ALMA Selects New Director

7 July, 2017

After a competitive selection process that began in January 2017, the international governing board of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has selected Dr. Sean Dougherty as the new ALMA Director for a 5-year term beginning in April 2018.

Dougherty is currently the director of the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, Canada’s national radio astronomy facility, run by NRC Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics. He has served as a member of the ALMA Board representing North America for four years and was the chair of the ALMA Budget Committee for the last two years.

Dougherty received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from the University of Nottingham, England, in 1983 and his Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Calgary, Canada, in 1993.

Dougherty has more than 20 years of science and engineering management experience in radio astrophysics. This includes Canada’s contributions to international radio astronomy facilities and R&D projects as well as leadership of major science and engineering activities at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO). He also led the construction and delivery of the WIDAR correlator for the JVLA, and is currently leading the international consortium designing the correlator-beam former for the SKA.

“I am looking forward to this exciting opportunity of leading the most groundbreaking and challenging observatory in the world. Joining ALMA is a privilege of a lifetime,” remarked Dougherty.

Upon making this selection, the ALMA Board also extended its appreciation to Dr. Stuartt Corder, who serves as the ALMA Acting Director during the transition process.

In making this announcement, the ALMA Board stated that, “… our past and future success has been and will be the result of the leadership and hard work of many very gifted, talented and dedicated individuals.”

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded by ESO on behalf of its Member States, by NSF in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and by NINS in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI).

ALMA construction and operations are led by ESO on behalf of its Member States; by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), on behalf of North America; and by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) on behalf of East Asia. The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.