Director, Australian Astronomical Optics, Macquarie

Sydney, Australia
13 Aug 2018
End of advertisement period
13 Sep 2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term, Permanent
Full Time

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AAO - Macquarie

On 1 July 2018, Macquarie became the new home for the instrumentation, astronomy and data-science teams of the former Australian Astronomical Observatory. Over decades, this Sydney-based group has established an enviable international reputation for its precision engineering capability and expertise within astronomical instrumentation across optical, mechanical, electronic and software domains.

AAO–Macquarie comes to the University with a new vision and an exciting agenda for transformation in scale and impact. As part of its expansive new vision, AAO–Macquarie’s team of experts will build on the University’s existing strengths in astronomy, photonics, laser technology, microfabrication, applied optics, sensing, and communications. We seek to increase industry engagement, identify opportunities to apply AAO–Macquarie’s expertise to medicine and defence, and expand its presence in the fields of optics and sensing, in addition to growing the ongoing core mission of world-leading excellence in astronomical instrumentation.

Macquarie is also excited to take a significant role in growing Australia’s global position in astronomical instrumentation, partnering with the Australian National University, the University of Sydney and Astronomy Australia Ltd to establish a new national capability for astronomical instrumentation under the banner Australian Astronomical Optics (AAO). This collaboration will combine unique capabilities in wide-field and adaptive optics, precision mechanical and optical engineering, design and testing, and software to build cutting-edge instruments for the world’s leading eight-metre telescope and next generation 30-metre telescope.

The AAO–Macquarie group has a long-standing commitment to advancing equity and diversity principles, a commitment Macquarie University shares. We hold silver status in the Pleiades Awards – Australia’s scheme for certifying commitment and progress in equity, diversity and inclusion in astronomy and physics – and are committed to continual improvement and promotion of these principles.

The Role

In this new role, which carries the status of Head of Department, the Director of AAO–Macquarie will take the central role in creating and sustaining a holistic vision for the group across the programs in astronomical instrumentation, astronomy research and data science. The Director will lead the development of strategy and set the directions for discovery, industry engagement and future directions for business development.

We are looking for an outstanding individual with experience in growing, developing and leading high-performance teams to build on the considerable skills and knowledge of the technical experts and academics within AAO–Macquarie. The Director will work to nurture, embed and uphold a culture of excellence and outstanding service in AAO–Macquarie’s exciting mission to produce highly specialised and innovative technological systems. The Director will also drive strategies to develop a new focus on industry engagement and introduce innovative research-focused teaching programs at graduate and, potentially, undergraduate levels.

To be successful in this role, you will have proven academic leadership in your discipline and be known as an eminent authority in your field. You will be a committed enabler of multidisciplinary collaborations, playing an active role in collaborating with researchers across the discipline, faculty and wider academic community. You will have demonstrated the ability to lead and uplift large technical teams. Your proven track record of developing trust, building commitment, modelling core university values and fostering an environment of innovation and excellence will enable you to succeed in this role.

Selection Criteria

To be considered for this position, you must demonstrate the following selection criteria in a CV and supporting document (of no more than four pages), providing examples of relevant experience and achievements.

  • Completed a PhD in a suitable discipline, with outstanding contributions to scholarship and research in astronomy, astronomical instrumentation or optical engineering, which have resulted in a strong research impact in your field and recognition as an eminent authority in your discipline.
  • Proven holistic strategic thinking with the demonstrated aptitude to develop and set the new direction for AAO–Macquarie in consultation with faculty leadership.
  • Demonstrated capability to build and develop a comprehensive industry engagement and business development plan.
  • Demonstrated track record of building a sustained culture of high performance and service excellence in a group or department of substantial size.
  • Proven track record of driving a culture of research within a group or department, including enabling multidisciplinary collaborations within a department, faculty, university and/or the wider community.
  • Demonstrated capability to develop an innovative research-focused teaching program and to attract quality students.
  • Demonstrated ability to engage in external collaborative partnerships.
  • Demonstrated ability to attract significant external funding for research and/or contract services.
  • Demonstrated strong capability to manage financial, human and physical resources to deliver successful outcomes.
  • Demonstrated track record of building trust, nurturing, supporting, mentoring and ensuring the professional development of academic and professional staff.
  • Demonstrated commitment to promoting and advancing the principles of equity, inclusion and diversity in STEMM workplaces.

For further information, please view the Candidate Brochure.

Salary Package: A competitive salary package will be negotiated with the successful applicant.

Appointment Type: 5 year fixed term role as AAO Director with a full-time, continuing substantive appointment as Professor

For a confidential discussion about this role, please contact Professor Michael Steel, Interim AAO Director and Head of Department, Physics and Astronomy via e-mail or + 61 434 631 757

General Recruitment Enquiries: Roberta Palfreeman, HR Manager via e-mail

Applications Close: Thursday 13 September 2018 at 11.55 pm EST

Macquarie University is an EO Employer committed to diversity and social inclusion. Applications are encouraged from people with a disability; women (particularly for senior and non-traditional roles); Indigenous Australians, people who identify as GLBTI; and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Applications need to be submitted through the Macquarie University online recruitment system. Where circumstances such as disability or remote location prohibit your access to our online system please contact the enquiries person listed in this advertisement for assistance.

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