IDIA Research Fellowships in Data Intensive Astronomy

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Saturday, September 30, 2017
Archive Date: 
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy
Cape Town
Western Cape
South Africa
Job Announcement Text: 

The Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy (IDIA) invites applications from suitably qualified candidates for six postdoctoral fellowships. IDIA is a partnership of four South African universities (UCT, UWC, NWU, UP) seeking to build capacity and expertise in data intensive research to ensure global leadership on MeerKAT large survey science and projects, as well as large projects on other SKA pathfinder telescopes. 

The IDIA Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme is currently supporting the following projects:

Cosmic Magnetism (Supervisor: Prof. Russ Taylor): The postdoctoral fellow will engage in observational programs in radio polarimetry and scientific investigations that path find the SKA key science goal of the exploration of the origins and evolution of cosmic magnetic fields. The fellow will be part of the MeerKAT MIGHTEE large survey project focussing on full-polarization analysis of deep, broad-bandwidth, wide-field imaging data with MeerKAT and the upgraded GMRT. 

Pipeline Development (Supervisor: Dr Bradley Frank): The candidate will work with the IDIA Pipelines Group, focusing on the design, development and testing of a big-data frameworks, and radio calibration pipelines to support the data processing for the imaging MeerKAT Large Survey Projects. The postdoctoral fellow will collaborate with the design and support of the operation of the calibration and imaging frameworks, and will play a leading role in the development, testing and deployment of the execution framework.

Visualisation (Supervisor: A/Prof. Michelle Kuttel): The postdoctoral fellow will design, develop and test novel methods for visualising and interogating multi-dimensional astronomical data.  The aim is to identify more efficient and effective means of visual representation and user interaction to support and fascilitate exploration of large data sets. The postdoc will be expected to develop and improve prototype software in a participatory manner, involving frequent interaction with researchers in Astronomy.

ThunderKAT (Prof. Patrick Woudt): The postdoctoral fellow will work in the context of the ThunderKAT/MeerLICHT radio-optical synoptic survey projects. The aim of the postdoctoral fellowship is to efficiently combine the astronomical information from the radio and the optical databases. Focus will be on machine-learning and visualisation techniques for the early detection and characterization of astronomical transients.

LADUMA (Supervisor: Dr Sarah Blyth): The postdoctoral researcher will collaborate with Prof. Catherine Cress (UWC) and Prof. Rachel Somerville (Rutgers) on generating realistic mock radio datacubes based on semi-analytic models (Somerville et al.) and hydrodynamic simulations (Dave et al.) for use by the LADUMA deep HI survey team in making predictions for radio observations with MeerKAT and SKA.

Multi-wavelength Data Fusion and Machine Learning (Dr Mattia Vaccari): The postdoc will join the HELP-IDIA Panchromatic PrOject (HIPPO) and work with UWC/IDIA Researcher Dr Mattia Vaccari on developing techniques to best use multi-wavelength data for the scientific exploitation of MeerKAT Radio Surveys such as LADUMA, MIGHTEE and MeerKLASS. The postdoc will be expected to develop and optimize tools for the identification and characterisation of radio sources applying machine learning techniques to multi-wavelength data, and (s)he will be encouraged to develop an independent research plan in MeerKAT survey science.

IDIA postdoctoral fellowships are awarded for a period of two years in the first instance, and may be extended to a third year if agreed to by the host university, the postdoctoral fellow, and IDIA. The current value of a postdoctoral fellowship is ZAR 350,000 per annum (non-taxable), and this amount is supplemented by travel and equipment funding.


Applicants should have obtained a PhD within 5 years of their start date. Successful applicants must be able to commence with their postdoctoral fellowship in South Africa on, or before, 31 March 2018.


Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Selection Deadline: 
Friday, December 1, 2017
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Nicky Walker
South Africa
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Nicky Walker
IDIA Postdoctoral Fellowships