Curtin University is ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide (ARWU 2018 and QS World University Rankings 2019), and is placed 20th in the world for universities less than 50 years old (QS Top 50 Under 50 2019). Curtin is WA’s most preferred university, with highly engaged industry-facing partners. Curtin University is a major global player, with well-integrated campuses in Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius and Dubai.
The Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy (CIRA) comprises more than 50 staff and PhD students, primarily focused on radio astronomy research, but also spanning many other aspects of observational astronomy, radio astronomy engineering, applications of high-performance computing in astronomy, and astrophysics theory (including simulation).
CIRA comprises one half of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) Joint Venture with The University of Western Australia, Western Australian State Government as well as being a node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D). CIRA researchers maintain excellent linkages with these and other national and international groups, and, in addition, CIRA has partner access to the $80M Pawsey Supercomputing Centre.
CIRA is at the forefront of low-frequency radio astronomy research as the manager and operator of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) (www.mwatelescope.org). The MWA is an SKA precursor facility; it is operational, undertaking a number of important science programmes spanning Galactic and extragalactic radio astronomy, pulsars, transients, the Epoch of Reionisation, solar and ionospheric physics, as well as radio astronomy engineering. The results of these programmes also contribute to the scientific and technical preparation for SKA_LOW (www.skatelescope.org).
CIRA has an active and successful research group in the areas of Galactic and extragalactic radio astronomy, playing major roles in the MWA and other SKA-related programmes. The Researcher will join this growing research group at CIRA, contributing to and helping to direct its research activities, and supervising undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Your new role
You will work with the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) Imaging Surveys Research Group to deliver a large low-frequency wideband sky survey, and produce high impact science using the resulting images and catalogues. The project requires a good knowledge of radio astronomy and demonstrated capability in delivering science results. The Researcher will work with CIRA science staff and members of the MWA collaboration. The position is available from January 2020 for a duration of four years.
You will work with project leader Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker and other MWA science experts at the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy (CIRA), to process and publish the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky MWA – eXtended (GLEAM-X) survey. This builds on the success of the original GLEAM survey, and will be the highest-resolution, widest-bandwidth low-frequency survey of the southern sky to date, producing wide-area images in both continuum and polarisation.
The survey comprises 1,000 hours of MWA observations obtained across 2018 – 2020. You will work with other team members to process the data, using dedicated time at the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, running and improving existing pipelines to deliver mosaicked images for further analysis. You will use the resulting images to pursue science projects of your choice, which may include studies of radio galaxies, galaxy clusters, supernova remnants, HII regions, and/or ionospheric foregrounds.
To be successful in this position, you will have good knowledge of radio astronomy, radio astrophysics, and data analysis. Experience with low-frequency radio interferometers, supercomputing, and/or large survey projects would be advantageous.
- Run, maintain, and improve existing pipelines on the survey data;
- Pursue new science projects using the GLEAM-X data;
- Present results in high-quality journals and at relevant workshops and conferences;
- Develop and maintain effective relationships with key internal and external stakeholders;
- Co-supervise undergraduate and HDR students, and contribute scientifically to the general MWA Imaging Surveys Research Group programmes
- As a member of the University community, demonstrate the highest possible standards of professional and personal conduct, modelling the University’s Values and Signature Behaviours;
- Undertake other activities, which are consistent with the accountabilities and responsibilities as listed above.
What you will bring to the role
- A PhD in radio astronomy or astrophysics
Knowledge, Experience and Skills
- Knowledge of radio astronomical calibration and imaging
- Demonstrated understanding of radio astrophysics
- Demonstrated strong track record of research outputs and communication of methods and results
- Potential for attracting external grants and funding
- Ability to or interest in supervising Higher Degree by Research students
- Commitment to principles of equity and diversity, and demonstrated ability to work in a team environment
- Experience using supercomputers to run automated pipelines (desirable)
- Experience with low-frequency radio astronomy datasets (desirable)
- Experience with large astronomical survey programmes (desirable)
- Interstate and/or overseas travel may be required.
- Ability to work outside of normal offices hours when required
Curtin University requires you to provide a cover letter, resume and a document outlining your suitability for the role that covers “What you will bring to the role”.
Valuing Diversity and Inclusion
Curtin University embraces diversity and inclusion and invites applications from women, men and intersex individuals who share the University's values, ethics, international outlook, value diversity and have an informed respect for indigenous people. We are committed to making reasonable adjustments to provide a positive, barrier-free recruitment process and supportive work place; therefore, if you have any support or access requirements, we encourage you to advise us at the time of application. We will then work with you to identify the best way to assist you through the recruitment process. All personal information will be kept confidential in compliance with relevant privacy legislation.
CIRA is committed to equity and diversity, and encourages applications from all qualified candidates who share these values, including those who have taken career breaks, or would benefit from working part-time subject to any applicable visa conditions.