Postdoctoral Scholars in Software and Science with the Legacy Survey of Space and Time

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, November 19, 2021
Archive Date: 
Friday, December 17, 2021
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
Large Academic
University of Washington
Department Name: 
Astronomy Department
Street Line 1: 
3910 15th Ave NE
Street Line 3: 
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

We invite applications for 3- and 5-year postdoctoral positions at the University of Washington’s DiRAC Institute, combining development of state-of-the-art software systems, participation in LSST commissioning, time and support for original research, and unique opportunities for ground-breaking first science with LSST.

The Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST; will be the most comprehensive optical astronomy project ever undertaken. Beginning in 2024, the LSST will build up the deepest, widest movie of the Universe. The resulting hundreds of petabytes of imaging for close to 40 billion objects will be used for scientific investigations ranging from the properties of near-Earth asteroids to characterizations of Dark Matter and Dark Energy. The volume, quality, and real-time aspects of the LSST data present once-in-a-generation research opportunities.

The Institute for Data-intensive Research in Astrophysics and Cosmology (DiRAC; is a center within the Astronomy Department at the University of Washington. Its mission is to expand the frontiers of astrophysics enabled by breakthroughs in large surveys, algorithms, and software, and train future leaders in data-intensive science and software research through a strong postdoctoral mentoring program. The Institute comprises six faculty and senior fellows (including the LSST Deputy Director and Project Scientist), and over 30 postdoctoral researchers, research scientists, software engineers and graduate students. DiRAC leads the construction of Rubin Observatory’s time domain and solar system processing pipelines, co-leads the LINCC (LSST Interdisciplinary Network for Computing and Collaboration; Frameworks program to provide advances in software infrastructure needed to enable LSST analyses (, and operates the LINCC Science Platform (

We seek applicants who combine experience and passion for astronomical software with enthusiasm for early LSST science. All applicants will be considered for the following full-time postdoctoral scholar positions:

Rubin Observatory- Up to two 3-year positions with 80% appointment as members of the Rubin Observatory Commissioning and/or Data Management teams and 20% original research time. In this position you will help devise and develop important elements of the LSST data processing algorithms and software (including work on image differencing, coadded image template generation, object classification, and alert streaming), work on commissioning the survey and understanding of first imaging data, and lead or participate in complementary early LSST science.

DiRAC-LSST- Up to two 3-year positions combining 50% appointment as member of the Rubin Observatory Commissioning and/or Data Management teams and 50% original research time fellowship. DiRAC-LSST fellows will participate directly in commissioning the Rubin Observatory and development of the data processing software, with an equal emphasis on carrying out a strong program of research with early LSST data.

DiRAC-LINCC- Up to two 3 - 5yr positions as Project Scientists for LINCC Frameworks, a novel joint UW-CMU program to develop software for early science with LSST ( Areas of focus include Solar System, time-domain, and extragalactic science. Guided by DiRAC faculty and community input, DiRAC-LINCC postdocs will identify high-impact LSST science opportunities, articulate the software needed to fulfill them, guide the engineering team to turn their vision into reality, and carry out a strong original research program enabled by the resulting codes.

LSST and LINCC software are open source, written in Python and C++ (for performance-critical elements). Applicants must have 3 years of experience with Python or C/C++ programming. Applicants with interest in early science with LSST in DiRAC research areas (see, prior experience in astronomical surveys, or contributions to community and open source astronomical software development are especially encouraged to apply.

Postdoctoral scholars are represented by UAW 4121 and are subject to the collective bargaining agreement, unless agreed exclusion criteria apply. For more information, please visit the University of Washington Labor Relations website.


A Ph.D or foreign equivalent degree in astronomy, physics, computer science, or a related subject is required. The initial appointment is for two years, renewable for a third year, and offers competitive salary and benefits. The appointment is expected to start no later than September 2022.

Application Instructions

Materials must be submitted through Interfolio. Please use the following link:

Applicants should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, research statement, diversity statement, as well as contact information for three letters of recommendation. 

The research statement must be no more than 3 pages, addressing both current and future work ideas (papers and/or software packages). We encourage applicants to follow the AAS Postdoctoral Application Guidelines in preparing these materials ( Applicants should address in their application how their work potentially complements, connects to, or extends current research efforts at DiRAC, or indicate how they would benefit from expertise available at DiRAC. Applicants should especially highlight work and ideas related to first science with LSST. We also encourage applicants to highlight work and achievements related to data-intensive astronomy that they are enthusiastic about, but do not easily fit within traditional metrics of academic success (e.g. open-source software development, development of teaching or outreach materials, diversity work, etc).

The diversity statement should address how your activities at UW could contribute to the diversity, equity and inclusivity goals (maximum length 1 page; for more information see

Applications will be accepted until the positions are filled, but should be received by December 17th, 2021 for full consideration. Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

University of Washington is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, genetic information, gender identity or expression, age, disability, or protected veteran status.

COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements and Information

Under Washington State Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 21-14.1, University of Washington (UW) workers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof thereof, or receive a UW-approved medical or religious exemption. This requirement will be a condition of any offer associated with this recruitment. For more information, please visit

Application Deadline: 
Friday, December 17, 2021
Selection Deadline: 
Monday, February 28, 2022
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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Astronomy Department
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