Health Program Specialist, Neuroscience

Job Contact
Division of Neuroscience

Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Plan, coordinate, and screen proposed projects for their interest and appropriateness for extramural grant programs at NINDS.
  • Provide scientific support in planning, coordination, evaluation and communication of research in neuroscience and neurology to internal and external stakeholders.
  • Conceive, design and perform detailed analysis of scientific and/or administrative factors affecting research program priorities and performance in the areas of specialty.
  • Serve as representative on committees and working groups, focusing on areas of programmatic expertise.
  • Evaluate grant program supported by NINDS by tracking applications, success rates, activities and spending of grant recipients to inform future funding and policy decisions.
  • Prepare and make oral presentations to NINDS leadership and staff, NIH staff and the extramural community.
  • Provide guidance to grantees on their research objectives, funding opportunity requirements, compliance documentation and safety monitoring plans.
  • Work with Program Directors to ensure that tasks relevant to the scientific administration of assigned grants are performed accurately and in a timely fashion.


  • This is a Federal GS-11, GS-12 or GS-13 position located in Montgomery County MD. Level is based upon individual qualifications and professional experience.
  • The successful candidate should demonstrate expertise, experience and/or educational background in neuroscience or related discipline. A PhD or postdoc is not required but is generally preferred.
  • A full benefits package is available, which includes Thrift Savings Plan participation, health, life and long-term care insurance.

How to Apply

  • Applications will be accepted via upcoming job announcements for “Health Specialist” or “Health Program Specialist” on 
  • Applicants may target a specific team(s) in their cover letter. Please note that while a match between an applicant’s scientific background and the team they would join is generally preferred, it is not required.
  • If you are currently a Federal employee or work in NIH Intramural, detail opportunities are available.
  • Candidates will be considered on a rolling basis until the positions are filled.
  • Interested candidates should send their resume to Ling Wong, PhD.

All information provided by candidates will remain strictly confidential and will not be released outside the search process without a signed release from candidates. HHS and NIH are Equal Opportunity Employers.  

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Teams with Health Program Specialist Vacancies

Office of the Associate Director (OAD)

The OAD supports the strategic goals and objectives of the Division of Neuroscience (DON), working with Divisions and Offices across the NIH to advance the research programs within the NINDS mission.  It also oversees the functions and work products of seven teams (“clusters”) of program staff organized by scientific research area, ensuring smooth operations and developing forward-looking extramural programs and initiatives.  The primary role of the Health Program Specialist in OAD is to be a subject matter expert in the NIH data management and sharing policy and develop resources for DON and NINDS staff to help implement the policy. Additional work will include facilitating Council preparations across clusters as needed.

Neural Environment (NET) Cluster

Neurological disorders may result when extra-neuronal cells are compromised; when extra-neuronal cells themselves become aggressors; when cells of the nervous system become cancerous and form tumors; when viruses, bacteria, or parasites infect the cells of the nervous system; when autoimmune responses damage nerve and muscle; or when cells of the blood-brain barrier are dysfunctional. Glial cells, microvascular endothelia, and cells of hematopoietic origin are integrally involved in the normal development and/or functioning of the nervous system and play a crucial role in disease. The major goals of this cluster are to support research on the interactions among these cell types to increase our understanding of how the nervous system works in normal and diseased states. Supported topics include: neuroimmunology, neurovirology, neural vascular biology, the blood brain barrier, stroke, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, neuro-AIDS and neuroinfectious diseases, prion diseases, and CNS infections.

Neurodegeneration (NDG) Cluster & AD/ADRD

The major goals of this cluster are to support research on juvenile- and adult-onset neurodegenerative disorders to identify neurobiological processes that, when disrupted, play a role in neuronal dysfunction, circuit alteration and degeneration. Supported research defines contributions of neurons as well as non-neuronal cells and systems, including the vasculature, to the biology of neurodegeneration. Supported topics include: neuronal cell death, protein misfolding, aggregation, processing, mitochondrial pathologies, epidemiological studies, genetic studies, and biomarker studies that facilitate understanding of and therapy development for neurodegeneration and neurodegenerative diseases.  This cluster also supports Alzheimer's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease Related Dementias (AD/ADRD) programs.

Neurogenetics (NGN) Cluster

The major goals of this cluster are to understand the role of genetics and genomics in normal development and function of neurons and glia; clarify how genetic mutations impact neurological function; and develop treatments for various neurodevelopmental, neuromuscular, metabolic, and rare diseases and disorders. Supported topics include: genetics and genomics of normal neural development and neurological diseases; basic, translational and clinical research in rare neurological, neurodevelopmental, metabolic, and neuromuscular disorders; gene expression, proteomics, and metabolomics; gene therapy and gene delivery; molecular basis of neurodevelopment (including neurogenesis and cell fate determination, cell migration, axonal guidance and neurotrophic signaling); and glia biology.  This cluster also supports the Undiagnosed Diseases Network.

Repair & Plasticity (R&P) Cluster

The major goals of this cluster are to support: 1) efforts to understand mechanisms of plasticity, endogenous neurogenesis, and stem and progenitor cell biology in the development, maintenance, and repair of the nervous system; 2) research that focuses on the course of degeneration and repair following injury to the nervous system (including spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury) and on strategies and interventions to improve functional outcomes; and 3) development of neural interface devices designed to monitor activity and restore function after neurological injury or disease. Supported research topics include: spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and associated research on the recovery of function; plasticity of the nervous system; neural circuits that underlie specific behaviors; repair of the nervous system in injury and disease; stem cell biology; neural prosthesis, neural engineering, and other means of repairing the nervous system due to injury or disease.