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Science Operations Manager in Mountain View, CA at Universities Space Research Association

Date Posted: 5/25/2018

Job Snapshot

Job Description

The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) supports NASA for fundamental scientific research towards USRA’s and NASA’s missions to benefit humanity. This task will enable collaborative scientific research, technology development, and workforce development through developing and operating a number of multidisciplinary labs for shared use by a diversity of organizations. Activities conducted in the labs cover the range of the scope of the NAMS contract, including Biosciences, Bioengineering, Materials Science, Materials Engineering, Earth Sciences and Sustainability.

Position Summary:

The Science Operations Manager will provide scientific expertise on equipment available for use through the Materials Characterization Lab in order to optimize decisions on maintenance and scientific applications for which they can be used. Role will include engaging a diversity of collaborators from government, industry, academia and other non-profit institutions in the creation, operation and shared use of a number of multi-disciplinary labs

Essential Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Meet weekly with Task Requestor to review current collaborative activities, with a purpose to identify logistical areas where support is needed.
  • Provide scientific expertise on equipment available for use through the Materials Characterization Lab in order to optimize decisions on maintenance and scientific applications for which they can be used.
  • Meet with and represent the Innovation Labs to potential academic and external users with the purpose of familiarizing them to the opportunities available through the Innovation Labs, help them understand what they could accomplish by joining the Labs as an affiliate, and to suggest collaborations that may be possible with other Innovation Labs affiliates where appropriate.
  • Be familiar with the research projects being done in the lab by internal and external members of the Innovations labs, including both the personnel and the science.
  • Discuss status of affiliates and research projects with Managing Director on a weekly basis, to help determine whether any issues or concerns have come up, and to also identify accomplishments on a regular basis.
  • Be present at the Innovation Labs in N239 at least 3- 4 hours a week, to tag up with Managing Director and other affiliate members.
  • Strategically, help to identify ways to support and strengthen existing collaborations, identify potential new collaborations, be available to explain the capabilities of the Innovation Labs and the Materials Characterization Lab in internal and external settings once or twice a quarter, and provide advice based on experience on best pathways toward expanding our capabilities.
  • Coordinate with Managing Director to help resolve issues or concerns that we can address, and to identify which issues or concerns may need to be addressed by other POCs at Ames, or at a higher level. This includes how to resolve issues/concerns with the instrumentation.
  • Provide occasional logistical support to Managing Director to facilitate access to labs by affiliate members, inspectors and trouble call personnel.
  • Coordinate with the Managing Director on any changes to the approach for working with 3rd party affiliates including the approach for establishing a new affiliate, charging them for lab use, and applying those revenues to activities supported under the task order.
  • Engage academic, industrial, and government research communities in collaborative research through activities such as seminars and other talks, workshops, and conferences.

Required Qualifications


  • PhD. in a relevant domain required.


  • At least 3 - 5 years of post-doctoral research experience in the relevant domain with international publications.

Licenses, Certifications:

  • n/a

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Possess excellent written and oral communication skills, and experience interacting with the media.
  • Familiarity with federal contracts and cooperative agreements.
  • Understanding of government, academic, and industrial research environments.
  • Have an impeccable reputation for excellence, integrity, and accountability.


Working Conditions:

Work will be performed in an office or computer lab environment.  While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand; walk; sit; talk or hear.  Keyboarding for large time spans each day will be a significant part of this position. The employee may need to lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. 



Employee must be willing and able to travel. Position may require domestic and international business travel.

Applicants should apply to the posting at and include a letter of interest, resume, or curriculum vita.  Review of candidates will begin immediately.  Additional information on USRA can be found at

USRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer Minorities/Females/Protected Veterans/Disabled/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity


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