The National Science Foundation (NSF) is modifying the role of its chief information officer (CIO) and is looking to establish a new office – the Office of Business Information Technology (BIT) Services – that will be led by an individual who will serve as both the CIO and chief technology officer (CTO).

In a statement to MeriTalk, an NSF spokesperson confirmed that current CIO Dorothy Aronson will no longer hold the title of CIO, but will remain a principal advisor to the agency’s director and other senior management on all information technology matters. Aronson has served as the agency’s permanent CIO since December 2017.

“Information technology, technology innovation, and data are critical to NSF’s mission. These business areas are especially critical as we anticipate significant growth from the CHIPS and Science Act,” the spokesperson said in an email to MeriTalk. “NSF is expanding quickly and needs to position itself with the right structure and resources so we can continue to provide outstanding information technology services to our staff and the external research community.”

“Establishing this new office will allow the agency’s IT functions to work even more effectively and efficiently,” they added.

The agency has already posted the job announcement for the new combined role, with applications due by Feb. 27.

The job description describes the new BIT agency head as someone who will establish “strategic direction and has overall responsibility on matters involving leadership and direction in the formulation, development, and execution of NSF’s IT management program.”

“The incumbent ensures the agency maximizes the use of technology, information, and data systems to improve agency mission delivery and performance and provides regular reports to the Office of the Director,” it adds. “The incumbent is also responsible for formulating and articulating the agency’s policy, position, or response on current or emerging information technology and its relationship to the NSF and its mission.”

The reorganization aligns with the recommendations of several groups, including the Business and Operations Advisory Committee (BOAC). A recent report from the committee called on NSF to review its current IT operational structures for leadership, governance, delivery, operations, and oversight to identify opportunities for streamlining processes or realigning responsibilities.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.