Development Program Director - NA ALMA (4963)

Executive Management Charlottesville, Virginia


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) invites applications for NA ALMA Development Program Director. The NA ALMA Development Program works in concert with Joint ALMA Observatory and the ALMA Partnership to sustain and enhance the scientific capabilities of ALMA. The development program is presently executing an ambitious program known as the ALMA 2030 Development Roadmap, which has as its top priorities to at least double the observing bandwidth of the complete ALMA system and to enhance the sensitivity and performance of most receiver bands. NRAO and its NA partners have a key role in the Wideband Sensitivity Upgrade (WSU) portion of the roadmap, which includes an upgrade to the Band 6 receiver, the development of a 2nd Generation Correlator, related infrastructure, and participation in other WSU subsystem upgrades.  In the longer term, initial discussions are underway on further upgrades to ALMA for up to a factor of 10 increase in sensitivity, extension of baselines, and other capability enhancements. The NA ALMA Development Program Director will be responsible for the successful delivery of NA contributions to the WSU, and for the planning and execution of NA projects for future, significant upgrades to ALMA.


The ALMA Observatory is a millimeter/submillimeter interferometric array of 66 elements located at 5000 meters altitude in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. ALMA observing capability extends over most of the atmospheric windows between 9 mm (35 GHz) and 0.3 mm (950 GHz), with state-of-the art equipment and instrumentation.  ALMA is an international partnership, with operations led by NRAO/AUI on behalf of North America, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) on behalf of its European Member States, and by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) on behalf of East Asia. The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO), based in Chile, is responsible for on-site operations. NA ALMA, a department of NRAO, provides NA partnership services for science operations and support, user community support, offsite hardware and software maintenance, development, warranty and infrastructure support, and business, human resource, and project support in Chile.


The NA ALMA Development Program Director will report to the Director, NA ALMA and will work closely with the NA ALMA Program Scientist, and a team of project managers, system engineers, and scientists engaged in its individual projects. The Development Program Director will coordinate with the ALMA / JAO development project manager and systems engineer, and with development teams in the other regions to maintain cohesion and achieve success for the overall ALMA development program.


What you will do:

Responsibilities for the positions include, but are not limited to the following:


  • Lead NA ALMA development upgrade projects
  • Ensure the efficient and successful delivery of NA’s Wideband Sensitivity Upgrades
  • Organize and execute the NA program for future major upgrades to ALMA, such as the potential x10 sensitivity upgrade, including partnership and funding agency engagement, D&D planning, and funding proposal planning
  • Coordinate closely with the JAO Development Project Director on the upgrade program
  • Line management of assigned project office staff
  • Presentations and reports, as required


Work Environment:

The position is based at NRAO / NA ALMA Headquarters in Charlottesville, Virginia. The position requires on-site presence, but some fraction of tele-work time may be considered. Domestic and international travel is required.


Who You Are:


  • You have a PhD in astronomy, physics, engineering, or a related field
  • 8 years of post-doctoral or equivalent experience in astronomy or closely-related field
  • Established record of program and/or operations management, including budget and staff management
  • Strong oral and written communications skills


Preferred Experience:

  • Established record of independent research
  • Research expertise in interferometric radio/millimeter/submillimeter astronomy, especially with ALMA
  • Demonstrated proficiency working in a remote team setting


Total Rewards:


AUI offers a comprehensive total rewards package for this position, subject to eligibility requirements. We are committed to serving our employees and their families with an extensive and competitive compensation and benefits package that supports our employees’ overall well-being and career growth.



The AUI strives to attract and retain dedicated, highly qualified, competent, and motivated employees by offering competitive compensation and recognition for performance.


Factors which may affect starting pay within this range may include; education, experience, skills, competencies, other qualifications of the successful candidate, as well as internal equity and labor market conditions.



AUI’s benefits package addresses the needs of employees and their families with most benefits beginning on the first day of employment. AUI provides excellent paid time off (13 holidays, annual accrual of up to 24 vacation days and 15 sick days, additional time off for doctor/dentist visits, and 8 weeks of paid parental leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective on the first day of employment. AUI’s retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participant’s base pay with no required employee contribution; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions.


Application Instructions:


Select the “Apply” button. Please be prepared to upload the following:


  • Cover letter describing interest and suitability for the position
  • Curriculum Vitae & Publication List
  • A detailed description of past management and technical experience as they relate to their ability to undertake each of the essential duties and responsibilities outlined for this position (maximum of 3 pages)
  • The names of three (3) people who can serve as a reference


Consideration of applications will begin immediately.


Equal Opportunity Employer Statement:


AUI is an equal opportunity employer. Women, Minorities, Vietnam-Era Veterans, Disabled Veterans, Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities are encouraged to apply. To view our complete statement, please visit If you require reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process due to a disability, you may submit your request by sending an email to [email protected]PM20