Joint Numerical Testbed Program Director

National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Boulder, Colorado
Salary is competitive
May 17, 2017
Jun 16, 2017
Career Level
Education Level
Job Type
Relocation Cost

Overview – “Where You Will Work”

Located in Boulder, Colorado, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is one of the world’s premier scientific institutions, with an internationally recognized staff and research program dedicated to advancing knowledge, providing community-based resources, and building human capacity in the atmospheric and related sciences.

The Research Applications Laboratory (RAL) is one of five laboratories within NCAR.  Its mission is to conduct directed research that contributes to fundamental understanding of the atmosphere and related physical, biological, and social systems; to support, enhance, and extend the capabilities of the scientific community; and to develop and transfer knowledge and technology for the betterment of life on Earth. 

Position Details - “What You Will Do”

The RAL Joint Numerical Testbed (JNT) Program Director provides leadership and direct management oversight for the scientific and technical activities within the JNT Program, including the Developmental Testbed Center (DTC), and is responsible for coordinating and leveraging those activities across the laboratory. 

In a matrix organization like RAL, this is a complex activity as each Director is responsible for supervision and career development in his/her functional chain of command, as well as for the success of projects that pull staff from other RAL Programs.

The JNT Program Director works to develop new funding opportunities, and serves as an expert resource on, and advocate for, the use of cutting-edge science and engineering methods and techniques for a variety of applications.

The JNT Program Director represents the laboratory in interactions with the public and private sectors and with the research community with regard to testing and evaluating numerical techniques that span a broad spectrum of numerical models interconnected within the Earth/Sun System, post-processed model algorithms and special verification tools developed for this community.

When appropriate, represents UCAR/NCAR in responding to requests for scientific and technical information or assistance from Federal and State policy makers, particularly NOAA, DOD, NASA and NSF, and the international weather and climate community, particularly the World Meteorological Organization. 

Serves as a member of the RAL Executive Committee, other management committees and represents the laboratory on the UCAR Management Forum.  He or she has significant authority with regard to approving proposals, travel, and purchases and subcontracts up to the $150,000 level.

In addition to the above, JNT Program Director responsibilities include:

  • Provides guidance and oversight to the scientific and technical activities conducted within the JNT Program, including the DevelopmentalTestbed Center (DTC), a data assimilation team, a tropical cyclone modeling team, a forecast evaluation and applied statistics team, and other teams focused on specialized aspects of numerical weather prediction and climate and seasonal prediction, testing, and applications. The JNT Program Director coordinates and leverages those activities across the laboratory.
  • As a member of the laboratory’s Executive Committee, is responsible for the overall productivity, creativity, and excellence of the laboratory.The JNT Program Director formulates and executes the RAL Strategic Plan, as well as more tactical, short-range plans, and contributes to the preparation and presentation of NCAR-wide reports such as the Annual Budget Review, Program Operating Plan, and NCAR Annual Report.
  • Works to develop new funding opportunities, and serves as an expert resource on, and advocate for, the use of cutting-edge science and engineering methodsand techniques for a variety of applications. The JNT Program Director represents the laboratory in interactions with the public and private sectors and with the research community with regard to testing and evaluating numerical techniques that span a broad spectrum of numerical models interconnected within the Earth/Sun System, data assimilation, post-processed model algorithms and special verification tools developed for this community.
  • Promotes effective recruitment practices in support of organizational diversity and inclusion initiatives and affirmative action goals and enhances thequality of the scientific and technical program through effective management practices which foster an environment of teamwork and excellence. The JNT Program Director leads the annual performance appraisal process for all laboratory staff in coordination with other Program Directors and coordinates and leverages staffing assignments across the laboratory.
  • Plans and manages budgets and other resources within the JNT Program and coordinates and leverages fiscal and human resources across the laboratory. Additionally, coordinates with the DTC National Director to set strategic directions, plan DTC activities, secure funding, and implement and oversee activities. The JNT Program Director plans and conducts strategic program development activities aimed at providing new funding sources to support the goals of the laboratory.
  • Develops and conducts interactions and collaborations with other NCAR /UCP laboratories, divisions and programs, to manage joint research and development initiatives.Represents RAL to external entities including government agencies (DOD, NOAA/NWS, NOAA/OAR, NASA, NSF, DOE, DHS, and State Department), UCAR member institutions, and the scientific community at large. Ensures consistent and appropriate application of UCAR policies and procedures. 

Problem Solving

  • The highest level of problem solving skills is required. The incumbent will routinely investigate and solve unique, highly complex problems using sound judgment, considerable creativity, and expert scientific and technical knowledge.
  • The highest level of management skills are required to systematically identify user needs and system requirements and to design and implement programs that will satisfy those needs and requirements.
  • The highest level of skills are also required to effectively work with program sponsors, as well as other RAL Applications Program Directors and staff members, and to create and manage large budgets. 

Decision Making

  • Evaluates complex situations and problems and independently makes decisions on how best to proceed. Decisions affect multi-million dollar programs and the careers of those who work on them. May serve as Acting Laboratory Director and may make decisions affecting the entire laboratory when required.
  • The incumbent is tasked with day-to-day management of the Joint Numerical Testbed Program and makes decisions independently or in conjunction with his/her Deputies or project leaders. On sensitive issues and on issues that cross Program lines, he/she seeks guidance from the RAL Executive Committee.
  • The incumbent faces a host of very complex problems ranging from difficulties in assessing competing sponsor requirements and priorities for testing, evaluation and maintenance of numerical model code, to advising on technical issues and hiring. Given his/her exposure to many types of tasks and interactions throughout the day, coupled with travel and meetings, he/she faces considerable challenges of working and communicating efficiently, and prioritizing his/her efforts in order to properly balance the JNT Program, outreach, and Laboratory responsibilities. While his/her primary focus is on directing, developing and managing the Program, he/she remains involved in most scientific and technical aspects of the Program, contributes to developing new concepts and approaches, and advises on scientific and technical direction. He/she must decide who and when to hire in an uncertain economic environment to address requirements from sponsors that are frequently changing.
  • He/she must use good judgment, discretion, and sensitivity in devising and implementing solutions to these problems. 

Minimum Job Requirements – “What You Need”

  • Expert skill in testing and evaluating numerical forecast techniques with a strong record of peer-reviewed publications reflecting these skills.
  • Advanced knowledge of numerical weather prediction and data assimilations methods and techniques.
  • Expert skill in scientific and technical advocacy to effectively and persuasively promote goals and strategies for the advancement of RAL programs with
  • NCAR, UCAR, funding agencies and the general community.
  • Expert skill in developing and leading programs in which both science and engineering play significant roles.
  • Advanced leadership skills in directing and developing a staff of widely-varying backgrounds and experience.
  • Demonstrated skills in budget and resource development and management.
  • Skill in identifying problems or potential problems, and in recommending, promoting and implementing effective and creative solutions.
  • Excellent written and oral presentation skills.
  • Willingness to travel frequently.

Education Requirement:

  • The incumbent is required to have a Ph.D. (or an equivalent combination of education and experience) in science, mathematics or engineering including expertise in atmospheric science, numerical weather prediction, data assimilation, and statistics and at least 10 years of progressively responsible experience in the conduct and/or management of scientific or technical programs.