NEON Observatory Director/Chief Scientist

Boulder, Colorado
Apr 21, 2017
May 21, 2017
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Education Level
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NEON Observatory Director/Chief Scientist

Battelle is guided by a founding mission. We invest our knowledge, talents and resources, helping our customers achieve their most important goals. We apply scientific rigor and creativity, succeeding where others may fail and we invest in our communities, making the world better for generations to come. All of us share a common purpose: to solve the greatest challenges of today and tomorrow.

Battelle operates the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), which is solely funded by the National Science Foundation. NEON is a 30+ year project designed to provide data for scientists to better understand and forecast the impacts of climate change, land use change and invasive species on continental scale ecology. NEON collects data and samples using a combination of field sampling, sensors, and airborne remote sensing measurements across the US.

This position is located in Boulder, CO.


The NEON Observatory Director/Chief Scientist will serve as the scientific lead of the Observatory and is responsible for facilitating community-led transformative research using the Observatory platform. This position will lead the Observatory science program through close coordination with the ecological science community and ensure that the Observatory fulfills its scientific and educational mission. In addition, this position will build impactful external activities with collaborators nationally and internationally.


  • Position NEON as leader in the world of ecological observing systems
  • Serve as a member of the Battelle-NEON leadership to advocate, support, and ensure the scientific objectives of the Observatory
  • Uphold the science requirements for the Battelle-NEON Observatory, an activity that includes the scientific development and management to preserve integrity of science requirements, designs, protocols, and algorithms
  • Represent Battelle-NEON to Federal Agencies, Congress, the Executive Branch, and other key external stakeholders in order to communicate Observatory science effectively.



Chief Scientist during NEON Construction and Transition to Operations (through approximately Spring 2018):


  • Advise and work directly with Battelle Management and the NEON Program Manager to lead and enable the science functions of the Observatory, which includes budgetary and management responsibilities
  • Oversee, advise, manage, and lead the science activities and staff that are needed for Battelle-NEON to fulfill its scientific and educational mission of providing high-quality data
  • Develop a strategy for periodic science validation activities to ensure that Battelle-NEON achieves its science goals and remains relevant over many decades
  • Act as a key stakeholder in the commissioning and acceptance of Battelle-NEON systems from Construction into Operations and ensure the Observatory at the completion of Construction meets the needs of its user community.



Observatory Director Post-Construction through Full Operations:


  • Assume role of NEON Observatory Director and Principal Investigator on the Battelle-NSF Collaborative Agreement for Initial Operations
  • Lead the Observatory through the transition from Initial Operations to Full Operations in 2019
  • Develop and implement collaboration with the science and education community through external awards and maintain an active research program with a sustained record of publishing and grant activity commensurate with a senior scientific leader
  • Ensure the mentoring of the scientific staff with their professional development, build the professional culture within NEON, and establish a high professional standard of performance, ethics, integrity and behavior in the conduct of science within the organization
  • Ensure close engagement with the Ecological Science community and work with the community to set a long-term direction and strategic plan for NEON, and lead periodic Observatory performance reviews to guide both near-term and long-term change in Observatory Science, Technology and Operations.


  • Ph.D. with at least 15 years of experience and an established record of outstanding scholarly achievement in ecology, advancing ecological thought and managing complex research programs.
  • Known and respected as a thought-leader with broad, deep, and transformative understanding of the ecological sub-disciplines and complex Earth-system science that span the breadth of Battelle-NEON science.
  • Demonstrated experience with NSF proposal writing and award management.
  • Demonstrated experience using a combination of analytical, experimental, and theoretical approaches to solve problems in the sub-disciplines of Battelle-NEON science.
  • Demonstrated experience with networked science and managing science both internal to the organization and collaboratively with large external stakeholder communities, as well as working experience with Federal Agencies and their funding and reporting processes.
  • Demonstrated ability to design and execute effective strategies to advance programmatic and scientific goals, project management, budget design and management, and personnel management.
  • Outstanding leadership and interpersonal skills with a management style that encourages open expressions of ideas and opinions. Demonstrated ability to work in and foster a collaborative work environment. Must build consensus, move projects forward, and compromise wisely, oftentimes under deadline pressure. Ability to “lead from the middle,” building coalitions to create progress.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively and collaboratively with individuals from a wide range of professional backgrounds and career stages, and demonstrated mentoring ability. Ability to bridge competing views and work across diverse cultures,
  • Strong personal integrity and work ethic, superior judgment, emotional intelligence, the ability to maintain confidentiality, and the ability to show sound judgment and independent initiative.
  • Demonstrated ability to capture external funding and an active publication record. Superlative writing and verbal communication skills that reflect an ability to clarify and simplify complicated issues and technical subject matter, with a versatility in tone and technique, depending on the author and/or audience, combined with a demonstrated ability to collaborate with leading research institutions and key funding organizations.

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Battelle’s competitive benefits program includes comprehensive medical and dental care, matching 401K, paid time off, flexible spending accounts, disability coverage, and other benefits that help provide financial protection for you and your family.

Battelle provides employment and opportunities for advancement, compensation, training, and growth according to individual merit, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, genetic information, or disability. Our goal is for each staff member to have the opportunity to grow to the limits of their abilities and to achieve personal and organizational objectives. We will support positive programs for equal treatment of all staff and full utilization of all qualified employees at all levels within Battelle.