Project Manager

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, March 19, 2021
Archive Date: 
Friday, April 16, 2021
To event remaining 2 days
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Institution Classification/Type: 
Gemini Observatory
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

NSF’s NOIRLab has immediate openings for two or more Project Managers within the Development Division of the international Gemini Observatory.  Gemini Project Managers primarily support instrumentation development efforts and have opportunities to work a portion of their time on operations-related projects. The project manager career path at Gemini includes five unique levels and we are particularly interested in hiring at least one candidate at a higher, more experienced level, and one at a lower, less experienced level.  At the senior levels, we have multiple needs, one of which would particularly benefit from candidates with adaptive optics experience.  At the entry levels, we are particularly interested in candidates with a background in observatory science and/or technology and an interest and some experience in project management.  In general, we prefer candidates with experience in astronomy, observatories, and/or related technologies, but will consider applicants at all levels with or without this experience.  We do not expect candidates to have experience in all our listed essential function areas, nor meet all our preferred requirements and will work with the successful candidate to develop any needed additional skills.

Current projects in Gemini include a new facility adaptive optics system for Gemini North (GNAO), three facility instrument projects (GHOST, SCORPIO, and IGRINS-2), two additional strategic facility instrument collaborations (GIRMOS and MAROON-X), and a number of instrument upgrade projects.  Active projects span the entire development lifecycle, with larger projects typically taking 7-10 years to complete.  Our largest projects involve internal work packages and multiple external contracts with total budgets up to $20-30 million USD.  The successful candidates will likely work on one or more of these projects.

We seek individuals who thrive in a culturally diverse environment.  NOIRLab is committed to diversity and inclusion. This position can be based at any of our primary locations: Hilo Hawai'i, Tucson Arizona, or La Serena Chile.

NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab) is the preeminent US national center for ground-based, nighttime optical and infrared astronomy. NOIRLab is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center  that operates as a matrix organization, providing services across a range of programs: the international Gemini Observatory, the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Kitt Peak National Observatory, and the Community Science and Data Center; with facilities in three geographic locations: Arizona, Chile and Hawai’i. The mission of NOIRLab is to enable breakthrough discoveries in astrophysics by developing and operating state-of-the-art ground-based observatories and providing data products and services for a diverse and inclusive community.  

Essential Functions:

  • Lead and perform all stages of project management including project initiation and approval; contract and statement of work development; plan development; resource allocation and scheduling; plan execution, monitoring, and control; stakeholder communication and management; cost, schedule, scope, quality, and risk management; product delivery; and closeout.
  • Help define the project’s benefits and ensure they meet the Observatory’s needs.
  • Ensure the Observatory is ready to receive the project’s product(s) and realize the intended benefits.
  • May provide relevant science and technical advice and leadership when required.
  • Actively manage team members, effectively communicating project expectations and progress to team members and stakeholders in a timely and clear fashion.
  • Provide the necessary project reports and updates to meet the Observatory’s and Lab’s tracking, managing, and reporting needs.
  • Coach, mentor, motivate and supervise project team members and contractors and influence them to take positive action and accountability for their assigned work.
  • Manage external contractors and vendors as appropriate.
  • Provide project management expertise and training to other Observatory staff and projects as needed.
  • Build, develop, and grow any business relationships vital to the success of the project.
  • Work closely with project Systems Engineers to successfully deliver the project’s products and cross-train on and support each other’s activities.
  • Develop effective partnerships with internal and external project stakeholders.
  • Obtain project resources by working with the relevant resource holders within Gemini and NOIRLab.
  • Actively prevent, identify, and resolve issues and conflicts within the project.
  • Promptly escalate project issues as needed with a recommended option or range of possible solutions.
  • Support the Observatory and NOIRLab efforts to build a mature Project Management framework through developing templates, procedures, documented best practices and lessons learned, and other related activities.

Other Functions:

  • Other duties as assigned.

Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Bachelor’s degree or greater in a related discipline, or an equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Experience working in astronomy or similar technical field
  • A working knowledge and understanding of project management processes
  • Flexibility and adaptability to work in a fluid environment
  • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary and international environment
  • High integrity and ethical behavior
  • A commitment to inclusion and valuing diversity
  • Strong teamwork and collaboration skills

Preferred Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Three or more years of relevant experience
  • PMP or PRINCE2 Practitioner certification
  • Excellent management, negotiation, and leadership abilities
  • Experience developing project contract documents and managing in accordance with them
  • Strong budget management skills
  • Proficiency with relevant computer systems, documentation and presentation tools, and project management tools like Microsoft Project.
  • Spanish language ability
  • An understanding of a broad range of astronomy science and terminology
  • Prior experience in an astronomy-related environment
  • Prior experience working with astronomical instrumentation and/or contributing technologies including software, optics, electronics, detectors, cryogenic systems, and mechanical design
  • Prior experience and knowledge of adaptive optics and related systems
  • Ability to frequently travel internationally

AURA is responsible for ensuring that access to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) controlled information is limited to those individuals meeting citizenship, residency, or licensing qualifications, and that appropriate due diligence is used to limit risk of access by others. Due to the nature of how work is performed for this position it is only open to U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents.

Please list 3 professional references in your application (references will only be contacted later in the recruitment process) and attach: a cover letter and a CV or resume, PDF files preferred. Please name any attachments with the following format: Lastname Docname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to

Veterans, disabled individuals or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process should request assistance at 

We will begin interviewing qualified candidates as we receive applications and guarantee consideration for all applications submitted by 27 April 2021. Positions will remain open until filled.

****NOIRLab has the majority of staff working remotely during COVID-19 crisis. The safety of our staff and community is our top priority. We will continue to interview and screen candidates in this new virtual landscape. Offers of employment can be extended and new hires can on-board virtually and arrangements may be made for remote work. Relocation benefits will be available to those eligible when travel can be supported**** 

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. 

Included Benefits: 

AURA offers an excellent benefits package including paid time off and retirement plan contributions, competitive salary commensurate with experience, and a very attractive work environment.

Application Deadline: 
Friday, April 16, 2021
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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