ALMA Selects New Director

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. He also led the construction and delivery of the WIDAR correlator for the JVLA, and is currently leading the international consortium designing the correlator and beamformer for the Square Kilometer Array.

“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.


Dr. Sean Dougherty. Credit: Catherine Vlahakis

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.”