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Program Manager - Robotics and Autonomy
Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland
Date Posted 11/25/2021
Science-Computer Sciences
Employment Type Full-time
Application Deadline Open until filled

Are you passionate about pursuing groundbreaking research to solve today’s greatest challenges in robotics and autonomy?

Do you enjoy working on meaningful interdisciplinary problems and creating solutions that address critical challenges facing the nation?

If so, we're looking for someone like you to join our team at APL.

The Research and Exploratory Development (RED) Mission Area is seeking a Program Manager for our Robotics and Autonomy Program to lead development of research strategy, technical thought leadership, and outreach activities, and to identify strategic opportunities in pioneering high-risk, high-reward research in revolutionary robotic systems, robotic intuition, robotic super agility, and teaming and trust.

In your role as Program Manager of the Robotics and Autonomy Program, you will...

  • Create a research strategy encompassing pioneering interdisciplinary research identifying emerging thrusts with the program, seeking subject matter expertise (SME) and feedback from SMEs. Seek new ideas and derivative efforts to foster future program initiatives. Refine research strategy for new and emerging technical areas to support DoD and IC research challenges. Work with the Program Area Manager to develop and execute a vision and core set of projects aligned with external DoD and IC challenges. Coordinate internally and closely collaborate with a range of external partners.

  • Provide program leadership, mentor thought leaders, project managers and technical leads by providing project guidance and establishing technical direction. Directly communicate capabilities, ideas, progress and key findings to Sponsors and the scientific community via presentations, reports and publications. Take ownership of achieving exceptional Sponsor project outcomes. Work with Sponsors to identify and support technical gaps critical to program success. Review and finalize program deliverables to ensure alignment with Sponsor needs. Review and approve APL-generated products (key findings, presentations, reports, manuscripts).

  • Provide thought leadership in conceptualizing and pursuing new research initiatives aligned with APL envisioned futures to support the RED Mission Area. Develop and compose proposals that effectively communicate the Program’s capabilities. Mentor staff toward innovative thought leadership to aid strategic efforts, proposal development, and highlight impact publications.

  • Lead the development and execution of proposals, task assignments, and related documentation to address Sponsor needs and compliance with APL’s policies and processes. Review and approve program deliverables to ensure they meet Sponsor needs and portfolio standards. Conduct regular project reviews to identify areas of risk and develop appropriate mitigation plans in coordination with sponsor requirements. Ensure Enterprise requirements for quality and safety are met for all program activities.

You meet our minimum qualifications for the job if you...

  • Have a Masters' Degree or equivalent advanced degree in Mechanical Engineering, Robotics, Physics or Computer Science.

  • Have 7+ years of relevant professional experience in applied robotics research.

  • Proven record of success in developing ideas and concepts leading to sponsored research effort.

  • Strong demonstrated skills in leadership of multi-disciplinary technical teams, organization and planning.


  • Experience managing projects within quality management system guidelines.


  • Strategic thinker with ability to interact with all levels of staff and management including senior leadership of government agencies and academic institutions.


  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills.


  • Demonstrated track record of different research leadership roles across various research TRLs.


  • Are able to obtain a TS/SCI level security clearance. If selected, you will be subject to a government security clearance investigation and must meet the requirements for access to classified information. Eligibility requirements include U.S. citizenship.​​​​​​​

  • Can demonstrate that you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. To ensure the safety and well-being of the community, APL has established a policy requiring that all staff be vaccinated against COVID-19. All staff members must provide proof of full vaccination or have an approved medical or religious accommodation by their start date.


You'll go above and beyond our minimum requirements if you...

  • PhD in Mechanical Engineering, Robotics, Physics or Computer Science.


  • Prior program management experience.


  • Prior experience in robotic intuition, super agility, teaming and trust.


Why work at APL?

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) brings world-class expertise to our nation’s most critical defense, security, space and science challenges. While we are dedicated to solving complex challenges and pioneering new technologies, what makes us truly outstanding is our culture. We offer a vibrant, welcoming atmosphere where you can bring your authentic self to work, continue to grow, and build strong connections with inspiring teammates.

At APL, we celebrate our differences and encourage creativity and bold, new ideas. Our employees enjoy generous benefits, including a robust education assistance program, unparalleled retirement contributions, and a healthy work/life balance. APL’s campus is located in the Baltimore-Washington metro area. Learn more about our career opportunities at

Additional Information
  • Primary Mission Area: Research & Exploratory Development
  • Requisition ID: 28278
  • Security Clearance Required on Start Date: Clearance not required
  • Final Security Clearance Required: TS/SCI
*Please mention to employers when applying for this job*
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