Array and Operations Performance Group Manager

Job Summary

Science Management
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement
In-Person Location(s)

San Pedro de Atacama

Job Description

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded by ESO on behalf of its Member States, by NSF in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) in Taiwan, and by NINS in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI).

ALMA construction and operations are led by ESO on behalf of its Member States; by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), on behalf of North America; and by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) on behalf of East Asia. The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning, and operation of ALMA.

The successful candidate will work in the Array and Operations Performance Group within the JAO Department of Science Operations. The JAO Department of Science Operations (DSO) consists of four groups: the Array Operations Group (AOG), the Program Management Group (PMG), the Array and Operations Performance Group (AOPG), and the Data Management Group (DMG). Overall, DSO is responsible for the project preparation and data collection processes as well as data quality assurance. DSO also leads the planning of improvements to the science operations as well as participates in the Development Program as part of commissioning new capabilities.

The Array and Operations Performance Group is responsible for the definition and optimization of ALMA operations to improve its performance, the design and implementation of long-term observational strategies related to development programs and new capabilities to enhance the observatory capabilities, and provide data science support to DSO. The group currently consists of 5 Operations Astronomers, 6 Systems Astronomers, and the Data Science and Analytics Lead.

The AOPG Manager will work closely with the other DSO Managers, the Observatory Scientist, the ALMA Regional Centers, the JAO Departments of Computing and Engineering, and the ALMA Integrated Science Operations Team.

The AOPG Manager reports directly to the Head of Science Operations. The primary purpose of this position is to provide leadership and management to the Array and Operations Performance Group.

The AOPG Manager has the following responsibilities:

  1. Manage the Performance Group to develop and implement Operations Optimization and Automation processes, implement development programs, and prepare New Capabilities.
  2. Manage the operations resources dedicated to commissioning activities. The Manager will be the interface between development studies and programs and science operations.
  3. Work to provide professional development and visibility to team members and to enable their scientific research time.
  4. Coordinate support for Astronomers on Duty shifts from the Group with the PMG Manager.
  5. Prepare New Capabilities and improve existing ALMA Observing Modes to enhance efficiency and data quality.
  6. Support the Head of Science Operations in defining policies and procedures for ALMA science operations as well as in planning and coordinating science operations activities.
  7. Organize and evaluate tests of the software tools needed for optimizing science operations. Design new processes and procedures where needed.
  8. Coordinate Array diagnostics and troubleshooting.
  9. Coordinate new Cycle software validation and testing.
  10. Coordinate the cycle preparation activities with the Proposal Handling Team lead (PHT lead) for a call for proposals and deliver to the Program Management Group (PMG) the science projects ready for operations at the cycle start.
  11. Coordinate support to the ALMA Proposal Review Process, leading the technical assessments of proposals.
  12. Provide support to the ALMA call for proposals including the production of documentation and content of web pages.
  13. Provide infrastructure to support science activities of JAO science staff and visitors, and coordinate support to the JAO public outreach team.
  14. Manage the support and promotion of data science within DSO.

The successful candidate will be expected and encouraged to conduct astronomical research and/or operations related research in accordance with contractual conditions. Research in areas directed toward the use of ALMA will be strongly encouraged.

Applicants for this position shall fulfill the following requirements:

  • PhD in Astronomy or Physics.
  • At least 5 years of experience after the PhD
  • Excellent managerial and leadership skills
  • Ability to lead a high-performing team consisting of operations astronomers
  • Ability to design and innovate new processes and procedures
  • Fluency in the English language (oral and written).
  • Proven track record of scientific research

The following requirements will be considered an asset:

  • Experience in observatory science operations
  • Experience in millimeter-wavelength observations

Required Competencies:

  • Strong interpersonal communication skills
  • Ability to work in a multidisciplinary team

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

The JAO offices in Santiago and the Operations Support Facility (OSF) near San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. The successful applicant may be required to spend a significant amount of time working at the ALMA sites at OSF (2900m elevation) and occasionally at the Array Operations Site (5000m elevation).

Starting date will be as soon as possible.

Actual contractual terms will be defined by the selected employer (ESO, AUI/NRAO or NAOJ).

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 of any ALMA Executive (ESO, AUI/NRAO, NAOJ). Once the selection process is completed, each ALMA Executive will send a contract offer to the successful candidate, who needs to confirm which offer will decide to take.

For further information please consult (, as well as the ESO (, NRAO (, and/or NAOJ ( Home Pages.

ESO, NRAO, and NAOJ are Equal Opportunity Employers. The post is equally open to suitably qualified female and male applicants.

An important element in any successful employment relationship is harmony in values between an organization and its people.

The ALMA Values are:


Respect and Diversity



Applicants to any ALMA role are asked to reflect on their affinity with these values and advised they may be asked about them if called for interview.


ALMA has established diversity as an important value of the Organization, is committed to providing an equal opportunities environment, and is actively seeking to promote a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce, irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion.

Compensation and Benefits

Included Benefits

AUI’s benefits package addresses the needs of employees and their families with most benefits beginning on the first day of employment. AUI provides excellent paid time off (13 holidays, annual accrual of up to 24 vacation days and 15 sick days, additional time off for doctor/dentist visits, and 8 weeks of paid parental leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective on the first day of employment. AUI’s retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participant’s base pay with no required employee contribution; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions.

Compensation Notes

The AUI strives to attract and retain dedicated, highly qualified, competent, and motivated employees by offering competitive compensation and recognition for performance.

Factors which may affect starting pay within this range may include; education, experience, skills, competencies, other qualifications of the successful candidate, as well as internal equity and labor market conditions.

Application Details

Application Instructions
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 of any ALMA Executive (ESO, AUI/NRAO, NAOJ). Once the selection process is completed, each ALMA Executive will send a contract offer to the successful candidate, who needs to confirm which offer will decide to take.

Each application should be written in English and must include:

1. Motivational cover letter;
2. Curriculum Vitae;
3. Three reference letters.

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

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

Applicants submitting their application to NAOJ are invited to send their application and reference letters to

Deadline for receipt of applications to be considered is June 14th, 2024
Publication Start Date
2024 May 11
Application Deadline
2024 Jun 14