DKIST Deputy Associate Director

Job Summary

Science Management
AURA/National Solar Observatory
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement

Job Description

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a consortium of over 40 US institutions and four 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’s National Solar Observatory (NSO), Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) completed construction and started operations on November, 2021 on the summit of Haleakala. DKIST is the world's largest, most advanced solar telescope and will help resolve the fundamental interactions between solar magnetic fields and the dynamic atmospheric plasma on scales below 0.1 arcsec over entire active regions.

AURA and the National Solar Observatory is hiring for a DKIST Deputy Associate Director. This role will assist the DKIST Associate Director (AD) in their duties and in dealing with internal and external affairs of the Observatory. 

Essential Functions:

General Management: 

  • Support and assist the DKIST AD in the discharge of his/her duties and assist with internal and external affairs of the DKIST Observatory, including:
    • Support interactions with science community, including but not limited to planning of workshops, operations of DKIST TAC.
    • Representing the program at National meetings and on AURA and NSO governance bodies, liaising with the DKIST Participants on their requirements for the DKIST Observatory.
  • Coordinate with the DKIST AD and the NSO Directorate to advance DKIST mission.
  • Support the DKIST AD in the facilities transition to steady state operations.

Planning and Budget Management:

  • Support the DKIST AD in the strategic planning of observatory affairs, preparation of the annual program plan and the reporting on the Cooperative Agreement with the NSF.
  • Prepare and report on plans and budgets.
  • Provide oversight of DKIST Functional areas.

Communications and Governance:

  • Support DKIST’s strategic communications, internal and external communications.
  • Support preparations for oversight committees and NSF Reviews.
  • Must be willing to spend significant time at all DKIST sites (CO, HI).

Other Functions: 

  • Other duties as assigned

Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • PhD in astronomy or closely related field
  • Leadership experience with operations and instrument programs of astronomical telescopes would be of advantage.

Skills Required:

  • Internationally recognized scientist with broad interests beyond the field of research
  • Familiarity with ground-based and/or space-based observatory operations
  • Demonstrated strategic and analytical thinking skills
  • Motivation and ability to identify and implement new strategic directions for the Observatory in a team environment
  • Strong personnel-staff management skills
  • Experience with preparing budgets
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Effective technical writing and public speaking communication skills

Experience Required:

  • At least 10 years post PhD experience as research scientist, preferably in astronomy, or other related scientific field-discipline.
  • With a minimum of 5 years' experience working in a management leadership position (in a university, an observatory, and/or an equivalent science or research organization).
  • Extensive experience in people, personnel-staff management, and leadership skills.
  • Must have a valid Driver's License; clean driving record

Preferred Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Enthusiasm for scientific discoveries and for observational astronomy;
  • Strong background in solar astronomy
  • Creativity, innovation, and a dedication to serving the community.
  • Excellent people management skills and building high performance teams.
  • Aptitude for dealing with strategic and tactical problems and issues.
  • Ability to communicate with a wide variety of DKIST staff, Board members, oversight and advisory committee members, and users and partners.

Physical Demands:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and talk or hear.
  • The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; reach with hands and arms and stoop; kneel; crouch; or crawl.
  • The employee must regularly lift and /or move up to 10 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds.
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, depth perception, ability to differentiate colors, and ability to adjust focus.
  • Must possess - sufficient mobility, strength, or dexterity in both arms and hands and both legs to a) reach upward, sideways, downward to work with paper files; b) sufficient mobility and dexterity to utilize computer systems, fax machines, copiers, and other office machines.
  • Must possess – 1) ability to read and understand instructions, drawings, safety guides, and other written materials necessary to perform job; 2) sufficient visual capacity to perform the applicable functions without assistance of visual aids other than contact lens or eyeglasses; 3) sufficient spoken aural capacity to hear and understand instructions, warning bells, fire alarms, or shouted instructions without assistance of auditory aids other than a hearing aid; and 4) ability to impart information orally so that others understand and can respond appropriately.
  • Ability to work at 10,000’ elevation, sometimes during inclement weather, is required.
  • Travel between the mainland US and Hawaiian Islands will be necessary.


We  offer an excellent benefits package and competitive salary. Highlights:

  • Health Benefits – Start first on the month following hire
  • Retirement Options:
    • 401(a) Money Purchase Pension Plan / 10% Employer Contribution
    • 403(b) / Your own retirement contribution
  • Paid Time Off:
    • Vacation / Accrual of up to 24 days per/yr.
    • Paid Sick Leave / 8 hour per/mo.
    • Holiday Time / 10 days per/yr.

And much more so please explore:

  • Our benefits at:
  • All career opportunities through our website at:

Salary Range: $160,000-$200,000 dependent on experience and qualifications.

COVID-19 Policy Update: AURA has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy that requires all employees to be vaccinated, unless qualified for an exemption based on medical or religious reasons.  All new employees will be required to comply with this policy and will be required to present proof of full vaccination (with booster, if eligible) or submit a completed request (including supporting documents, if applicable) for an exemption at least five (5) business days prior to their start of employment.  Individuals who fail to meet this deadline may have their employment start date delayed. 

This is a requirement for all employees working onsite or from home (telework or hybrid remote work schedule).  Currently the vaccination requirement does not apply to any future AURA employees working in Chile, regardless of their nationality or type of contract.

Qualified internal candidates will be given preference. AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA 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 

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. 

Application Details

Publication Start Date
2022 Oct 25
Application Deadline
2022 Nov 22
Reference Code