Radar Division Head (NRAO/GBO) (4661)

Executive Management Charlottesville, Virginia Green Bank, West Virginia


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and the Green Bank Observatory (GBO) seek a technical manager to lead a new division between the organizations, focused on the design, construction and implementation of leading-edge radar capabilities. Over the past two years, NRAO and GBO have conducted a joint technical development program, resulting in a set of highly successful pilot radar observations. We are seeking a strong leader with significant radar experience to initiate a new division focused on instrument development and science operation planning for (a) a planned high-power transmitter system to be placed on the Green Bank Telescope, and (b) transmitter systems based on phased arrays of antennas. In both areas, NRAO/GBO plan to develop significant new capabilities in coming years.


This is an opportunity for an experienced technical manager or scientist with a track record of management and leadership in radar science, to take on an influential role creating the radar division in NRAO/GBO, and lead the development of these important new scientific capabilities for the US research community. The Division Head/Radar (DH/R) is responsible for the overall management of the division, including staff supervision and annual budgeting/reporting to Observatory management and key agency (NSF, other) stakeholders. The position will initially focus on radar concept development, design and prototyping, and the ideal candidate will be experienced in some or all of the following areas:


  • Signal Processing/Radar data reduction
  • RF / Microwave Systems
  • Project/Program Management
  • End-to-end experience of bistatic/monostatic radar systems, including instrument design, construction and operation, testing and validation of instruments, and data post-processing into scientifically useful information.


The appointee will be responsible for developing a program (including instrument plans) which satisfies the needs of the stakeholders, and introduces as much commonality as possible in the NRAO/GBO software and hardware systems to provide a unified experience and to minimize development and maintenance costs, while respecting any mandates associated with the funding. NRAO/GBO are committed to developing science-ready data products and a community-accessible archive for radar science.


The DH/Radar reports to the Director of the Central Development Lab and coordinates high-level activities with the GBO Engineering team. The successful candidate may be offered a scientific appointment depending on background, interest, and experience.


In addition to competitive pay, NRAO provides excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective first day of employment. NRAO’s retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participant’s base pay. No contribution is required of the employee; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions.


Job Duties Summary

In general, the DH/R is responsible for the specification, design, construction and implementation of new radar systems for NRAO and GBO, including hardware, software and science operations requirements. Liaising with the research community and key partners in the radar developments will be an important part of the role.  Hiring and supervising other members of the Radar Division will be required.


Specific duties include:

  • Lead the design, construction and implementation of the hardware and software needed to deliver radar Science Ready Data Products, enhancing NRAO and GBO science operations and provide higher-level, high quality radar data products for users of NRAO and GBO.
  • Design, initiate and manage a radar data processing pipeline system for NRAO & GBO.
  • Assist with the development, then delivery, of a program of radar science for NRAO and GBO.
  • Ensure that community needs are being met through various mechanisms, including advisory and user committees and specific working groups.
  • Be aware of developments in the rest of the radar/radio astronomy community, establishing collaborations where mutually beneficial. In particular, seek partnerships for NRAO and GBO in other radar initiatives.
  • Work with the ngVLA project to ensure that the radar design elements of that program is well positioned to contribute to the research community in years to come.
  • Ensure that radar data processing, algorithm R&D and hardware acceleration investigation receives attention even in the face of pressing operational priorities.
  • Oversee a process that polls relevant stakeholders for development priorities, balance them against internal needs and observatory priorities, and communicates the results.
  • Ensure that projects overseen by the Radar Division are planned and completed within established controls and according to Observatory priorities, in collaboration with the NRAO Program Management Department.
  • Assist in the preparation and review of Observatory planning and reporting documents, including annual program plan, budget, risk register, metrics, and strategic and long-­range plans.
  • Ensure proactive compliance with NRAO and government safety policies and procedures.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


Work Environment

Work is typically performed in a research or development environment. Must be able to travel both domestically and internationally by air carrier. The appointee will be based in either Charlottesville, VA, or Green Bank, WV, and will be expected to travel periodically to the other location. Partial teleworking arrangements will be considered.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

Master’s degree, or an equivalent combination of experience and education.


Minimum Experience

At least five years’ experience in related field managing scientists, engineers and technicians. Experience with all phases of instrument delivery, including specification, design, construction and commissioning. Broad experience in radar algorithm and data reduction systems is expected.


Preferred Education

PhD in astronomy, radar science or engineering, physics or a closely related field is required.


Preferred Experience

Outstanding scientific, technical and managerial achievements within the field of radar and/or radio astronomy. Experience with directing multiple groups in a coordinated program. Experience overseeing radar instrumentation development and support. Direct knowledge of one or more of: telescope/transmitter control systems, radar/radio astronomy data processing, high-performance computing, radar/radio interferometry algorithms, science operations systems. Experience with large multi-discipline construction projects.


Competency Summary

Must possess excellent analytical, communication and organizational skills. Must be able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing. Strong leadership ability is required.


Application Instructions:

Select the Apply button. You will need to be prepared to create an account and upload your CV/resume and a cover letter. Please also include the names and email addresses of three references.

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 http://jobs.jobvite.com/nrao/jobs. 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].



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