SSI provides high quality organizational, legal, and administrative support to grant-funded researchers and educators, making it possible for scientists to conduct research wherever they are on the projects of their choice in scientific growth areas. We support both on-site and off-site grantees, have excellent benefits, and competitive overhead rates. Being a small, adaptable institute, SSI offers a much higher scientific return on grant dollars invested than larger universities and laboratories: funds received are spent on science and science education, not unnecessary frills.

For more information please contact:

Karly Pitman

Executive Director & Senior Research Scientist

Available Positions

Education Coordinator - Professional Development

The Space Science Institute (SSI) is shaping our future by enabling scientists to advance our understanding of Earth and the Universe; increasing science and technology literacy for people of all ages and backgrounds; and inspiring youth to pursue science-technology education and career opportunities. SSI's National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL) in Boulder, Colorado has an immediate need for an individual to facilitate professional development for informal educators, including through workshops and webinars. The position will work to build capacity within free-choice learning sectors (e.g., libraries, museums, educational broadcast media) to reach audiences underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields (e.g., women, minorities, and persons with disabilities). This position is a direct report to the Professional Development Manager to help support NCIL's NASA@ My Library program that is part of the STAR Library Network ( This position works closely with the Director of the NCIL/Education & Outreach Branch and other members of NCIL. This is a great opportunity to get involved in a team-oriented, fun, scientific and educational working environment. We seek a highly motivated and organized individual who has excellent communication and presentation skills and a background in developing and facilitating free-choice learning experiences for diverse audiences of all ages. This position will work to help increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM education projects. Prior experience in facilitating professional development events such as workshops and/or webinars is a plus. A basic understanding or interest in space science, computational thinking, or engineering is desired.

Full information: Education Coordinator-Professional Development.pdf

E-mail SSI HR with applications/inquiries.

Places like the SSI really allow you to do what you want to do from wherever. If you bring your own money, you have a job.

Mike Wolff, Senior Research Scientist at SSI

Because I am not very self-promoting, I tended to accept lower-paying, lower-status jobs. By going independent, I was able to catch up in pay with a position that I deserve.

Barb Whitney, Senior Research Scientist at SSI
  • Founded in 1992
  • 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation
  • Headquartered in Boulder, CO
  • Sixty employees
  • Offsite researchers in 16 states and 3 countries
  • Over 100 active grants and contracts
  • Nearly $6 million annual revenues
  • University of Colorado affiliate
  • Experience with large NASA missions
  • Home to the Cassini Imaging Science Subsystem Ops team (ISSOPS).

SSI provides full-service management support tailored to the needs of grant recipients. At SSI, scientists can focus their attention on their work while retaining the independence necessary to conduct their programs effectively. SSI provides:

  • Strong health, life, vision, dental & disability benefits
  • Competitive, federally negotiated overhead rates
  • Grants & contracts administration, tracking & accounting
  • Proposal budget preparation
  • Proposal review and submission assistance
  • Payroll processing
  • Salary & payroll tax accounting
  • Online journal access
  • A 403(b) matched retirement program managed by TIAA-CREF
  • Experience with NASA, NSF, STScI, DOE, JPL, universities and other organizations
  • Online budget & reporting tools for PIs

Soft money researchers are funded through their own grants – at SSI typically through NASA or the National Science Foundation. Researchers are responsible for bringing in their own funds, but with that comes the flexibility to work on what they want and to live where they want. Meanwhile SSI provides business office and financial support so that researchers can focus on what they do best. For more on the soft money lifestyle, see this Nature article.

SSI's headquarters is in Boulder, Colorado, but about 2/3 of our researchers work from their own homes around the country (and a few are even overseas). That gives them the flexibility to live and work where they want, with the added benefit of lower overhead costs. SSI hosts an annual onsite meeting for its researchers, as well as get-togethers at major research conferences.

SSI provides an Affiliate status for researchers who are planning to propose for grants, but need a home institution before they can do so.