NCAR Associate Director/Lab Director, Computational and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL)

NCAR is excited to announce an opening for the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Associate Director/Lab Director position at the Computational and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL). As one of NCAR’s seven laboratories, CISL provides state-of-the-art high-performance computing (HPC) and storage systems, cyberinfrastructure leadership, expertise in data science, visualization, machine learning, and code optimization. This expertise is brought to bear in enabling researchers from universities, government agencies, and NCAR to advance climate, weather, and related Earth system science. Although headquartered at the NCAR Mesa Lab in Boulder, Colorado, CISL also manages the NCAR Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) located in Cheyenne, Wyoming, which is a LEED Gold facility with Internet 2 connectivity and dedicated staff for operational hosting of computational and data management infrastructure. CISL also manages the Summer Internships in Parallel Computational Science (SIParCS) program and a Visitor Program. CISL fulfills its mission by leveraging cutting-edge technology and tools across three key initiatives: software development, hardware deployment, and data services. 

Reporting to the NCAR Director, this position carries a dual title and role of Director of the Laboratory and NCAR Associate Director. The Lab Director role is responsible for the scientific vision, direction, productivity, innovation capacity, and overall excellence of CISL’s research and development programs, including the formulation and implementation of strategic plans, budgets, and priorities of the lab. These responsibilities are carried out in coordination with the NCAR Director and in close alignment with the NCAR strategic plan and other programmatic priorities. The Lab Director fosters interaction and collaboration between NCAR and UCAR staff and programs as well as the external scientific community. The role of NCAR Associate Director affords responsibility for the overall leadership and management of NCAR. NCAR Associate Directors support the NCAR Director on NCAR-wide matters and act in the best interest of NCAR rather than a particular lab. They serve on the NCAR Executive Committee, foster collaboration across NCAR, may serve as Acting NCAR Director in the absence of the NCAR Director, and can lead initiatives that are NCAR-wide.


Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, NCAR is devoted to research, education, and service in the atmospheric and related Earth system sciences. NCAR's mission is to understand the behavior of the atmosphere and related Earth and geospace systems; to support, enhance, and extend the capabilities of the university community and the broader scientific community, nationally and internationally; and to foster the transfer of knowledge and technology for the betterment of life on Earth.


Location: Boulder, CO with travel to NWSC as needed.

Job Type: This position is open to candidates seeking in-person and/or hybrid (combination virtual and on-site presence) positions. The duties of this position do not permit it to be fully remote.

Position Type: Full-time, 5-year term with the possibility of renewal

Procedure for Candidacy:

The Isaacson, Miller firm is assisting NCAR in this search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications are invited. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Applicants should visit Isaacson, Miller’s candidate portal to apply.

Candidates should provide a curriculum vitae, a letter of application that addresses the responsibilities and requirements described in this Leadership Profile, and a Diversity Statement (which includes your approach to building a psychologically safe environment and describes metrics for knowing if psychological safety is achieved, and which provides examples where you built diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments on project and programs that you led).

Nominations and inquiries can be directed to the Isaacson, Miller consultants supporting this search. 

This position offers a hiring salary range of $196,000 to $270,000. The final salary will be based on education, experience, skills relevant to the role, and internal equity. Information about UCAR's benefits can be found at:

Work Authorization: UCAR/NCAR will sponsor a work visa (e.g., J-1, H1-B, etc.) for this position. U.S. Citizenship, Permanent Residency, or other protected status under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3) is required for this position.  

Relocation Assistance: Relocation assistance is offered for this position.

Pre-employment screenings are conducted for selected candidates; background checks are also conducted for risk-based positions. Learn more.



Here is a brief outline of what one would expect to be responsible for in this role. 

Key Responsibilities:

NCAR Leadership and Management Team

  • As a member of the NCAR Executive Committee, formulates institutional programs, practices, and priorities to ensure the integrity of NCAR technical leadership and the organization's role in the science community; prioritizes technical and scientific initiatives within NCAR.
  • Fosters high-quality programs through collaboration among NCAR staff, with inclusion of the university community and other stakeholders, as appropriate.
  • Promotes computational science opportunities, including interdisciplinary programs, by stimulating and facilitating coordinated science between laboratories and within the research community.
  • Advocates for strategic new programs and major sources of funding in collaboration with universities and other institutions. Channels national and international community inputs into the NCAR planning process.
  • Represents the NCAR high-performance computing program within NSF and other agencies, the university community, and the national and international community.

CISL Laboratory Leadership

  • Provides leadership and direction that ensures continued innovation, excellence,  community leadership, and service from CISL. Develops and implements a strategic vision for the laboratory that contributes to improved understanding and prediction of the Earth system, provision of HPC, data management, and innovative computational science.
  • Develops the laboratory’s strategic plans consistent with the NCAR Strategic Plan and ensures implementation to maximize technical opportunities and scientific benefit as well as financial and human resources. Initiates and implements large-scale activities.
  • Develops new national and international programs and funding sources in collaboration with universities and other institutions. Channels national and international community input into the NCAR planning process.
  • Leads proactive development of the future STEM workforce within CISL in partnership with NCAR labs and NCAR Education, Engagement, and Early-Career Development (EdEC).
  • Ensures the laboratory excels in meeting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals identified from the Workplace Culture Survey and outlined in NCAR and UCAR Strategic Plans; champions DEI initiatives across the lab and center; supports partnerships with minority-serving institutions across the lab.
  • Leads budget and program planning for the laboratory, including establishing budget priorities; presents laboratory budget proposals to the NCAR Director and allocates laboratory budgets in consultation with the NCAR Director.


Successful candidates will ensure their application materials speak to the following criteria:

Education & Experience

  • While a Ph.D. in a computational science or related discipline and at least 10 years of experience leading and managing complex science programs are highly desired, we will also consider candidates with a comparable outstanding record of accomplishment in a research and development setting. National and/or international recognition as a leader in high performance computing and storage, data science or cyberinfrastructure as demonstrated by a current research record of considerable depth and breadth on topics relevant to NCAR’s strategic mission, research, and goals is highly desired. The new Lab Director will have demonstrated successful leadership and administration of complex computational research, development, HPC operations, and personnel activities; success working with a broad range of constituencies; breadth of interest, vision, and judgment; advanced communication, organizational, and change management skills; and a strong commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion. Demonstrated success and achievement in management is highly desirable.

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities

  • Experience leading and managing a complex research, development, and operations organization, including the development of computational science related programs.
  • Skill in strategic planning and implementation, budget development and deployment, and human resource planning to achieve broad goals and objectives.
  • Significant experience in working successfully with the national and international high-performance computing community.
  • High-level understanding of how weather and climate impacts issues of real importance to society.
  • Experience advocating for internal and external support for an organization’s agenda, including obtaining and coordinating major research grants and contracts.
  • Proven ability to perceive complex problems in broad scope, to infuse forward-thinking ideas, and to participate meaningfully in the technical and scientific direction and evaluation of computationally-driven scientific research and the necessary infrastructure. 
  • Proven ability to make sound technical and programmatic judgments and deal effectively with uncertainty, risk, and conflict.
  • Advanced skill in written and oral communication, with the ability to excel in interpersonal communication. 

Desired, but not required: 

  • International recognition as a leader in one or more areas of the laboratory’s research and technical areas, as demonstrated by a current professional record of considerable depth and breadth on topics relevant to the laboratory’s strategic mission, research, and goals.


Commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Our organization is committed to creating a diverse, equitable, accessible and inclusive work environment and fostering a culture where everyone feels welcome and supported. To learn more about these efforts, visit the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategic Plan and our Diversity & Inclusion: A Welcoming Workplace site. 

Research shows that women and people of color are less likely to apply for a position if they do not meet almost 100% of the desired skills and experience. Please note that this is not necessary. If you meet the minimum requirements and have a passion for the work, you are encouraged to apply. We can provide on-the-job training for the rest.

Inclusive Benefits

UCAR affirms its commitment to employees through competitive benefits. Beyond rich medical, dental, vision, and life insurance offerings, as well as employee assistance and backup dependent care, UCAR offers the following benefits: 

  • Company contributes 10% of gross pay into retirement; 100% fully vested on day one
  • Starting minimum of 36 days of personal time off 
  • 10 paid holidays
  • 10 days of sick leave every year
  • 14 weeks of paid parental leave
  • Tuition assistance and other professional development opportunities
  • EcoPass for local Colorado residents to use the Denver and Boulder-area transit system at no cost

Flexible Work

At UCAR, we are committed to supporting our mission by giving staff the flexibility to find the schedule and location that works best for them to maintain their own work-life circumstances and to reach their full potential as professionals. Many positions within our organization are eligible for fully on-site, hybrid, fully remote, and/or flexible work schedules.

Employee Well-being & Vaccines

In support of the health of our employees and their families, as well as visitors and the community, all UCAR employees are required to comply with UCAR’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, which requires staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, subject only to legally required accommodations implemented by HR, prior to their start date.

Equal Opportunity Employer

UCAR is committed to providing equal opportunity for all employees and applicants for employment and does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, creed, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or pregnancy. Whatever your intersection of identities, you are welcome at UCAR.

Export Control

This position is subject to work location requirements for obtaining access to facilities and research systems. These requirements may include a combination of national security checks, credit checks, fingerprinting, and/or other security clearance requirements. This position is open to U.S. citizens and Green Card holders.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action employer that strives to develop and maintain a diverse workforce. UCAR is committed to providing equal opportunity for all employees and applicants for employment and does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, creed, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or pregnancy. 

Whatever your intersection of identities, you are welcome at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). We are committed to inclusivity and promoting an equitable environment that values and respects the uniqueness of all members of our organization.