James Ulvestad

Chief Officer for Research Facilities


Dr. James S. Ulvestad is the first Chief Officer for Research Facilities in the Office of the Director at the National Science Foundation (NSF), a position he has held since January 2018.  Prior to his current position, he was Division Director of the NSF Division of Astronomical Sciences from March 2010 until January 2017, before spending a year as the Acting Assistant Director of the NSF Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

Ulvestad was previously an Assistant Director of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), where he was in charge of New Mexico Operations, encompassing the Very Large Array (VLA) and Very Long Baseline Array radio telescopes.  Before his time at NRAO, Ulvestad was a Member of the Technical Staff and a Systems Engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). At JPL, he was a key part of the team that carried out the first successful radio interferometry experiments combining ground- and space-based telescopes, and was instrumental in using the VLA to downlink data from Voyager 2 during its 1989 Neptune encounter.

Ulvestad earned a Bachelor’s degree in astronomy from the University of California at Los Angeles and a Ph.D. degree in astronomy from the University of Maryland.  He is an author or co-author of more than 80 refereed scientific papers.