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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Mosquito and Fly Research

Title: Metamorphasis from a scientist "larva" to a program manager "adult" in the Federal Government

item Bernier, Ulrich - Uli

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2012
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: My experience described in this talk will be from the perspective of a scientist for the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), which is the in-house research agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The entry point for scientists in the ARS usually begins at the GS-11 or GS-12 level. Quite often, the first experience involves a term appointment as a post-doctoral scientist. During this “larval” stage, the incumbent learns to operate within specific guidelines; these will definitely include boundaries for the research scope and often limits for spending. The direction of research in ARS is federally mandated and appropriated by Congress. There are project plans under which a scientist may work wholly, or the scientist may be split time and be allocated to two or more research project plans. As the scientist grows, there are requirements that must be met to advance from lower GS- levels to the adult levels of GS-14 and GS-15. The promotions in ARS are based on impact, which includes publications and technology transfer. Senior level scientists also acquire additional administrative duties, such as serving as Lead Scientist on a research project. The Lead Scientist is directly under the supervision of a Research Leader which manages a research unit. A research unit will have one or more research project plans assigned to it. This talk will cover a general description of what “life” is like as an ARS scientist with an emphasis on the qualities that result in a successful career and learning to be an effective manager of personnel that are under the supervision of the manager.

Last Modified: 06/26/2017
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