From the Director: Launching a Search for ALDs

March 29, 2013

As I announced in February, SLAC will launch a formal worldwide search for new associate laboratory directors for our primary user facilities, the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) and Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL).

With SSRL and LCLS, SLAC is the steward of facilities that are visited by thousands of scientists each year. Given this reach, it's important that the leadership search be as broad as possible, gathering input from both internal and external stakeholders and considering the widest possible pool of talent.

To that end, I've asked Norbert Holtkamp, SLAC's associate lab director (ALD) for the Accelerator Directorate, and Soichi Wakatsuki, professor of Photon Science at SLAC and Structural Biology at Stanford School of Medicine, to co-chair the committee that will simultaneously search for candidates to fill both of these important positions. Forming one committee to conduct both searches is the right choice because the pools of candidates for these positions will undoubtedly overlap. This joint search is also an opportunity for us to develop an integrated vision and strategy for our premier photon science facilities.

In the coming days, the committee will pull together representatives from all key stakeholder groups across SLAC and Stanford, as well as leaders in the synchrotron radiation and free-electron laser user communities, to serve on the committee. Their first role is to define the search process and share that information broadly.

Let me emphasize again how important it is for the committee to obtain as much input as possible in order to find the best people for these positions. This search process is not only your opportunity to suggest people who should be considered for the positions, but also to tell the committee what you think are the most important characteristics and skills these leaders should have, as well as what the scientific vision for the facilities should be.

The search will take some time, so I again thank Piero Pianetta for continuing to serve in the acting ALD role for SSRL during this period. I will also name an acting ALD for LCLS before Jo Stöhr steps down at the end of April.

I look forward to hearing about the committee's progress on these critical searches for SLAC, and again encourage your involvement in the process.