Executive Director, Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility, University of Chicago

University of Chicago

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL, USA
Posted on Tuesday, October 10, 2023


PME Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility - Operations

About the Department

The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) was established in May 2019 and evolved from the Institute for Molecular Engineering, which was founded in 2011. The PME integrates science and engineering to address global challenges from the molecular level up. The PME’s rigorous academic and research programs are made possible through the University of Chicago’s unique partnership with Argonne National Laboratory. The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering is the first new school at the University of Chicago in three decades and the first school in the nation dedicated to molecular engineering. In the next phase of growth as a School, the PME will continue to expand its team of world-class faculty researchers and empower students from diverse backgrounds to collaborate with faculty in cutting-edge facilities. The PME aims to bring solutions for urgent societal problems to the forefront, while training the next generation of scientific leaders and entrepreneurs.

Job Summary

The Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility (PNF) is PME’s central shared-use nanofabrication facility with over 10,000 sq ft. of clean room space, housing a large complement of tools dedicated to thin film deposition, photolithography, e-beam lithography, etching, soft materials and microfluidics, and processing from meso-scale to nanometer scales. The facility interfaces with researchers from academia and industry and plays a critical role in the PME’s research and educational missions.

Reporting to the Faculty Director of the PNF, the Executive Director serves as the primary scientific and operational leader, managing the daily activities of the PNF and communicating with facility stakeholders. Responsibilities include hiring and oversight of technical staff, safety, user training, equipment maintenance, tool acquisition and installation, lab-based training and educational programs, and other aspects of facilities operations. As part of the PNF’s growth strategy, the Executive Director will have the opportunity to identify and recruit technical and managerial staff.

Successful candidates are expected to have experience in the operations of an academic cleanroom (detailed below). The candidate will be committed to leading a diverse cleanroom community composed of faculty, users, and staff, combined with an interest in helping develop research and educational support within the School and with local industry. Qualified candidates will have the opportunity to contribute to the education mission, including teaching undergraduate and graduate courses.


  • Supervises and directs engineering design and equipment engineers, process engineers, and other technical professionals. Directs and coordinates with facilities and staff on tool installations and facility maintenance.
  • Executes the PNF strategy and associated deliverables in the areas of basic science, applied research, research and development, prototype production, and the education and training of undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and other trainees.
  • Collaborates closely with UChicago, Argonne, and external researchers to develop and implement proper cleanroom fabrication and characterization protocols, and serves as the point of contact for students, trainees, and other users while they are working in the PNF.
  • Facilitates and develops strategic near- and long-term research, capabilities, and implementation plans through collaboration with users, faculty, and management.
  • Develops new education and training modules to support evolving needs as well as the educational mission of the University; provides continuous training, supervision, and evaluation of PNF staff as they interact with undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Provides mentorship to graduate students in process engineering and use of instrumentation to accommodate their individual research pieces.
  • Ensures all facility users including UChicago faculty and PIs, graduate students, undergraduate students, Argonne and Fermi Lab scientists, and external researchers from other academic institutions, non-profits, and companies are compliant with safety training and protocols.
  • Manages the business operations process in the PNF with the aim of improving year-over-year revenue generation and growth of internal and external user revenue. Assists with identifying and competing for external research/operational funding opportunities.
  • Resolves problems related to safety management, environmental safety and health, and quality assurance in order to ensure compliance with University standards. Reviews and updates PNF policies when needed; implements operational changes based on need and/or improved operational efficiency.
  • Works closely with various leadership and safety committees to gather feedback to improve user experience, and/or expand capabilities.
  • Executes fiduciary responsibilities including: approving purchases; annual budget preparation; reviewing and providing adjustments to monthly reports; analysis of tools utilization; and user rate development with central recharge operations office.
  • Promotes the PNF and engages with the scientific community; presents at workshops and conferences.
  • Manages department activities, through subordinates, to design new systems and/or of electric or electronic components, equipment, systems, etc.; modify existing designs; improve production techniques; and develop test procedures.
  • Monitors technology trends, human resource needs, and market demand to plan projects. Confers with management to determine engineering feasibility and cost effectiveness for new and existing systems and/or of electric or electronic components, equipment, systems, etc.
  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications


Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 7+ years of work experience in a related job discipline.



Preferred Qualifications


  • A college or university degree in electrical engineering, applied physics, or chemical engineering, is helpful.


  • Ten or more years of experience in cleanroom operations and nanofabrication or relevant industrial or academic experience.
  • Research or facilities management experience.

Technical Skills or Knowledge:

  • Hands-on experience in all cleanroom technology areas including but not limited to photolithography, nanolithography, metrology, physical vapor deposition, chemical vapor deposition, pattern transfer, microfluidics, and soft lithography.
  • Knowledge of safety and health issues concerning cleanroom, life safety, equipment, clean operations and protocols, and hazardous materials handling and disposal including hazardous and toxic gasses, liquids, and solids.

Preferred Competencies

  • Leadership and management of personnel.
  • Excellent communication skills to work and interface with all stakeholders.
  • Interpret and generate documents related to safety rules, operations, and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals.
  • Strong negotiation, communication, and presentation skills.
  • Excellent project management and organizational skills.
  • Collaborative team player with the ability to work cross-functionally.
  • Analyze data and lend technical expertise to establish priorities, and develop and implement strategies with increasing complexity.
  • Evidence as a self-starter who can work independently, as well as be a team contributor in a complex and fast-paced organization.
  • High degree of emotional intelligence.

Application Documents

  • Resume/CV (required)
  • Cover Letter (required)

When applying, the document(s) MUST be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Job Family


Role Impact

People Manager

FLSA Status


Pay Frequency


Scheduled Weekly Hours


Benefits Eligible


Drug Test Required


Health Screen Required


Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required


Posting Statement

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, military or veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.

Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.

We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.

All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history. A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment. Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.

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