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Deputy Director for Development


  • Organization: ESO - European Southern Observatory
  • Location: Santiago
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2023-04-23

The JAO invites applications for the role of Deputy Director for Development. ALMA is currently executing an ambitious program based on the ALMA 2030 Development Roadmap that will upgrade the scientific capabilities of the observatory and keep ALMA at the forefront of astrophysical discoveries. The development focus today is the Wide-band Sensitivity Upgrade (WSU) to broaden the instantaneous observing bandwidth of the complete ALMA signal chain by up to 4x and enhance the sensitivity and performance of the receivers, electronics and digital systems. This is an ambitious upgrade to the complete ALMA signal chain, from the receiver systems all the way through to the data archive and data processing, that will increase the scientific capabilities of the ALMA Observatory across all areas of astrophysical discovery.

The three ALMA Executives are responsible for development projects in each of their respective regions and bring forward projects to be integrated into the ALMA Observatory. The primary role of the Deputy Director for Development will be the leadership and management of the JAO Development Team (JDT) and to ensure compliance of all ALMA development projects with the overall WSU system requirements, and the successful integration and verification testing of the each of the projects into the ALMA observatory. This will require collaboration and coordination of the JDT activities with those at the three ALMA Executives via the ALMA Management Team (AMT) and within the departments of engineering, computing and science operations at the JAO.

It is expected that candidates for the position will have considerable (15+ years) experience with high-technology development projects, ideally involving multi-national stakeholders. Experience with projects related to astronomy would be considered a strong asset. This position will report to the ALMA Director.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • Lead the JAO Development Team (JDT), that includes currently a Project Manager, System Engineer and Software architects and is expected to grow, to successfully achieve the goals and objectives of ALMA2030, particularly the WSU project, using Project Management and System Engineering approaches.
  • Coordinate and collaborate with the ALMA Management Team (AMT), consisting of the ALMA Program Directors at each of the ALMA Executives, in order to ensure compliance of all ALMA development subprojects being developed and delivered by the Executives with the overall WSU system requirements.
  • Ensure that all project planning is consistent with system engineering plans and concepts (including ensuring that requirements are verified, interfaces appropriately updated, gateway reviews executed, commissioning plans and acceptance guidelines followed).
  • Ensure that the communications at all levels of the project are correctly planned and followed.
  • In collaboration with the Health, Safety. Security & Environment Team and the ALMA Director, ensure work environments are appropriate and safe for staff and contractors.
  • Through liaison with the operations-facing departments at the JAO and in the ALMA Executives, enable appropriate and timely integration, Assembly & Integration Verification (AIV) and Commissioning & Science Verification (CSV) activities related to deliverables of the ALMA Development Program;
  • Provide the ALMA Director with appropriate analyses and advice on development issues, policies and the long-term ALMA development program as may be required for discussion with the ALMA Board and other Committees.
  • Supports actions of the Department Heads 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. 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 and international travel will be required.

Professional Requirements/Qualifications

Applicants for this position shall fulfill the following requirements:

  • Minimum of a Bachelor's degree in astronomy, physics, computer science, engineering or a related field (master's degree or PhD would be considered an asset)
  • Minimum 15 years of demonstrated experience in project leadership and/or system engineering in high-technology science-related projects.
  • Established record of management, including budget and staff management
  • 10 years or more experience of leading large, diverse and multi-national, multi-cultural teams
  • Excellent interpersonal and communicational skills, and a demonstrable ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships at all levels
  • A Project Management Professional (PMP) and/or System Engineering certification is an asset

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. 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 one of someone who was a supervisor, a peer and a direct report statement of research plans.

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 NAOJ are invited to apply via e-mail to

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

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.