Deputy Assistant Director - NAASC (4730)

Executive Management Charlottesville, Virginia


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) invites applications for an experienced scientist and manager to lead the North American ALMA Science Center (NAASC). The Deputy Assistant Director of NAASC is responsible for the leadership and delivery of all aspects of the NA ALMA science operations program. This portfolio includes the North American ALMA Regional Center (NA ARC) support for the ALMA Observatory, support of the North American community in their use of ALMA, and the fostering of the NAASC as a resource and center for scientific excellence for ALMA research in North America.


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. The NAASC is the science operations division of North American ALMA, a department of NRAO. Other groups within NA ALMA provide offsite hardware and software support for ALMA, the development of new instrumentation and capabilities, construction warranty and infrastructure support, and business, human resource, project, and EPO support in Chile. The NAASC operates within the NRAO organizational framework, in which some services are provided via matrixed relationships from other departments, including the Data Management and Software Department, Science Support and Research, and Diversity and Inclusion, among others.


The responsibilities of the NAASC include the internationally-agreed NA ARC deliverables, which are those science support activities provided by each partner region in support of ALMA. These activities include call-for-proposal support, user documentation, software testing, Astronomers-on-Duty, scheduling block preparation, contact scientist support, technical diagnostic support, CASA and Pipeline testing, and data analyst support that includes NA data delivery. The NAASC also supports a robust program of NA community outreach, which includes training programs such the ALMA Ambassadors, face-to-face visitor support, a user helpdesk, and the organization and sponsorship of ALMA-related conferences and workshops. The NAASC also serves as the focal point for ALMA research in North America, providing a resource for scientific and technical expertise in ALMA, training of students and postdocs, hosting sabbaticals and shorter scientific visits, and fostering the scientific research breadth and excellence of its staff.


Job Duties Summary

The NAASC Head will be a member of the NRAO scientific staff and report to the Director of NA ALMA. The ideal candidate for this position will be responsible for, but not limited to:


  • Provide leadership for, and ensure delivery of the full scientific program of the NAASC.
  • Ensure an effective organizational structure of the NAASC, in consultation with the NA ALMA Director.
  • Manage group leads in charge of NAASC functional areas, and manage other direct reports as required.
  • Communicate status updates and plans to NAASC staff via informational meetings, emails, etc.
  • Ensure that the NA ALMA user community are informed of important news and developments on a regular and timely basis
  • Provide plans, reports, presentations, and highlights, as required
  • Participate in programmatic planning, and ensure that requirements and objectives are communicated effectively to NA ALMA and NRAO management
  • Provide overall leadership to the NAASC staff and help to ensure that the staff’s scientific and work environment are positive and productive
  • Ensure that NA ARC staff develop and maintain a good working knowledge of all end-user systems supported by the ARC
  • Work effectively and collaboratively within the NRAO management framework, and participate in, and contribute to NRAO-wide activities, as appropriate
  • Maintain a scientific research program, leading by example


Work Environment

The position is based at the NAASC in Charlottesville, Virginia. An on-site presence is required for this position, but remote work may be possible for a small fraction of time. Domestic and international travel is required.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

A PhD in astronomy, physics, or a related field.


Minimum Experience

  • 8 years of post-doctoral or equivalent experience in astronomy or closely-related field
  • Established and recognized record of independent research
  • Demonstrated experience in the management and leadership of scientific programs
  • Strong oral and written communications skills

Preferred Experience:

  • Research expertise in interferometric radio/millimeter/submillimeter astronomy, especially with ALMA
  • Management of a science operations group, including budget and staff management experience
  • Leadership of a scientific research group



The Observatory has determined that all employees who intend to be physically present in the facilities and employees who work in safety sensitive positions are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in accordance with our AUI vaccine policy and provide proof of full vaccination prior to your start date. A selected applicant may request consideration for an accommodation for a disability or a sincerely held religious belief.


Application Instructions:


Select the Apply button. You will need to be prepared to upload the following items as a single PDF document:


  1. Cover letter describing your interest and vision for this position, how your education and experience, and match to the qualificiation listed.
  2. Curriculum vitae and publication list
  3. Names of three inidviduals who can serve as references


The deadline for receipt of applications is June 30, 2022.


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].



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