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Observatory Director

W.M. Keck Observatory
Kamuela, Hawaii
Closing date
1 Aug 2023

Job Details

The University of California and the California Institute of Technology formed the California Association for Research in Astronomy (CARA) to construct and operate the W.M. Keck Observatory. CARA provides oversight of the operation of the Keck Observatory and its related equipment, instrumentation, support facilities and infrastructure through its Board of Directors. The CARA Board seeks a Director for the W.M. Keck Observatory (WMKO). The WMKO operates two ten-meter telescopes on the island of Hawai‘i and has a staff of about 120. The Observatory Director reports to the CARA Board and is responsible for managing the operations of the Observatory within budget so as to maximize its readiness and effectiveness for scientific research. The Director is responsible for recruiting and maintaining high quality technical and administrative staff, developing an annual budget for review and approval, and, working with the Keck Science Steering Committee and CARA Board, developing the short-range and long-range development plans for the Observatory. The Director oversees the scheduling of the telescopes for science and engineering and acts as a primary representative to the various constituencies and the general public. The Director maintains effective liaison with the CARA Board, the Science Steering Committee, the University of Hawai‘i, other scientific collaborators, the Maunakea Stewardship and Oversight Authority, and other external organizations. The Director is responsible for maintaining a community outreach effort to sustain a strong collaborative relationship with the local community and is also responsible for maintaining a public outreach office and for pursuing and managing public and private fund-raising activities, with guidance from the Board.

REQUIREMENTS: Ph.D. in the physical sciences or engineering, or equivalent relevant experience. Experience and demonstrated capabilities in managing a scientific research facility and working in a team-oriented environment are essential. The Director must also be skilled in written and oral communications and have the ability to work collaboratively among varied constituencies in order to achieve consensus.

SALARY RANGE: Dependent on background and experience and to be negotiated

STARTING DATE: 01 January 2024 or to be negotiated

GENERAL INFORMATION: The Director will be resident on the island of Hawai‘i and have his/her workstation be at the W.M. Keck Headquarters in Kamuela (Waimea), Hawai‘i. The initial term of appointment will be for five years with the possibility of renewal. Further particulars of the appointment are available on request.

APPLICATIONS: Applications (cover letter, curriculum vitae and a 1-2 page statement on the applicant’s goals and vision for leading the Keck Observatory) together with the names of three references) should be sent to the CARA Board Secretary:

CARA Board Secretary – Ms. Carol Schuil

Applications for the position will be considered beginning on 01 August 2023, and will continue until the position is filled.

The W. M. Keck Observatory is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to providing a workplace free from harassment and discrimination. We celebrate the wide diversity of backgrounds and experiences of our local and global community.


W. M. Keck Observatory

From Hawaii’s Maunakea, astronomers around the world use W. M. Keck Observatory to observe the universe with unprecedented power and precision.

The twin Keck Observatory telescopes are the world’s most scientifically productive optical and infrared telescopes. Each telescope weighs 300 tons and operates with nanometer precision. The telescopes’ primary mirrors are 10-meters in diameter and are each composed of 36 hexagonal segments that work in concert as a single piece of reflective glass.

In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii Island is surrounded by thousands of miles of thermally stable seas. The 13,796-foot Maunakea summit has no nearby mountain ranges to roil the upper atmosphere. Few city lights pollute Hawaiian night skies, and for most of the year, the atmosphere above Maunakea is clear, calm and dry -— offering the best seeing on Earth.

Find Us
W. M. Keck Observatory
California Association for Research in Astronomy
65-1120 Mamalahoa Highway
HI 96743
United States

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