Director of the Central Developement Laboratory (former job req 3921)

Executive Management Charlottesville, Virginia


Central Development Laboratory Director


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) seeks a new Director for its Central Development Laboratory (CDL). The CDL has a long history of developing new technology to enable forefront research in radio astronomy by the scientific community. The new Director will provide the vision and leadership to continue this tradition, and to address the key technical challenges of the next generation of instruments while maintaining the performance of current NRAO facilities at the state of the art.

Located in Charlottesville, VA, the CDL currently has a research and technical staff of approximately 50. Research and development (R&D) projects currently under way in the CDL include work on cryogenic low-noise wideband amplifiers, superconducting heterodyne receivers for millimeter to submillimeter wavelengths, designing and building electromagnetic components such as feeds and polarizers for frequencies from below 1 GHz to 1.5 THz, phased array feeds, early digitization and integration of the signal processing chain, wideband digital signal processors, and photonic signal generation & data transmission. 

The new Director of CDL is expected to ensure that the Laboratory will be engaged in R&D essential for the future needs of radio astronomy, working where appropriate in partnership with the astronomy community and industry. Where possible, the commercialization of CDL developments is expected to be a new area of focus for the Laboratory. Technology initiatives will be balanced and in appropriate context with radio astronomy development but are now an essential component of the CDL and NRAO portfolio.

The Director of CDL holds the position of an Assistant Director of the NRAO is based in Charlottesville, Virginia, and reports to the NRAO Director. (S) he is responsible for leading NRAO's technology R&D in response to the scientific needs of the Observatory.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Provide technical direction for implementing the scientific goals of the Observatory, and of radio astronomy and related fields; lead and manage the development and advancement of state of the art technologies in support of the current and future needs of the Observatory.
  • Identify and motivate the creation of new technical concepts needed to fulfill the scientific objectives of the Observatory’s program; supervise the identification and prototyping of technologies and/or components critical to the Observatory’s programs, and where resources permit, to the future of radio, millimeter, and sub-mm astronomy.
  • Identify and, where possible, pursue broader technical opportunities to extend radio science technology to associated disciplines, including opportunities for partnerships with academic and government entities, and for commercialization with industry partners.
  • Identify and seek self-sustaining funding opportunities for technical initiatives, in concert with the Observatory Director's Office and New Initiatives Office.
  • Develop program proposals and manpower plans and engage in strategic planning and implementation of related goals.
  • Supervise a program of research and technical development following best project management practices to benefit NRAO’s facilities and astronomy in general, in support of the nation's technical interests.
  • Select, train and develop staff capable of meeting current organizational needs and future requirements of the Observatory; set goals for, evaluate and review staff performance on an annual basis.
  • Ensure that projects are planned and completed within established controls and according to Observatory priorities.
  • Assist in the preparation and review of the Observatory's annual and multi-year program plans, as required.
  • Ensure proactive compliance with NRAO and government safety policies and procedures.
  • Perform other duties as assigned. 

Position Requirements:


Position Requirements:

A background in industry, the ability to work with industrial partners, and experience in technology transfer and commercialization are also highly desirable.


Minimum Education

Ph.D. degree or an equivalent combination of experience and education.

Preferred Education:

PhD in astronomy, electrical engineering, physics or a closely related field is strongly preferred

Minimum Experience:

Experience in radio astronomical instrumentation, budget planning, and project management.

Preferred Experience:

Outstanding technical and/or managerial achievements in microwave or millimeter-wave instrumentation and antennas, radio interferometry and arrays, digital signal processing, photonics, as well as an understanding of the science of radio astronomy.

A background in industry, the ability to work with industrial partners, and experience in technology transfer and commercialization are also highly desirable.

Critical Skills and Requirements:

Must possess excellent analytical, communication and organizational skills.

Must be able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.

Strong leadership ability is required.

Work Environment:

Work is typically performed in a research or development environment, but may occasionally be required to work outdoors.

Must be able to travel both domestically and internationally by air carrier.

Application Instructions:


Please combine into one PDF file and attach as your NRAO application: a curriculum vitae; bibliography if applicable; and a brief cover letter. As part of the application process, you also should provide the names and contact information of three individuals, who are familiar with your experience and abilities, for letters of reference.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Email inquiries: Faye Giles (, Human Resources. Inquiries regarding the application process may be sent to Joyce Ivory, (

The NRAO is operated by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.






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