Observing Support Scientist Ref: LSR04_10 - JRID37386

Submission Dates
Archive Date: 
October 1, 2010
Deadline to Apply for Job: 
September 30, 2010
Job Details
Job Category: 
Institution/Company Name: 
Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes
Institution Classification/Type: 
Submission Address for Resumes/CVs
Attention To: 
Juan Martinez
Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes
Street Address Line 1: 
Alvarez de Abreu 68
S/C de la Palma
S/C de Tenerife
Zip/Postal Code: 
+34 922 42 54
Job Announcement Text: 

The Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING) invites applications for two openings in the Observing Support Scientist group. We expect to offer one long-term post, and one 1-year post to cover a maternity leave. Approval for these posts is currently in process.

ING ( http://www.ing.iac.es ) is based on the island of La Palma in the Canaries and is responsible for the operation of the 4.2-m William Herschel Telescope (WHT) and the 2.5-m Isaac Newton Telescope. The WHT is one of the largest and most-advanced optical telescopes in Europe. The telescopes are located in the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM), 2400 metres above sea level, and are operational every day of the year in support of astronomical research programmes. ING is funded by a partnership of agencies from the UK, Netherlands and Spain.

ING's strategic plan for the coming decade,


calls for an increased focus on wide-field astronomy, and a progressive increase of the time devoted to large-scale surveys, while maintaining classical observing and the visitor instrument program. The prospects for a wider operational integration of the various telescopes at ORM will open up exciting opportunities at ING in the near future.

ING pursues a vigorous instrument-development programme. Development work currently focuses on designing a wide-field, highly-multiplexed spectrograph for WHT prime focus, in consortium with UK, Dutch and Spanish institutes, to start operating in ~2015.

In support of its operational activities, ING seeks two Observing Support Scientists.

Qualifications, knowledge and skills

Applicants must have a PhD in astronomy together with a good understanding of astronomical instrumentation, and a strong track record in research, in instrument development or in observatory operations. A good working knowledge of computer systems, in particular the Unix/Linux operating system, is essential, as is familiarity with astronomical data reduction tools (e.g. IRAF, IDL). Applicants must be able to communicate effectively in English (and in Spanish would be an advantage), be self-motivated, be good team players with effective problem-solving and inter-personal skills and be capable of working in a multi-disciplinary team.


The successful candidates will spend the majority of their time in support of ING's operational activities and they are expected to spend approximately 50% of their working hours on activities directly related to the night-time support of the telescope. The main night-time responsibilities will be service-observing, and scientific support of visiting astronomers. Support activities include preparation of instrumentation and the observing programme for the night, and ensuring the quality of data taken during the night. Work activities may include fault finding and assisting in resolving such faults. The observing support scientists will also act as a point-of-contact for external scientists.

The post holders may be given responsibility for the operation of an individual scientific instrument or for other operational activities carried out within ING's astronomy group.

Approximately 25% of the post-holders' time will be available to pursue personal research activities in a dynamic environment of forefront research and technical developments. Applications from candidates with an interest in the planned wide-field spectrograph are especially welcome.

The work will be carried out at two locations: the telescopes at the Observatory; and the ING's sea-level base in the island's capital, Santa Cruz de la Palma. The post holder will be available for night-time support on a rostered basis. A full, current, driving licence is essential, as is the ability to work at an altitude of 2400m. The successful candidates will join ING's astronomy group and report to the Head of Astronomy.

Contractual information
Starting gross annual salary will be 41059 Euros rising to 43223 Euros after one year (Grade E). An additional 20% of salary will be paid as a bonus for night work. The salary is subject to ~ 25% Spanish income tax and social-security payments. Medical cover under the Spanish National Health Service will be available to the appointee, spouse and accompanying children. A relocation package is available.

For the long-term contract, duration is expected to be at least two years. Potential applicants may seek further information from ING's Head of Administration (contact details below).

ING will assist those coming from abroad in registering with the Social Security and Health Service, and will offer financial support for Spanish lessons.

The terms and conditions of these appointments will be in accordance with the Convenio Colectivo, the bargaining agreement between the Science and Technology Facilities Council and ING's Staff.

Applicants from outside the EU need to be in possession of both residence and work permits, valid in Spain.

To apply, please send a completed application form, available at http://www.ing.iac.es/About-ING/Vacancies/vacancies1.html by email to recruit@ing.iac.es. The closing date for applications is 30 September 2010.

Applications should be accompanied by a brief description of research interests (not more than two pages) and a list of publications. Applicants should indicate which three of their publications they consider to be the most important.

Two letters of recommendation should be sent to the email address above, from referees familiar with the candidate's work.

Information related to the terms and conditions of this post is available from the Head of ING's Administration, Mr. Juan Martinez.

Email: juan@ing.iac.es
Tel: + 34 922 425414
Fax: + 34 922 425401

ING is fully committed to equality of opportunity in the workplace.

Further information

Further information on this position is available from ING's Head of Astronomy, Dr. Chris Benn: Tel: + 34 922 425432 or email crb@ing.iac.es.

Included Benefits: 

No benefits information has been provided by the employer.