Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic & Space Sciences in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan


SPRL Assistant Director Position Opening

Posted: October 19, 2012

NOTE: Job posting is now closed.

The Space Physics Research Laboratory (SPRL) is seeking applications for the position of Assistant Director.

University space research activities, such as those conducted in the Space Physics Research Laboratory, are the foundation of space science research in the United States. They provide intellectual stimulus for many advances in space research as well as the new instrumentation, data analysis, and the next generation of scientists and engineers on which the future of the space program will depend.

The Space Physics Research Laboratory has been a leader in theses areas since its establishment in the early post-war years. Its original mandate - the in-depth experimental and theoretical study of the natural world using state-of-the-art instruments and models - has remained a constant over the many intervening years. The earliest work at SPRL involved captured World War II V-2 rockets. Using these and other space-borne platforms, SPRL scientists and engineers pioneered measurements in the Earth's upper atmosphere and ionosphere, helping to write the textbooks on atmospheric science and aeronomy. SPRL subsequently expanded into the fields of planetary atmospheres, solar and heliospheric physics, and oceanography. During the most recent years, SPRL faculty and engineers have built more than 30 space instruments, instrumented numerous sounding rockets, balloons and aircraft, and developed ground-based instruments.

Over its more than six decades, the laboratory has maintained a strong reputation as one of a handful of university centers able to conceive, design, construct, test, operate and analyze data from space flight instruments - a truly "end-to-end" operation. It has also established tremendous strengths in theory and modeling, with interest spanning interdisciplinary studies of the earth, planets, and other objects and plasma regions within and beyond the solar system.

More information is available at:

To apply for this position, which is posted as Research Senior Supervisor, please go to: and keyword search for job posting number 75195


PERSONNEL: Develop staffing plans with the number and type of engineering and technical personnel required for the duration of projects. Schedule and provide work assignments for engineering and technical staff. Provide functional supervision of engineering and technical personnel including performance evaluations, reviews, reclassification, etc. Responsible for all personnel actions including preparing job descriptions, conducting interviews, and selecting potential candidates. Develop, implement, and require as necessary professional training and education of engineering and technical staff through continuing education enhancement and development of skills, skill certification, in-house programs, and professional memberships. Serve as laboratory contact and higher authority between project managers to coordinate activities and resolve conflicts. Prepare special and periodic departmental reports on operations, costs, programs, and planning requirements.

ENGINEERING FACILITIES: Manage, plan for, and allocate space to satisfy the requirements of engineering programs. Maintain and update engineering support facilities including clean rooms, electronic fabrication and test areas, drafting, and mechanical production. Plan for, secure, and manage funding as required to maintain facilities and support equipment in a technically competitive condition.

MANAGEMENT: Develop, implement and manage laboratory technical operations budget including expansion or improvement of existing facilities. Maintain an overview of program schedules and current progress toward completion of sponsor deliverable end items. Monitor program funding, budget, and accrued program expenses with special attention given to maintaining engineering support activity within sponsor constraints. Assist program managers in the resolution of programmatic issues. Work closely with SPRL Director in developing and implementing laboratory policies and in establishing both short- and long-term goals. Work with faculty and students to support the development and implementation of educational projects and programs involving SPRL. Assist project directors and engineers with the technical and fiscal preparation of research proposals. Provide expertise to project directors in managing research programs. Work with the University, public, industry and sponsors to develop and promote the image and capabilities of SPRL.

Required Qualifications

Bachelor's degree in physical sciences or engineering; graduate level or equivalent experience in administration and technical management; relevant experience in the management and programmatics of engineering programs related to the design, fabrication, test, and qualification of spaceborne systems and subsytems; experience in personnel management and resource allocation; experience with computer aided management techniques; demonstrated interpersonal skills and ability to communicate verbally and in written form.

Desired Qualifications

Advanced degree (PhD) in physical sciences or engineering; experience with the development of spaceborne scientific instrumentation and related technology development; experience with University education related to spaceborne systems and subsystems; experience with University policies and procedures; experience in contract negotiations, sponsor relations, and research contract terms and conditions.

The University of Michigan offers attractive, comprehensive benefits and a salary commensurate with rank and experience.

The University of Michigan is a Non-discriminatory, Affirmative Action Employer.