Science Instruments Project Manager

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Thursday, November 10, 2022
Archive Date: 
Thursday, December 8, 2022
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Engineering
Institution Classification/Type: 
TMT International Observatory, LLC
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project has been established to design, build and eventually operate an Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) with a primary mirror diameter of 30 meters. ELT’s will be the successors of the present day 8-10 meter telescopes. When complete the TMT will be one of the most powerful ground-based optical/infrared telescope in the world, providing the capability to study exciting astronomical problems from the nature of extra-solar planets to the first stars in the universe. An international collaboration consisting of the University of California, the California Institute of Technology, Canada, Japan, India and China has been formed to deliver this exciting observatory.

The Astro2020 Decadal Survey report ranked the US-ELT Program (USELTP including TMT, Giant Magellan Telescope, and NOIRLab) the top priority for ground astronomy.  As such, TMT is working with USELTP in a review process to enable NSF investment that will make USELTP accessible for the entire US astronomy community.

The TMT Project Offices are located in Pasadena, CA, and Hilo, HI, USA. The development of the various telescope systems will be distributed amongst the TMT partner institutions, collaborators, industry, and the Project Office. The TMT project will be completed and ready for science operations in early 2030s.

Reporting to the Science Instruments Group Leader, the Science Instrument Project Managers will play pivotal roles in the delivery of TMT’s early light instruments. The TMT project is looking for individuals who are self-motivated team players and excited by the opportunity to work on a highly visible, world class, international project that will significantly advance our understanding of the universe. The successful candidate will have the vision, experience, and dedication to ensure the successful delivery of their assigned instrument and will be proactive and innovative in his/her approach to meeting project goals within the constraints of schedule and budget.

For additional details and to see the latest about the project, please visit:

Job Summary
The TMT project includes the development of three science instruments to be delivered for use at the TMT Observatory at first light. These include IRIS, the Infra-Red Imaging Spectrograph, WFOS, the Wide-Field Optical Spectrograph, and MODHIS, the Multi-Objective Diffraction-limited High-Resolution Infrared Spectrograph. Each instrument is being designed and built by an international consortium, according to the requirements, and the overall budget and schedule, as defined by the TMT Project Office.

The Project Office is currently recruiting up to two Science Instrument Project Managers to oversee the development of IRIS and WFOS, respectively. A Science Instrument Project Manager serves the dual role of providing contract oversight from within the TMT Project Office and as the instrument’s overall Project Manager. Significant travel is expected as part of this position, including trips to Canada, China, Japan, India, and to the observatory site on the Big Island of Hawaii during the integration and commissioning phase of the project. These positions are based at the Project Office in Pasadena, CA.

About the instruments for these two positions

IRIS is an adaptive optics (AO)-assisted imager and spectrograph. IRIS is envisioned as a workhorse instrument designed to enable a broad range of science at TMT’s first light. Specifically, IRIS offers a diffraction-limited imager that relays the on-axis portion of its beam to an integral field spectrograph with a range of spatial sampling. To maximize its utility, IRIS includes a broad range of filters and gratings. As an AO-assisted instrument, IRIS also includes three on-instrument wavefront sensors and further provides its own field de-rotation. IRIS is currently in its final design phase.

WFOS is an optical imaging spectrograph and envisioned as a workhorse instrument that operates over a wide field-of-view in a seeing-limited capacity. The WFOS instrument is currently in the early phase of its preliminary design, and will be the second TMT first light instrument. WFOS will offer multi-object spectroscopy for science targets selected from within its field. The dual channel spectrograph is capable of delivering resolution of ~1500 over the entire optical wavelength range in a exposure.

The following is a list of job duties, minimum requirements and knowledge, skills and abilities a candidate for the position of Science Instrument Project Manager.

Job Duties

  • Function as the instrument’s overall Contract and Project Manager with full authority on all aspects and through all phases of instrument design and construction. You will be responsible to ensure the ultimate delivery of an instrument that meets requirements, on schedule and within budget.
  • Provide detailed weekly management of the instrument’s lead team and foster a collaborative environment between the Project Office and the other leads including the Principal Investigator (PI), Project Scientist (PS), Systems Engineer (SE), the instrument’s science team and various subsystem leads.
  • Coordinate communication and negotiation between the instrument team and other parts of the TMT project as needed, e.g. to define interfaces.
  • Serve as the key point of contact within the TMT Project Office for all matters related to the status of the instrument development effort.
  • Negotiate and prepare Work Packages including drafting Statement of Work documents for each development phase.
  • Lead or support the creation of instrument budgets and schedules; while ensuring feasibility and alignment with the TMT processes and the overall integrated project plan.
  • Monitor and promote instrument team compliance with TMT standards for Earned Value Reporting, System Engineering, Documentation, Quality Assurance, and Environment, Safety, and Health requirements, in collaboration with the responsible TMT Project Office staff.
  • Manage the subsystem risk register.
  • Lead or support the development of plans for design and acceptance test reviews. As required, oversee the implementation of the plans, attend and participate in the instrument review meetings, and lead the instrument’s response to the committee reports.
  • Produce summary slides and progress reports for the Science Instruments Group Leader for inclusion in presentations to the SAC and Board. Attend and participate, as required, in SAC and other meetings and represent your instrument at public forums.
  • Participate in reviews of other TMT subsystems.
  • Participate in and be a champion for Project DEI initiatives.
  • As required, support other priorities as they arise within the TMT science instrument group.
  • Ensure adequate resources for the instrument team to succeed.

Minimum Requirements

  • A Bachelor's degree in an engineering discipline or an advanced degree in physics. Equivalent work experience will also be considered.
  • At least 5 years of experience managing the design and construction of advanced scientific or engineering instrumentation; experience with astronomical instrumentation and exposure to internationally distributed teams are both highly desirable.
  • Knowledge of contract management and procurement practices for large value technical contracts.
  • Experience in negotiating and developing statements of work is highly desirable.
  • Experience in developing and monitoring schedules and budgets for technical projects; exposure to earned value reporting is highly desirable.
  • Excellent negotiation skills and a demonstrated ability to foster effective team cooperation.
  • Knowledge of systems engineering practices for large scientific or high-technology projects.
  • Self-motivated and capable to perform and deliver with minimal direction.
  • Excellent oral and written English communication skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to generate clear and concise technical documents and presentations.
  • Demonstrated ability to present programmatic and technical information clearly at meetings and reviews.
  • An ability to travel frequently both domestically and abroad.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

  • Demonstrated ability to multitask.
  • Experience with risk management.
  • Experience organizing and conducting design reviews and acceptance tests.
  • Knowledge of modern engineering tools commonly used in opto-mechanical design such as SolidWorks, Zemax, etc. Knowledge of spectrograph design would be considered an asset.
  • Familiarity with engineering analysis methods e.g. FEA would be considered an asset.
  • Familiarity with astronomical instrumentation, large ground-based telescopes or observatory management would be considered a significant asset.
  • Knowledge of Hawai’i cultural and natural resources concerns and issues as well as previous experience on Mauna Kea would be considered an asset.
  • Familiarity with Mandarin and/or Japanese would be considered an asset.

TMT offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package, including impressive retirement plans. If you are interested in applying for employment with TMT, please apply online.

TMT is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Included Benefits: 

TMT offers a competitive salary and a comprehensive benefits package, including impressive retirement plans.

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Selection Deadline: 
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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Attention To: 
Cynthia Zhang
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