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Job Details

Requisition Number 17-0083
Post Date 4/26/2017
Title Program Manager
City Tucson
State AZ

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) manages several astronomical observatory centers (including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory and the Gemini Observatory) and construction projects (Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and Daniel. K. Inouye Solar Telescope) in the United States and Chile under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation.

The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) seeks a full-time Program Manager (PM) to work closely with the NOAO Director and Deputy Director on all aspects of managing the NOAO program. The PM shall report to the NOAO Director and be a member of the Directorate Program Management team.

The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) is the U.S. national center for ground-based optical and infrared (OIR) astronomy. In that role, NOAO operates and maintains OIR observational research facilities and related data systems in Arizona and Chile. It also coordinates and integrates observational, technical, and data-oriented capabilities provided by other U.S. federal and non-federal assets. NOAO is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), Inc., under a cooperative agreement with the NSF. NOAO consists of approximately 250 people located in Arizona and Chile and has an annual budget of approximately $35M.

At this time, AURA and NSF are collaboratively developing a plan to consolidate the existing Gemini and NOAO organizations with the future Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) operations organization into a new organization called the National Center for Optical-Infrared Astronomy (NCOA). If approved by NSF, NCOA will start operation on 1 October 2018. The successful candidate will transition along with the AURA management team into NCOA and become the NCOA PM in charge of the Program Management Office responsible for integrated program management of the entire NCOA organization. NCOA will consist of approximately 550 people located in Arizona, Chile, and Hawaii and have an annual budget of approximately $90M. If NCOA is not approved, NOAO will continue in its current form as will the NOAO PM position.

This position is based at the NOAO headquarters in Tucson, AZ, located on the campus of the University of Arizona. The NCOA headquarters and Project Management Office will be based in the same facility. AURA relies heavy on video conferencing to minimize physical travel. Nevertheless, some travel will be required. Travel within the continental U.S. (usually to the Washington/Baltimore area) will be required several times per year. At least once per year, travel to La Serena, Chile will also be required. If NCOA is approved, travel to Hawaii may also be required at least once per year.

Essential Functions:

  • Lead development of the annual Program Operating Plan (POP), with deliverables, milestones, budget, and schedule components
  • Track and control high-level programmatic milestones
  • Track and control high-level financial and schedule progress
  • Produce and deliver content for various AURA and NSF level reports
  • Present program plans and status to various AURA and NSF oversight committees
  • Track and update long-range (3 - 5 year) milestones per NOAO strategic plan
  • Manage program risk register in coordination with AURA Corporate office
  • Interface with AURA Central Administrative Services on all matters related to finances and accounting
  • Member of NOAO Executive Council, attend bi-weekly meetings
  • Represent NOAO at the annual NSF Large Facilities Workshop
  • Represent NOAO on the AURA Policies and Procedures Working Group
  • Represent NOAO on the AURA Regulatory Compliance Policy Committee (ARCPC)
  • Other activities related to the above as assigned by NOAO Director or Deputy Director.
  • 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. For detailed information on proper custodial care of government property, refer to the AURA Employee Handbook at
  • 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,


  • Undergraduate and/or graduate degrees in a science, engineering, project management, operations management, or program management area; or equivalent relevant experience
  • At least five (5) and preferable ten (10) years of experience with program management with organizations with more than 250 employees, or equivalent relevant experience.

Please list 3 professional references in your application. Please attach a statement of professional interests or cover letter and CV or resume (PDF Files preferred) to your application. Please name any attachments with the following format: 17-0083LastnameDocname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to

Application deadline is June 30, 2017. Not reviewing new applications at this time.

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 does 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. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements which are included for protection and to assist us in our recordkeeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

Preference granted to qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham reservation.

  • Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities.
  • Please view Equal Employment Opportunity Posters provided by OFCCP here.
  • The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor's legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)
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