NOIRLab Deputy Director

Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc.
Tucson, AZ
Closing date
Jun 30, 2022

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Organization Type
NSF's NOIRLab is the preeminent US national center for ground-based, nighttime optical and infrared astronomy. The mission of NOIRLab is to enable breakthrough discoveries in astrophysics by developing and operating state-of-the-art ground-based observatories and providing data products and services for a diverse and inclusive community. NOIRLab is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) which operates as a matrix organization, providing services across a range of programs: Gemini Observatory, Vera C. Rubin Observatory, Mid-Scale Observatory (Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory and Kitt Peak National Observatory), and the Community Science and Data Center; with approximately 400 employees at facilities in three geographic locations: Arizona, Hawai'i, and Chile.

NSF's NOIRLab is seeking a Deputy Director to work in close partnership with the Director to lead NSF's NOIRLab. The Deputy Director is responsible for day-to-day operations, issue management, conflict resolution, operational and tactical leadership, and leading a core team to assist in achieving NOIRLab's objectives. The Deputy Director works with the Service (Engineering, Center Operations, Communications, Finance) Directors in support of Lab objectives. The Deputy Director may reside in any of NOIRLab's three primary locations, Arizona, Chile, or Hawaii, with a strong preference for Chile.

Essential Functions:

Serve as a key member of the NOIRLab senior leadership team
Work with the NOIRLab Directorate to set priorities, optimize resources, and resolve conflicts across all NOIRLab programs
Provide internal leadership to NOIRLab
Manage day to day operations and makes operational decisions in support of NOIRLab's mission and programs
Represent NOIRLab to internal and external stakeholders
Assist in the preparation of reviews relevant to operations and makes presentations at reviews
Ensure AURA policies and procedures are followed where applicable
Works closely with the AURA Head of Mission in Chile to ensure smooth relations with the government and labor unions and compliance with Chilean regulations
Monitor and assess the operational status and impact of NOIRLab telescopes and instruments
Serve as the Director's proxy when the Director is unavailable.
Assumes other duties as agreed upon with the Director, including specific tasks which are not of a permanent nature, but which require the exercise of considerable maturity, tact, and scientific judgment.
Bring a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion to hiring, mentoring, advancement, and the delegation of responsibility and leadership across the Lab.
With the NOIRLab Director, ensure that the program is executed in a manner consistent with funding agency and AURA policies.
All AURA employees are responsible for the proper management and control of all AURA property within their work area, whether assigned to them or someone else. This responsibility includes reporting any known missing, stolen, or non-working property in their work area to their supervisor or the AURA Property Officer.
Responsible for ensuring compliance with government award terms and conditions assigned to this position or subordinates of this position as defined in the Vela Award Management system

Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

Post graduate degree in scientific, engineering or business field
Experience working with US government agencies, either civilian or defense
Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
A successful track record of increasing management responsibility for major organizational and/or scientific units.
Good understanding of matrix workforce management
Experience in strategic planning, budgetary development, and financial management.
Demonstrated critical analysis, problem solving, and conflict resolution skills.
Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion, including mastery of the skills needed to manage the efforts of a large, diverse workforce.
Interest in both the strategic and operational aspects of running a national scientific facility.

Preferred Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

Advanced degree in Astronomy, Physics, Engineering, or related field
Experience in the management of large scientific facilities both inside and outside of the continental US.
Experience with business practices and tools
Familiarity with federal procurement and reporting requirements
Familiarity with operation of non-profit organizations
Experience managing geographically dispersed teams

Physical Demands:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The work is mostly carried out in an office environment. Long periods of sitting and computer usage may be required.
Travel may be necessary in or outside the contiguous United States.
Ability to work at the following elevations:
Kitt Peak: Able to climb stairs and work at 6,800 feet altitude
Mauna Kea: Ability to work at 14,000'
Cerro Pachon: Ability to work at 8,900'
Cerro Tololo: Ability to work at 7,300

AURA offers an excellent benefits package including paid time off and retirement plan contributions, competitive salary commensurate with experience, and a very attractive work environment.

Details on benefits can be found at

At NOIRLab we are committed to diversity and inclusion; our managing organization, AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at

Preference will be given to qualified internal candidates and qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham reservation.

Please list three (3) professional references in your application (references will only be contacted later in the recruitment process) and attach: a cover letter and a CV or resume, PDF files preferred. Please name any attachments with the following format: Lastname Docname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to

Veterans, disabled individuals, or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process should request assistance at

The position will remain open until filled. To be considered in the first round of reviews, please submit your application by June 24, 2022.

COVID-19 Policy Update: AURA has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy that requires all employees to be vaccinated including being up to date on boosters, unless qualified for an exemption based on medical or religious reasons. All new employees will be required to comply with this policy and will be required to present proof of full vaccination or submit a completed request (including supporting documents, if applicable) for an exemption at least five (5) business days prior to their start of employment. Individuals who fail to meet this deadline may have their employment start date delayed.

This is a requirement for all employees working onsite or from home (telework or hybrid remote work schedule). Currently the vaccination requirement does not apply to any future AURA employees working in Chile, regardless of their nationality or type of contract.

AURA currently offers a mix-model workspace (office & virtual) and stimulating environments for all, with most staff working virtually from home during the COVID-19 crisis. The safety of our staff and community is our top priority. We will continue to interview and screen candidates in this new virtual landscape and offers of employment can be extended and new hires will onboard virtually. Employees are required to be residents in their base job location within a limited time from their start date.

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), is a consortium of over 40 US institutions and three international affiliates that operates world-class astronomical observatories. AURA's role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research. AURA is responsible for managing the operations of the NSF's NOIRLab, the National Solar Observatory, and the construction of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation and operations of the Space Telescope Science Institute under contracts with NASA.

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws.

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