Associate Director of Chile Operations

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Archive Date: 
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
To event remaining 14 days
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Science Management
Institution Classification/Type: 
AURA/ Gemini Observatory
La Serena
Job Announcement Text: 

NSF’s NOIRLab has an immediate opening for an Associate Director of Chile Operations for the International Gemini Observatory. The position will be based at the Gemini South facility in La Serena, Chile. We are committed to diversity and inclusion at Gemini Observatory. Our managing organization, AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce.  Learn more at

The NSF's NOIRLab is an AURA-managed center headquartered in Tucson, Arizona that integrates the operations of the Gemini Observatory, the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, Mid-Scale Observatories (MSO), and Community Science and Data Center (CSDC) as a matrix organization with facilities in Arizona, Chile and Hawai`i.

Essential Functions of the Job: 

  • Manage the Operations budget in Chile, both directly and by delegation to Operations heads and managers, including annual planning and quarterly reporting in coordination with the Portfolio Manager 
  • Manage the functions of the Gemini’s local Science and Engineering Groups
  • Lead the site-specific efforts in developing the annual Program Operations Plan (POP) and other reporting on the state of Gemini as required by the NOIRLab and the NSF
  • As delegated by the Gemini Director, make financial commitments and payments, and implement and administer sub awards/subcontracts in support of Gemini
  • Work closely with Gemini’s local facilities staff to ensure operational needs are met
  • Be responsible for developing and fostering a diverse staff and inclusive workplace
  • Be responsible for maintaining a safe and effective work environment for Gemini’s Chile operations; Work closely with NOIRLab’s safety staff to ensure compliance with all relevant safety, health, and environmental policies, regulations, and best practices
  • Identify and implement organizational improvements
  • Inform Director and Deputy Director in a timely manner of any major issues as they arise

In coordination and close communication with the Associate Director of Hawai’i Site, the Associate Director of Chile Operations will:

  • Be responsible for recommending Observatory operations policies, both internal and external, to the Director for approval
  • Be responsible for the effective operation of Gemini distributed support model
  • Be responsible for effective sharing of resources between GN and GS and for minimizing duplication of effort
  • Coordinate closely with Heads of Software and IT to ensure operational needs are met and observatory strategic priorities addressed

As a member of the Gemini Directorate, the Associate Director of Chile Operations will:

  • Work effectively with the Gemini Directorate to advance Gemini’s mission
  • Prepare material for and participate in Gemini Board, advisory/oversight bodies, national/international scientific organizations and meetings
  • Participate in resource allocation and planning meetings and processes
  • Provide advice to the Gemini Director and Deputy Director on strategic Observatory issues

Other Activities and Functions:

  • All AURA employees are responsible for the proper management and control of all AURA property within their work area, whether assigned to them or someone else. This responsibility includes reporting any known missing, stolen, or non-working property in their work area to their supervisor or the AURA Property Officer.
  • Responsible for ensuring compliance with government award terms and conditions assigned to this position or subordinates of this position as defined in the Vela Award Management system
  • Assist and coordinate with Hawai`i Facilities Operations (HFOps) group in support of special events
  • Other duties as assigned

Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • D. in Astronomy or Physics or a related field.
  • 10 or more years of experience as an observational astronomer
  • Knowledge of theoretical and observational approaches to exploring the origins and astrophysical properties of celestial objects and the Universe 
  • Familiarity with spectroscopy, direct imaging and ground-based observing 
  • Proficiency with astronomical software and data reduction techniques 
  • An ability to communicate with a wide variety of Gemini staff, Board members, oversight and advisory committee members, NGO staff, visiting observers and remote  investigators throughout the Gemini partnership is essential.   
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • An aptitude for dealing with strategic and tactical problems and issues is necessary. 
  • Must be able to work effectively in a culturally diverse, multinational environment.   
  • Must possess the motivation and ability to identify and implement new strategic directions for the Observatory in a team environment.  
  • Must be able to work independently and in a team environment. 
  • Must be fluent in English 
  • Experience in personnel and budget management 
  • Demonstrated strategic thinking skills 
  • Strong personnel management skills 
  • Effective technical writing and public speaking communication skills 
  • Advanced computer literacy 
  • Outstanding judgment and ability to communicate firmly when issues of safety of personnel or equipment are apparent 

Preferred Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

Given the nature of the NSF's NOIRLab organization, proficiency in spoken Spanish and experience in a matrix environment are valued.

*NOIRLab has the majority of staff working virtually during the 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 will on-board virtually once they are resident in the La Serena area. 

Submission materials: Please include a CV or resume, a cover letter detailing your professional interests and qualifications for the position, and at least 3 professional references. Application deadline is June 1, 2021

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

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a consortium of over 40 US institutions and three international affiliates that operates world-class astronomical observatories. AURA’s role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research. AURA is responsible for managing the operations of the NSF’s NOIRLab, the National Solar Observatory, and the construction of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation and operations of the Space Telescope Science Institute under contracts with NASA.

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 and all of the centers, do 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: 
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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