Post Doctoral Research Associate

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
AURA/ Rubin Obs.
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 work with astronomers and a larger advisory team to improve diversity and inclusion in astronomy and astrophysics research. This position will be based in Tucson, Arizona.  The position will focus on helping Rubin Observatory engage with researchers, educators, and students at smaller and under-resourced institutions to improve diversity and research inclusion in astronomy, while conducting their own self-directed research.

Rubin’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST), a 10 year survey of the southern skies beginning in a few years, will provide opportunities to reach groups that have historically not been able to participate in forefront astronomy research and education, for lack of resources, to take advantage of research facilities available to the US community. The LSST combined with Rubin’s online Science Platform provide a new resource to power inclusion in research. NOIRLab and Rubin seek a research astronomer with experience in inclusive programs to help build connections and understand needs of smaller institutions in order that they can successfully participate in the Inclusion Revolution coming with big data.  

The successful candidate will work collaboratively, with NOIRLab staff members supporting the Research Inclusion Initiative (RII) as well as with Rubin Community Engagement staff, on designing specific programs to support inclusive use of Rubin data and data products. 

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 interested in participating in Rubin’s LSST.  This program is envisioned to establish direct relationships with groups and individuals at small and under-resourced institutions in the US that have indicated their interest in participating in the 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.


The successful candidate will work with Rubin Observatory Community Engagement Staff 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.

In parallel, the successful candidate will work with NOIRLab staff sponsor, Dara Norman, and an advisory team to support the RII which includes:

  • Developing policies and procedures that enable and encourage mutually beneficial partnerships
  • Establishing opportunities for scientific networking and collaboration building
  • Building and supporting technical infrastructure to enable  broad participation in research
  • 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 supporting their own 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 one year, with the possibility for reappointment for up to three years, contingent on performance and on the availability of funding.

Questions regarding this position should be sent to Dr. Dara Norman,


  • D. 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
  • Excellent communication and writing skills
  • Previous work with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) research or activities in STEM
  • Interest in the promotion of structural social justice change in science

****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.

Please submit a curriculum vitae, a list of publications and a statement of current and future DEI and research interests, all as PDF files.  Three confidential letters of reference should be sent to, with the name of the applicant included in the subject heading. Please name any attachments with the following format: Lastname Docname.  

Completed applications and letters of reference received by July 15, 2021 will receive full consideration, but earlier submission is encouraged.

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. 

Included Benefits: 

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

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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