Deputy Project Manager/Lead Systems Engineer

Deputy Project Manager/Lead Systems Engineer

The Carnegie Observatories, a department of the Carnegie Institution for Science (CIS) is a non-profit, world-class astronomical institution, with its office located in Pasadena, California, is currently seeking a Deputy Project Manager/Lead Systems Engineer for a three year fulltime position with the opportunity for an extension.


The Sloan Digital Sky Survey V (SDSS-V) project (the “Project”) is a collaboration of major US and international universities and research institutions, which is currently developing the next generation of the highly successful SDSS under the auspices of the Astrophysical Research Consortium (ARC). ARC recently received a major funding grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in support of this effort.  SDSS-V will consist of three spectroscopic surveys to map the evolution of the Milky Way and nearby galaxies and trace the growth of black holes in the early Universe. Observations will begin in 2020 and continue for five years. The surveys will produce a massive amount of scientific data that will be made publicly available in the tradition of SDSS. Data will be distributed from an expanded data archive developed for previous SDSS surveys.

The surveys will be conducted on telescopes at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, USA, and at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. They will use a combination of existing telescopes and instrumentation along with instrumentation and data systems constructed specifically for this Project. Development of the new facilities and instrumentation is underway.

The Project consists of a number of Project Groups with responsibility for developing instrumentation and software, planning and conducting the surveys, and site operations. The teams are located at various member institutions and the observatories. A high level of coordination and systems engineering will be required on the part of the Central Project Office.

The SDSS-V project is described in which provides details of the science, instrumentation, organization, and program plan. 

Job Summary

The Deputy Project Manager will be a key member of the project team that is planning, building, and conducting the SDSS-V survey program. S/he will work closely with the Project Manager and with other members of the Central Project Office and Project technical teams. S/he will play a dual role in the Project: as backup for the Project Manager and as the Lead Systems Engineer. S/he is expected to develop a good understanding of both the technical and managerial details of the Project.

As Deputy Project Manager, s/he will be a member of the management team that reports to the Director and is responsible for planning and overseeing the work of the Groups. This includes developing budgets and schedules, tracking work progress, conducting reviews, and performing the other functions of project management. S/he will assist the Project Manager in these duties and fill in when the Project Manager is unavailable.

As Lead Systems Engineer, the DPM will be responsible for managing systems engineering following SDSS-V established SE procedures. These procedures include documenting traceability and flow down of requirements, documentation management, configuration control, change control, interface control, quality plans, sub-system acceptance testing, and system level integration and test during the site installation and data quality assurance during survey operations. The DPM will coordinate these efforts with the Project Scientist and Group Leaders.

SDSS-V is a geographically dispersed project that will rely heavily on internet communication tools to coordinate the work. The DPM is expected to work closely with the other groups to ensure effective communication across the project.

The job location is at Carnegie Observatories, Pasadena CA in proximity to the SDSS-V Director and Project Manager. The hiring institution is the Carnegie Institution for Science (CIS). More information may be found at

Job Duties

Assist the Project Manager by:

  • Preparing and tracking budgets and schedules
  • Preparing and delivering presentations at project reviews.
  • Preparing Board reports and presentations for the Director
  • Tracking progress of the Groups
  • Participation in Group telecons
  • Organize and conduct system reviews.
  • Representing the Project at meetings and conferences
  • Supporting outreach efforts

Systems Engineering:

  • Implement the Systems Engineering Management Plan
  • Manage the document management and configuration control systems.
  • Manage the change control process
  • Develop the structure and define the content for sub-system design requirements and interface control documents. Assist other groups in the preparation of these documents.
  • Develop system level Integration, Test, and Commissioning plans working with the Groups.
  • Develop a quality assurance (QA) program and assist other groups implement the QA plan
  • Organize and coordinate data quality efforts of the survey teams.
  • Coordinate integration and test plans.

Minimum Requirements

  • An advanced engineering or scientific degree in a technical field such as astronomy/astrophysics, optomechanics, or controls.
  • About 10 years post-degree experience with management and/or systems engineering experience with complex optomechanical systems.
  • A working knowledge of systems engineering techniques as applied to large projects.
  • Willingness and ability to travel to foreign and domestic vendor, partner, and observatory locations as the need arises.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Experience working in large science projects
  • Working experience with systems engineering practices
  • Experience with project management techniques.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Good computer skills.
  • Experience with telescope systems is strongly preferred.


CIS offers a competitive compensation package including medical and retirement benefits. The salary will depend on the experience of the applicant.

Application Process:

Carnegie is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

Complete job description is contained in this advertisement – no phone calls please.

Applications must be submitted online by clicking the "Apply Now" button below. 

Email address for inquiries about job:

Applicants are encouraged to apply by March 31, 2018, when application review will begin. However, the position will remain open until filled.  Only select candidates who meet our requirements will be contacted.

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