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Executive Director - Science Support Office

San Diego, CA, USA | UC San Diego

  • Industry:
    Education (Higher)
  • Position Type:
  • Functions:
    General Management
  • Experience:
Job Description:
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The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP)- Science Support Office (SSO) oversees the management of critical components of the International Ocean Discovery Program, an international research collaboration of 26 countries with major components funded by the US National Science Foundation, the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling, China's People's Republic of China Ministry of Science and Technology, Australian-New Zealand IODP Consortium, India Ministry of Earth Science, the Interim Asian Consortium, Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and additional partners around the world.

IODP operates scientific ocean drilling research platforms to explore the history and dynamics of the Earth surface environment, tectonics, and structure of the ocean crust. A principal activity is interaction and support for the review of proposals to employ the JOIDES Resolution drilling vessel in scientific expeditions. Given the international nature of this ~$60 million program, the IODP-SSO plays a key role in the organization and smooth operation of the development and review of drilling proposals submitted by thousands of scientists around the world.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography has a long history of involvement in scientific ocean drilling that speaks to the importance to UCSD of showcasing the IODP-SSO to the international marine geoscience community. Scripps was a founding member of the Joint Oceanographic Institutions and was chosen by NSF in 1966 as the prime contractor for the Deep Sea Drilling Project (1968-1983), overseeing the construction and operation of the Glomar Challenger and providing science support and core curation. Scripps scientists have continued to serve on expedition science parties, as expedition co-chiefs, and as members of the advisory structure in the Ocean Drilling Program (1983-2003) and the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (2003-2013).

The IODP-SSO is charged with overseeing the submission and review process for expedition proposals and site characterization data, supporting the JOIDES Resolution Facility Board and its advisory panels, providing the program website for research collaboration, and providing an IT platform to carry out the SSO mandate as part of the International Ocean Discovery Program that started in 2013, with the transition of a program management office from Tokyo.


In conjunction with Faculty Director, the Executive Director - IODP Science Support Office will independently manage and provide technical direction for a complex academic or research program of high visibility. Develop the long-term vision and goals, policies and procedures, as well as manage ongoing program operations and oversee a fairly large operational budget to achieve objectives. As a key member of the leadership structure of IODP distributed over several universities and academic institutions, advise the federal and international funding partners of IODP on strategic planning and program policy.

Lead implementation of IODP policy carried out by international science advisory panels. Oversee, through subordinate Analysts and Management Officers, all strategic elements of program administration including establishing program partnerships. Use highly specialized expertise in research or academic specific concepts and objectives. Provide academic, operational and management guidance and mentorship to less experienced team members.


A PhD in a field of earth science and strong demonstrated experience in leadership positions of progressively higher responsibility; or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Academic or research background and recognized expertise in selected area.

Managerial experience and proven success in managing a complex research or academic program(s). Expert ability to work with a dynamic and diverse group of faculty, staff and students.

Proven expertise with program building within a leading academic institution and administrative, budgetary, human resources and financial principles and practices.

Demonstrated expertise in building collaborations between academia, industry and/or governmental agencies.

Proven knowledge of the organization, management and politics of international scientific ocean drilling programs.

Demonstrated understanding of how research is developed and financed in different IODP member nations.

Strong negotiation skills and expert verbal and written communication skills. Ability to influence and persuade all levels of staff.

Skills in organization and customer service to effectively manage multiple important priorities.

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