SRDP Operations Manager

Observatory Service and Science Socorro, New Mexico Charlottesville, Virginia


Position Description:

Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is seeking an experienced team leader for the role of Operations Manager for the Science Ready Data Products (SRDP) project. The SRDP project will change radio astronomy by delivering data products that are ready to use for scientific study by a wide range of astronomers, including those not expert in interferometry, thereby making radio astronomy more accessible to the broader astronomical community.  A major Observatory initiative, the multi-year SRDP project is a significant investment (over one hundred FTE years) to deliver “science center functionality” for NRAO’s interferometers.  This project builds on the success of the data pipelines already in use for ALMA, the VLA Sky Survey, and for calibration of a wider range of VLA observations.  The SRDP project continues NRAO’s role as a pioneer in radio astronomy.


The successful candidate will have demonstrated experience in team leadership (particularly with geographically distributed teams); process development, implementation, and improvement; and matrix management – most likely in a data driven scientific environment. The incumbent will exhibit the organizational, leadership, and analytic skills required to lead the SRDP Operations team in the timely delivery of Science Ready Data Products to the NRAO user community.   


The appointment is a full-time staff position at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. The preferred location for this position is Socorro, New Mexico although location in Charlottesville, Virginia, may be considered.  Appointment to the scientific staff at NRAO will be considered for candidates with established independent scientific research programs.  Applicants should indicate in application cover letter their location preference and if they wish to be considered for a scientific appointment.


NRAO offers competitive pay, generous leave policy, and excellent benefits – medical, dental and vision plans are effective first day of employment. Our retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participant’s base pay; no contribution is required of the employee (after one year of employment).  NRAO also offers an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions. 


Job Duties Summary

SRDP Operations Manager will lead a team of data analysts in order to deliver quality assured science products from NRAO’s interferometers (VLA, VLBA, and ALMA) to the Observatory’s scientific users.  The Data Analysts are drawn from both New Mexico Operations and North American ALMA Departments. The Operations Manager will monitor the performance of SRDP generation to ensure both timeliness and quality targets are achieved.  Feedback from the Operations team will be synthesized by the Operations Manager to update and extend the implementation requirements. The Operations Manager will work with scientific staff to ensure the quality of the delivered products. The SRDP Operations Manager reports to the SRDP Project Director.


In the early years of the SRDP project the Operations Manager will work with the Project Director and Project Scientist to establish efficient processes for generation and quality assurance of science ready data products.


Specific duties will include:

  • Creation and maintenance of the SRDP Operations Plan.
  • Leading the SRDP Operations Staff in the creation and quality assurance of science ready products.
  • Development and refinement of the operations procedures, design and execution of end-to-end testing before each SRDP Deployment.
  • Synthesis of Operations feedback and requirements to the SRDP Implementation Effort.
  • Tracking of efficiency, uptake, and latency in generation of science ready products. 
  • Assist the line managers in recruitment, training, and performance management of SRDP Operations staff.


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) strongly believes that a diverse staff is critical for our mission to enable world-class science. Our employees, essential to our success, are to be valued, treated with respect, and have opportunities to work in an inclusive, multi-cultural and gender diverse environment. NRAO staff and management are responsible and accountable for achieving these goals.


Work Environment

The successful candidate will join a team of professionals engaged in research and development in the fields of science, engineering, software development, and education.  Work is typically performed in a research or development environment.  Must be able to operate a personal computer. May occasionally work at high altitudes.  Must be able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing. Some travel will be required.


Position Requirements:

Minimum Education

Bachelor's degree in Astronomy, Physics or related field is required.


Minimum Experience

A minimum of five years of experience working with radio astronomical data products and/or operating radio telescopes is required. Additionally, two years of experience as a group or team lead is required.


Preferred Experience

Management or leadership experience in geographically distributed matrix organizations. Experience in telescope operations or similar continuous throughput operational environment.


Competency Summary

Required competencies: strong communication skills (written and verbal); leading others; highly organized; decisive; ability to remain calm while supporting demanding clients; detail oriented; analytical thinker. Demonstrated ability to work successfully in a team of technical experts.


Application Instructions:

Select the "Apply" button below. Applicants should be prepared to upload a CV/Resume and letter of interest. The application submission deadline is July 31, 2018.


The NRAO is an equal opportunity employer (M/F/D/V)

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.