Deputy Director for Operation

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, May 2, 2023
To event remaining 41 days
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Management
Institution Classification/Type: 
ALMA Observatory
Department Name: 
ADO - ALMA Director's Office
Job Announcement Text: 

ALMA Vacancy Notice

The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) invites applications for the position of:

Deputy Director for Operations

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is a millimeter/submillimeter interferometer consisting of 66 antennas located at 5000 m altitude on the Llano de Chajnantor in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. It is equipped with receivers covering the atmospheric windows between 35 and 950 GHz.  ALMA is an international partnership of the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO representing its member states), National Science Foundation (NSF USA) and National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS Japan), together with National Research Council (NRC Canada) and the National Science & Technology Council and Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA Taiwan), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile.

The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) is operated by ESO, Associated Universities Inc/National Radio Astronomy Observatory (AUI/NRAO) and the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), and is responsible for ALMA operations in Chile.

The JAO is looking for a candidate for the role of Deputy Director for Operations, to take responsibility for ALMA operations in Chile and coordinate ALMA operations support provided by each of the three ALMA Executive regions.  It is expected that candidates for the position will have extensive experience (15+ years) working in astronomy, and considerable (8+ years) direct experience with interferometer array operations, ideally at millimeter/submillimeter wavelengths.  This position will report to the ALMA Director.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • Lead the operations of the ALMA Observatory:
    • Coordination of all operations activities at the Joint ALMA Observatory in Chile, and through cooperation and coordination with the three ALMA Executives via the ALMA Management Team (AMT); this position chairs the AMT.
    • Leadership and management of the Heads of Engineering, Science Operations and Computing at the JAO in delivering ALMA observatory operations in support of the observation cycle;
    • Oversight for planning, implementation and execution of all activities required for each observing Cycle.


  • Lead the assessment and optimization of the performance of the Observatory:
    • Establishes quantitative metrics, guidelines, and standards by which the Observatory’s efficiency and effectiveness can be evaluated and identifies opportunities for improvement;
    • Reviews, analyzes, and evaluates operational processes;
    • Implements policies and procedures that will improve day-to-day operations;
    • Provides timely operations performance evaluations;
    • Executes improvements with available resources, leading to sustainable operations of the Observatory.
  • In collaboration with the ALMA Director and the Health, Safety, Security & Environment department, ensure work environments are appropriate and safe for staff and contractors;
  • Collaborate with the Development teams, both at the JAO and the ALMA Executives, in enabling appropriate and timely integration, Assembly & Integration Verification (AIV) and Commissioning & Science Verification (CSV) activities related to deliverables of the ALMA Development Program;
  • Collaborate with the ALMA Director and the JAO Head of Administration in planning, forecasting, implementing and execution of the JAO operations budget;
  • Provide the ALMA Director with appropriate analyses and advice on operational issues as may be required for discussion with the ALMA Board and other Committees;
  • Supports actions as may be required by the ALMA Director and the Director’s Office;
  • Act as the ALMA Director’s representative, as may be required.

Duty Station / Location of Position

The duty station is the Santiago Office. International travel and travel to the ALMA operations site near San Pedro de Atacama: the Operations Support Facility (OSF) at 2900 m and the Array Operations Site (AOS) located on the Llano de Chajnantor at 5000 m altitude will be required.

Professional Requirements/Qualifications

Applicants for this position shall fulfill the following requirements:

  • PhD in astronomy or physics;
  • 15 years or more experience working in astronomy;
  • 8 years or more years of direct and demonstrable operations experience at a radio interferometer facility, ideally operating at millimeter wavelengths;
  • Established record of operations management, including budget and staff management;
  • Experience working with a multi-national and multi-cultural distribution of stakeholders;
  • 10 years of demonstrable experience successfully leading and managing teams;
  • Established record of scientific leadership in the international community.

Due to requirements of work at high altitudes, a successful high-altitude medical examination is a necessary condition of employment for this position.


  • Excellent interpersonal and communicational skills, and a demonstrable ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships at all levels.
  • Leadership, creative thinking, problem-solving, detail-oriented, motivated, and proactive team player;
  • Political intelligence and influence, being able to manage internal and external stakeholder relationships;
  • Capacity to work under pressure and ability to multi-task and manage various project elements simultaneously;
  • Strong ability to lead and engage teams that are culturally diverse and geographically distributed.

Working conditions

  • The position is based at Santiago (SCO), in a 5x2 schedule;
  • International travel and travel to the ALMA operations site near San Pedro de Atacama: the Operations Support Facility (OSF) at 2900 m and the Array Operations Site (AOS) located on the Llano de Chajnantor at 5000 m altitude will be required;
  • Physical health compatible with high-altitude conditions. A successful High Altitude Medical Exam is a necessary condition of employment;
  • Work is performed typically in an administrative environment, mainly indoors;

The selected candidate will be assigned to the JAO as an International Staff Member, employed by one of chosen ALMA Executives contract (NRAO, ESO, NAOJ).

Starting Date

As soon as possible.

Application and contracts
ALMA International Staff will be recruited as employees of ESO, AUI/NRAO or NAOJ. Each of these employers offer competitive remuneration packages including a competitive salary as well as comprehensive social benefits, and provide financial support in relocating families. Furthermore, if applicable, an expatriation allowance as well as some other allowances will be added.

ALMA International Staff Members will be engaged to work at the JAO through one of the Executives: ESO, AUI/NRAO or NAOJ. Candidates should apply through the Recruitment Portal(s) from one of the three ALMA Executive (ESO, AUI/NRAO, NAOJ). The successful candidates will receive contract offers from one or more of the Executives depending on their preferences and the availability of positions at the JAO.

Applications must be completed in English and should include a cover letter describing interest in the position, including a detailed description of the candidate’s previous experience and how it relates to the position and requirements described above.

The candidate must send a Curriculum Vitae, as well as names and contact details of a minimum of three references considering at least one from each of a supervisor, a peer, and a direct report.

Details of the application process and information about conditions and remuneration are provided in the Recruitment Portals of the ALMA partners:

Applicants submitting their application to ESO are invited to apply online at

Applicants submitting their application to NRAO are invited to apply online at

Applicants submitting their application to NAOJ are invited to apply via e-mail to [email protected]

Deadline for receipt of applications to be considered is April 23rd, 2023.

ESO, NRAO, and NAOJ are Equal Opportunity Employers.

For further information please consult (, as well as the ESO, NRAO, and NAOJ

Home Pages (, (, or

Application Deadline: 
Sunday, April 23, 2023
Selection Deadline: 
Monday, April 24, 2023
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Felipe Salinas
Human Resources Officer
ALMA Observatory
Department Name: 
Human Resources
Zip/Postal Code: 
56 9 39521978
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Felipe Salinas
Application for Deputy Director for Operation Position