NCAR Associate Director/Lab Director, Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL)

NCAR is excited to announce the job opening for the NCAR Associate Director/Lab Director position for the Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL). As one of NCAR’s seven laboratories, EOL provides state-of-the-art atmospheric observing systems, leadership and scientific expertise  to enable the university-based research community to advance climate, weather, and related Earth system science. EOL manages the majority of the NSF Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities and deploys them in support of observational field campaigns for researchers from universities, government agencies, and NCAR and in support of education. EOL fulfills this mission by leveraging cutting-edge technology and tools across four key initiatives: development, deployment, data service, and discovery. 

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 EOL’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 and the external scientific community. The role of NCAR Associate Director affords responsibility in 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 and not a particular lab. They serve on the NCAR Executive Committee, foster cross NCAR collaboration, may serve as Acting NCAR Director in the absence of the NCAR Director and can lead initiatives that are NCAR-wide. They also foster interaction and collaboration between NCAR and UCAR staff and programs.


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

Job Type: This position is open to candidates seeking in-person and/or hybrid (combination remote and onsite presence) positions. 

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

Procedure for Candidacy:

WittKieffer 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. For fullest consideration, applicant materials should be received by February 24, 2023, and be submitted using WittKieffer’s candidate portal.

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 (include your approach to building a psychologically safe environment, metrics for  knowing psychological safety is achieved, and provide examples where you built diverse, equitable and inclusive environments on project and programs that you led).

Nominations and inquiries can be directed to the WittKieffer consultants supporting this search, Suzanne Teer, Jessica Herrington, and Sarah Seavey, at

This position offers a hiring salary range of $196,726 to $245,907. 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 here:

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, ensuring the integrity of NCAR science leadership and the organization's role in the science community; prioritizes 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 science opportunities by fostering interdisciplinary programs and stimulating and facilitating coordinated science between laboratories and within the research community.
  • Promotes 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 science program within NSF and other agencies, the university community, and the national and international community.

EOL Laboratory Leadership

  • Provides scientific leadership and direction that ensures continued innovation, excellence, and community leadership and service from EOL. Develops and implements a strategic vision for the laboratory that contributes to improved understanding and prediction of the Earth system.
  • Develops Laboratory strategic plans and ensures implementation to maximize scientific opportunities and 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 EOL, 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 and champions DEI initiatives across the lab and Center. Supports partnership 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 science discipline relevant to the NCAR mission 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 scientific leader in advancing our understanding of Earth’s atmosphere as demonstrated by a current research record of considerable depth and breadth on topics relevant to the NCAR strategic mission, research, and goals is highly desired. The new Lab Director will have demonstrated successful leadership and administration of complex research, development, operations, instrumentation/observational platforms, 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, and Abilities

  • Experience leading and managing a complex research, development and operations organization, including the development of scientific and engineering 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 scientific community.
  • High-level understanding of observational science and its application to Earth science discovery, including 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 scientific direction and evaluation of scientific research. 
  • 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 scientific leader in one or more areas of the laboratory’s research and/or related areas, as demonstrated by a current research record of considerable depth and breadth on topics relevant to the laboratory strategic mission, research and goals.


Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Our organization is committed to creating a diverse, equitable, 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 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, employee assistance and backup dependent care, UCAR offers: 

  • Company contributes 10% of gross pay into retirement; 100% fully vested on day one
  • Starting minimum of 20 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 to maintain their own work-life circumstances and 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, 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.