• Oceanographic Systems Laboratory Manager

    Job ID
    Location : Location
    US-MA-Woods Hole
  • Job Summary

    The Oceanographic Systems Laboratory (OSL) in the Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering (AOPE) Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution was founded in 1989, and is a world leader in the development of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). OSL began working on AUVs in 1993 and has developed multiple REMUS AUV designs that are used extensively for military, scientific and commercial applications.


    This position will most likely be internally classified as a Senior Scientist, Principal Engineer, or Senior Program Manager based on qualifications and experience. OSL consists of a creative team of over twenty talented and motivated engineers, technicians and managers that continue to develop, innovate and operate autonomous underwater vehicles with the support of an essential administrative staff.


    The lab manager’s role is to provide the leadership and vision to allow the OSL team to be successful by staying abreast of the latest technology, cultivating relationships with sponsors to develop new funding opportunities, adapting and changing with customer needs, and creating a work climate to sustain momentum in an ever-changing laboratory and research environment.


    General responsibilities will be to foster a work culture which will allow the team to generate successful ideas and proposals, communicate capabilities with clarity and purpose, ensure technical excellence in all projects and meet critical deadlines. The successful candidate will demonstrate a commitment to supporting a diverse and inclusive environment in support of the Institution’s belief that diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential components that support our institutional excellence.  Additionally, the successful candidate will have proven success in leading teams and managing similar organizations and/or programs. The lab manager will work with the team to evolve the vision of future AUV research to include platforms, propulsion, navigation, sensors, autonomy and man-machine interfaces. This collective vision will be used to guide development proposals and focus efforts on next-generation underwater vehicles with greater persistence and autonomy than presently feasible. Implementing this vision will require the ability to create a highly collaborative work environment with extraordinary technical skills across all of the core disciplines in autonomous vehicle research, including mechanical and electrical engineering, hydrodynamics, power and energy management, reliability and software systems. This person will have deep technical knowledge and experience in one or more of these core areas. The desired candidate will have direct experience assessing the needs of and application uses by the existing autonomous vehicle customer base, including the U.S. and international science community, the U.S. Navy and the offshore survey and exploration industries.

    Essential Functions

    • Lead a group of highly motivated Principal Investigators, engineers, and technicians to develop AUVs and associated technology to meet current and future needs
    • Develop, maintain and communicate a strategic vision of AUV systems to motivate initiatives and proposal activities
    • Develop funding opportunities through interaction with potential sponsors
    • Work with cross-functional engineering and operational teams to identify potential AUV technical improvements and new applications
    • Lead successful proposal efforts
    • Develop, review and execute technical plans for projects
    • Establish and monitor project budgets and schedules with support of laboratory management and administrative teams
    • Continuously interact with the engineering and technician teams to assess technical progress and manage risks of each project
    • Ensure that OSL continues to develop novel uses of AUVs
    • Work with management team to define personnel and resource requirements across projects
    • Foster continued professional development of OSL team members including capabilities to write proposals and perform as a Principal Investigator
    • Supervise OSL staff and instill best practices related to mentoring, performance management and communication strategies
    • Participate in the AOPE Lab Management group, representing OSL with respect to strategic planning, policy, budgeting, facilities and personnel within context of the department


    • Perform other duties as deemed necessary and as assigned. One example is membership on WHOI committees.

    Education & Experience

    Minimum Requirements


    Bachelor degree in electrical, mechanical or software engineering and or oceanographic scientific discipline


    Minimum 20 years of engineering and management experience in research and development with some experience in robotics and/or underwater technology

    Demonstrated experience successfully managing engineering development programs for Navy or industry

    Other (Drug-Testing, Background Check, Security Clearance, etc.):

    US Citizen with existing Secret security clearance or eligibility to receive one.



    Master’s or PhD degree in electrical, mechanical or software engineering or oceanographic scientific discipline strongly desired.  PMP certificate.

    Physical Requirements

    May work at least 8 hours per day and, at times in excess of 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. Sleep and work hours can deviate from those on land. May be expected to work on watch schedule (such as 8 hours on and 8 hours off or 12 hours on and 8 hours off) for all or part of a cruise or to work as hours are needed to accomplish the planned work. May need to travel during holidays and for long distances to and from foreign ports. May experience rudimentary living and working conditions, with shared and basic living quarters and laboratories. May experience bad or extreme weather conditions, including heavy seas, winter weather or hot, tropical weather. Work on deck may occur in both hot and cold conditions around the clock. Sea conditions will lead to active ship motion. Should be able to climb steep and vertical ladders and able to enter and exit compartments through hatches, doors, and sills. Should be able to carry heavy gear and participate in the loading and unloading of the ship as well as in the activities on deck and in the labs during the cruise. Shipboard environment may include: confined areas, shared sleeping quarters (berths) and bathroom facilities, small and basic berthing, fixed meal times and basic menus. Modest levels of heating, cooling, ventilation, and illumination, limited or no email and internet access and limited off-duty and recreational facilities (library, lounge, movies). May be exposed to potential allergens and irritants, including paint fumes. May experience constant and intermittent loud noises, and slippery and uneven surfaces.


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