University of Washington

Location: Seattle, WA


Job Description: The University of Washington seeks an energetic & empowering leader for the position of Executive Director of the Applied Physics Laboratory.

Job Title: Executive Director of the Applied Physics Laboratory

Job Reference: Req. #228397

Job Type: Research facilities and national laboratories

Salary Band: $300,000

Salary description: $345,000 – $384,996 per annum + benefits

Application link:

Full Job Description:

The University of Washington (UW) seeks an energetic and empowering leader with proven research, administrative, and communication skills for the position of Executive Director of the Applied Physics Laboratory.

The University of Washington (UW) seeks an energetic and empowering leader with proven research, administrative, and communication skills for the position of Executive Director of the Applied Physics Laboratory. The UW is the nation’s leading public university in obtaining federal research funding and is regularly ranked among the top 15 universities worldwide. The UW is committed to providing and promoting an inclusive and diverse community and has a Diversity Blueprint to guide its actions. The Applied Physics Laboratory at the UW (APL-UW), a US Navy University Affiliated Research Center (UARC), is a world-class basic and applied research laboratory. APL-UW is known for its success in securing research funds through competitive grants and contracts sponsored primarily by federal agencies (DoD and non-DoD), state agencies, and industry, and for its strong academic and collaborative integration into the UW.

With a current annual research budget over $100M, the APL-UW is an international leader in marine- and acoustics-related science and engineering research, with expertise and operational departments in Acoustics, Air-Sea Interactions and Remote Sensing, Electronic and Photonic Systems, Environmental and Informational Systems, Industrial and Medical Ultrasound, Ocean Engineering, Ocean Physics, and Polar Science. The APL-UW employs over 350 people, including independent Principal Investigators (approximately half of the organization, many with academic affiliations to other UW units), technical staff, postdoctoral scholars, students, and administrative personnel.

Through collaborative pooling of technical expertise, in-house engineering, and prototype manufacturing resources, the APL-UW has positioned itself as a leader in complex and large-scale marine-related engineering projects, remote and extensive field operations, and quick and efficient advanced technology transfer to industry and government sectors. Although the APL-UW’s primary focus is research, its personnel also directly support the academic mission of the UW by mentoring and sponsoring students, teaching courses, providing research expertise complementary to academic units, and sharing science and engaging with the public, including K-12 educational outreach.

The Executive Director of APL-UW must be an individual with proven excellence in leading independent research and in management of programs of significant size at research or educational institutions. The Executive Director of APL-UW must provide a strong strategic vision, as well as leadership to guide research operations and funding initiatives. The Director enables individual researchers to reach their full potential, while catalyzing the Lab’s growth in new research areas and initiatives. This requires excellent communication and interpersonal skills for developing and maintaining strong relationships with internal and external partners. The Director will promote diversity, inclusivity and transparency to foster a world-class workforce. The Director must sustain trust with key stakeholders (including UW leadership and NAVSEA), understanding and valuing APL’s status and standing as a UARC, as this is critical to its contributions to the public good on local, national, and global levels. The Director will enhance relationships with funding agencies, leveraging the privileged relationship with the DoD, especially the US Navy, and continue to spearhead and develop funding sources including other government agencies and industry.


Ph.D in Scientific or Engineering field plus a minimum of 10 years of experience.

Experience obtaining and managing research grants and contracts as Principal Investigator, over the course of multiple projects, with direct supervision of PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and/or research scientists/engineers.

Successful candidates will be required to document, through the vision statement and external references, significant experience or great potential for managing a multi-PI large research organization like APL-UW.

US citizenship is required to apply. The Executive Director serves as the Senior Intelligence Officer for the APL-UW, providing senior leadership to APL-UW’s security team on all matters related to the safeguarding of classified material, systems, and information and will therefore be subject to government security investigations. The finalist must possess or be eligible to obtain and maintain a Top Secret security clearance with access to Sensitive Compartmented Information and Special Access Program materials and programs.

Application components:

Cover Letter (max 2 pages)
3 references (that will be contacted only if you advance to the interview stage in the selection process)
Vision Statement (max 2 pages)
Summary of contributions to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (max 2 pages)
Summary of Research, Mentoring and Leadership experience (combined max of 3 pages).

Formal applications require uploading a resume and cover letter through UW Hires, and then emailing all application materials to as pdf documents (a zip file with all pdfs is acceptable).

Applications submitted by January 16, 2024 will receive full consideration. The search will continue until the position has been filled.

For additional information about the people and research of the Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington, please visit and

The application process for UW positions may include completion of a variety of online assessments to obtain additional information that will be used in the evaluation process.  These assessments may include Work Authorization, Cover Letter and/or others.  Any assessments that you need to complete will appear on your screen as soon as you select “Apply to this position”. Once you begin an assessment, it must be completed at that time; if you do not complete the assessment you will be prompted to do so the next time you access your “My Jobs” page. If you select to take it later, it will appear on your “My Jobs” page to take when you are ready. Please note that your application will not be reviewed, and you will not be considered for this position until all required assessments have been completed.

Committed to attracting and retaining a diverse staff, the University of Washington will honor your experiences, perspectives and unique identity. Together, our community strives to create and maintain working and learning environments that are inclusive, equitable and welcoming.

The University of Washington is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.

To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact the Disability Services Office at 206-543-6450 or

Applicants considered for this position will be required to disclose if they are the subject of any substantiated findings or current investigations related to sexual misconduct at their current employment and past employment. Disclosure is required under Washington state law.