry, etc.)
2.) Provide an example of a successful cooperative relationship you developed with both internal and external stakeholders or partners that allowed you to meet a strategic goal or outcome related to food safety, despite competing interests among various parties.
Bachelor's or graduate/higher level degree: major study in an academic field related to the medical field, health sciences or allied sciences appropriate to the work of the position. This degree must be from an educational program from an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education at the time the degree was obtained.
Additional information
Consideration for competitive selection for this position is open to all persons within the area of consideration who meet the basic qualifications. Race, color, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, religion, marital or family status, disability, and other non-merit factors will not be considered.
1. This position is covered under the post-employment restriction of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-521). This law also requires the selectee to file an Executive Personnel Financial Disclosure Report (Standard Form 278), within 30 days of appointment.
2. Applications sent in U.S. Government postage-paid envelope and submitted through Federal Agency courier services will not be considered.
3. The 1993 Hatch Act Reform Amendments prohibit oral and written political recommendations for Federal jobs.
4. Male applicants born after December 31, 1959, must be registered with the Selective Service System before they can be employed by an executive agency of the Federal government. This requirement does not apply to Agency employees appointed before November 8, 1985.
5. All application forms are subject to the provisions of the Privacy Act and become the property of USDA. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is an Equal Opportunity Employer. USDA prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication or program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD)
Reasonable Accommodation: This agency provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the agency at 202-260-8128. The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be on a case-by-case basis.
Effective January 1, 2010, OPM must authorize any employment offers we make to current or former (within the last 5 years) political Schedule A, Schedule C, or Non-career SES employees in the executive branch. If you are currently, or have been within the last 5 years, a political Schedule A, Schedule C, or Non-career SES employee in the executive branch, you must disclose that to the Human Resources Office.
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How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

You will be evaluated based on your qualifications for this position as evidenced by the experience, education, and training you described in your application package, as well as the responses to the Assessment Questionnaire to determine the degree to which you possess the knowledge, skills, abilities.

Your application, including the online Assessment Questionnaire, will be reviewed to determine if you meet (a) minimum qualification requirements and (b) the resume supports the answers provided to the job-specific questions. Your resume must clearly support your responses to all the questions addressing experience and education relevant to this position. Applicants who meet the minimum qualification requirements and are determined to be among the best qualified candidates will be referred to the hiring manager for consideration. Noncompetitive candidates and applicants under some special hiring authorities need to meet minimum qualifications to be referred.

Note: If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your rating may be lowered to more accurately reflect the submitted documentation. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Providing inaccurate information on Federal documents could be grounds for non-selection or disciplinary action up to including removal from the Federal service.

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