Post Doctoral Research Associate

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, November 9, 2021
To event remaining 17 days
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
AURA/Vera C. Rubin Observatory
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The Vera C. Rubin Observatory, operated by NSF’s NOIRLab and DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Lab invites applications for a Postdoctoral Research Associate to assist Rubin Observatory with engaging researchers, educators, and students at smaller and under-resourced institutions to improve diversity and scientific research inclusion in astronomy.   The successful candidate will have 50% of their time available to conduct their own self-directed research, which should ideally be built around Rubin’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) science goals and/or associated research areas with other NOIRLab facilities. This position will be based in Tucson, Arizona. 

Rubin’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST), an upcoming 10-year survey of the southern skies, will deliver a 500-petabyte set of images and data products that will address some of the most pressing questions about the structure and evolution of the universe and the objects in it.  With dedicated attention, the Survey will also provide an opportunity to support historically underrepresented groups to participate in forefront astronomy research and take full advantage of this US community research facility. The LSST combined with Rubin’s online Science Platform provide a new resource to power inclusion in research. Rubin and NOIRLab seek a research astronomer with experience in inclusive practices and an interest in LSST science to help build connections with researchers at smaller and under-resourced institutions and to understand their needs in order to successfully support their participation in Big Data science.  

Project Description

The Research Inclusion Initiative (RII) will support research participation of the broadest US astronomical community by specifically addressing the concerns of researchers at small and under-resourced institutions who are interested in participating in Rubin’s LSST.  The postdoc will work with those groups to identify needs and support development of procedures, practices, and tools, to be implemented by Rubin Observatory, to address those needs. In addition, the successful candidate will spend up to 50% of their time pursuing their own research goals. 


The successful candidate will work with Rubin Observatory Community Engagement to directly engage with researchers, educators, and students at small and under-resourced institutions. Supporting the institutions in the use of LSST data and Science Platform training as well as understanding and responding to distinct issues affecting this diverse group and working to develop long-term practices and solutions that address those specific needs.

The successful candidate will also work with staff sponsor, Dara Norman, and an advisory team to support the NOIRLab Research Inclusion Initiative which includes, developing policies and procedures that enable and encourage mutually beneficial partnerships, establishing opportunities for scientific networking and collaboration building, supporting technical infrastructure to enable broad participation in research and developing training and support for science platforms and other software infrastructure.

The successful candidate will be able to devote up to 50% of their time to their own self-directed research program, ideally built around Rubin LSST science and/or associated research areas with other NOIRLab facilities. A travel budget will include funds for travel to allow the candidate to present their own research, as well as collect and present work on the RII activities and outcomes. 

The initial term of appointment will be two years, with the possibility for reappointment for up to three years, contingent on performance.

Questions regarding this position should be sent to Dr. Dara Norman, [email protected] 


  • PhD in Astronomy, Astrophysics, Cosmology, or closely related fields. 
  • Able to lead own research program, preferably aligned with Rubin Observatory data, while completing functional job requirements
  • Previous work with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) research or activities in STEM
  • Excellent communication and writing skills
  • Interest in the promotion of structural social justice change in science
  • Experience with astronomical software tools (e.g., python, astropy, Data Lab, other Rubin-related tools) is a plus

Physical Demands:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The work is mostly carried out in an office environment. Long periods of sitting and computer usage will be required. Given the international nature of NOIRLab, you may need to travel to the various observatory sites and other locations for business purposes.

AURA offers an excellent benefits package including paid time off and retirement plan contributions, competitive salary commensurate with experience, and a stimulating work environment.

****Rubin Observatory has the majority of staff working remotely during COVID-19 crisis. The safety of our staff and community is our top priority. We will continue to interview and screen candidates in this new virtual landscape. Offers of employment can be extended and new hires can on-board virtually and arrangements may be made for remote work in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, New Mexico, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C., preceding relocation to Tucson, Arizona. Relocation benefits will be available to those eligible when travel can be supported**** 

Preference will be given to qualified internal candidates and qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham reservation.

Veterans, disabled individuals or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process should request assistance at [email protected] 

Complete applications require the submission of a cover letter that explains your interest in the position, curriculum vitae that includes a list of relevant publications, the names and email addresses of 3 references and a 1–2-page statement of current and future DEI and research interests, all as PDF files.  Only complete applications will receive full consideration. Please name any attachments with the following format: Lastname Docname.  

Completed applications received by November 8, 2021, will receive full consideration, but earlier submission is encouraged.

We are committed to diversity and inclusion at Rubin Observatory.  Our managing organization, AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a consortium of over 40 US institutions and three international affiliates that operates world-class astronomical observatories. AURA’s role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research. AURA is responsible for managing the operations of the NSF’s NOIRLab, the National Solar Observatory, and the construction of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation and operations of the Space Telescope Science Institute under contracts with NASA. 

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws.

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
AURA Human Resources
Institution/Company Job ID or Reference Code: 
Inquiries About Job