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Vice President, National Laboratories

University of California, Office of the President
Oakland, California, US
$402,400.00 - $439,800.00
Posting live until
13 Jul 2024

The University of California, Office of the President invites nominations and applications for the role of Vice President, National Laboratories (VPNL). Reporting to the President of the University of California, Dr. Michael V. Drake, MD, the VPNL is responsible for the UC National Laboratories division (UCNL) division of the University of California Office of the President (UCOP).

The University of California (UC) provides contract management and oversight of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and ensures UC obligations for the limited liability companies (LLCs) that operate Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). LBNL is managed solely by UC under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, with a FY2024 budget of ~$1.1 billion. LLNL (FY2024 budget ~$3 billion) and LANL (FY2024 budget ~$5 billion) are under the purview of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and managed through Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC and Triad National Security, LLC, respectively.

The UC considers its role supporting the laboratories’ work to be a dimension of its remarkable commitment to public service in the nation’s interest. The federal government depends on the laboratories to bring world-leading expertise and facilities to address the DOE missions of science, security, energy, and the environment. The VPNL leads, directs, and oversees the University’s relationships with the three Department of Energy national laboratories that it operates, serves as the University’s principal liaison to the Department of Energy in all matters of policy, contract management, and accountability for the laboratories, and represents the University’s national-laboratory mission area to the UC Board of Regents. 

UCNL plays a central role in managing the University’s prime contract administration and governance at Berkeley Lab and for the University’s participation in the governance of LANL and LLNL as a member of the two limited liability companies that manage those labs. For all three national laboratories, the VPNL and their staff ensure that laboratory leadership, The Regents, the Office of the President, and the relevant governing boards have the necessary information to effectively advance world-class research in science, technology, and engineering while supporting that research with excellent performance in operations and business, compliance, and stewardship.

The VPNL is responsible for assuring that the highest standards of quality and integrity distinguish the national laboratories’ work, in addition to adherence to DOE requirements. The VPNL works closely with the Laboratory Directors, other University leadership, UC Regents, DOE/NNSA, the UC Academic Senate, UC campus leaders, and other UC advisory bodies to accomplish assigned responsibilities, drive management and operational improvement, and assure excellence in science and technology as well as mission performance. The VPNL is a member of the governing boards of the LLC’s that manage Livermore and Los Alamos labs and plays a significant role in the University’s oversight of Berkeley Lab. The VPNL leads a team of 12, supplemented when needed by external subject-matter experts as initiatives may require.


  • Substantial knowledge of national laboratories, their federal sponsors, and their roles in research and development and national security
  • Experience managing complex enterprises, including major research and development activities
  • A record of successfully managing a complex array of internal and external stakeholders and partners
  • Evidence of a capacity for innovative and entrepreneurial action
  • Proven skills in leading via influence and relationship building rather than by directive authority
  • Recognized scientific and/or technical leadership credentials
  • Evidence of developing and implementing growth strategies relevant to expanding the Labs’ engagement with industry, deepening their engagement with UC campuses, and pursuing additional lab-management contracts
  • Advanced degree required; an earned doctorate or an equivalent terminal degree preferred
  • Outstanding record of accomplishment in a scientific program, engineering, and/or the operational/administrative disciplines related to the mission of labs. Familiarity with the nuclear weapons and/or national security enterprise
  • Ability to engender professional respect and effective working relationships with senior laboratory, NNSA and other DOE personnel, and with University faculty and administration
  • A DOE Q security clearance or the ability to acquire one; SCI or equivalent DOD clearance preferred

The University of California has retained Opus Partners to conducting the search for the new Vice President, National Laboratories. Craig V. Smith, Senior Partner, Ann K. Adams, Associate Partner, and Marisea Rivera, Senior Associate, are supporting the President’s search committee. Please contact Opus via to learn more about the opportunity, to provide a nomination, or to apply. Required application materials include a CV or resume and a letter of interest. The letter should reflect how a candidate’s qualifications and experience match those required for the role. Candidates invited to interview with the Search Committee will in addition provide a statement describing their contributions to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Apply here.

The University of California, UC Office of the President is required to provide a reasonable estimate of the compensation range for this role. This range accounts for the wide range of factors that are considered in making compensation decisions including but not limited to experience, skills, knowledge, abilities, education, licensure and certifications, and other business and organizational needs. Salary offers are determined based on final candidate qualifications and experience. The budgeted salary range that the University reasonably expects to pay for this position is $402,400 to $439,800. UC offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, vision and retirement plans as well as moving, relocation, and housing assistance.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the University of California’s complete nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy, please visit this website:

University of California Policy on Discrimination, Harassment, and Affirmative Action in the Workplace.

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