ESA/AURA Astronomer Opportunities #0054999

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Thursday, December 5, 2019
Archive Date: 
Thursday, January 23, 2020
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
Space Telescope Science Institute
Street Line 1: 
3700 San Martin Dr
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

Astronomer positions are available at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), sponsored by the European Space Agency (ESA). The European Space Agency (ESA) provides scientific personnel to the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) as part of its collaboration with NASA for the missions scientifically operated at STScI.

There are currently two openings for astronomers funded by the ESA Directorate for Science, through a contract with the STScI. These scientific positions are three-year term, renewable contracts with salaries and benefits commensurate with those of AURA employees at the STScI.

One astronomer position will provide direct support to the HST mission. In general, functional duties encompass all activities associated with support of the instruments currently on board HST: WFC3, COS, ACS, STIS and FGS. This includes but is not limited to support to the characterization, on orbit testing and calibration of the scientific instruments, direct support to the user community during the preparation, implementation and execution of the observing programs.

One astronomer position will provide support to the JWST mission. The initial assignment is in support to the JWST Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) instrument with an initial focus on supporting the final planning and execution of the on-orbit commissioning and calibration programs. During routine operations the tasks will be similar those listed for HST.

Beside instrument support, astronomers work in key areas throughout STScI including user support, observation planning and scheduling, and archival support. Other duties could also include the scientific oversight of projects to further improve the missions observing efficiency and user interfaces, or related to the scientific use of the missions archives.

Astronomers spend 50% in support of ESA-NASA partnered science missions operated at STScI and 50% of their time on personal research. Therefore, the successful candidates will be expected to maintain an active program of research in astronomy, in addition to carrying out functional tasks related to the missions they support within STScI.

The STScI professional environment is stimulating and intended to facilitate independent research. STScI supports postdoctoral, graduate student and visitor programs, workshops and meetings, and has excellent computer, technical and library infrastructure.

Candidates for these positions must have a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in astronomy or physics or related discipline, with a strong, established record of independent research and scientific publications and excellent technical skills, in order to provide first-class support to the multi-faceted needs of the missions. The primary qualifications we are seeking are excellence in observational or instrumental research. For JWST, expertise with integral field or multi object spectroscopy in the Near-Infrared, and/or previous experience in science operations of astronomical space missions are considered key assets. Knowledge of the NIRSpec Instrument would be a plus.

For both positions, efforts are made to suitably match the background and experience of qualified candidates to current missions needs. In the future, technical support to other ESA-NASA partnered missions scientifically operated at STScI could be possible, contingent upon performance and candidate expertise, program needs and funding.

Applications are encouraged from both junior and senior astronomers, as the experience and accomplishment of the successful applicants will determine the level of the appointment.

STScI occupies multiple sites surrounding the campus of the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in Baltimore, MD. It maintains close connections with the JHU Physics and Astronomy Department and is a partner in both the Pan-STARRS and LSST consortia. STScI values diversity and has a research staff mentoring program and access to annual training programs. The research environment engages, stimulates and supports an international research staff with over 100 members. Research projects ( span a wide range of topics and include collaborations with postdoctoral researchers, research instrument analysts and JHU graduate students, as well as researchers from other institutions. Researchers lead the organization of annual workshops and larger-scale meetings, and participate in the activities of the very successful office of public outreach.

STScI is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer and one of its goals is to develop an inclusive and diverse environment. Therefore, women and minority candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. As these contracts are funded by ESA, nationals from ESA member states are strongly encouraged to apply.

Applicants should submit the following materials in a single pdf file: a cover letter, a curriculum vitae and bibliography, up to 3 page summary of current and future research interests and a description of their technical skills. Candidates should take advantage of the cover letter to describe their particular interest in working for ESA at STScI. Applicants are also asked to provide, in a separate file, the names and email addresses of three individuals who will be able to write letters of reference on their behalf. STScI will contact References to provide support letters later in the selection process.


(Do not use the green "Apply Now" tab at the top right. Applications will ONLY be accepted through the link above.)

Applications received by January 23, 2020 will receive full consideration. Position inquiries may be directed to: (for HST) and (for JWST).

ESA / AURA sees the diversity of our staff as a strategic priority in our desire to build a first-rate scientific community. We reflect that deep commitment in strongly encouraging women, minorities, veterans and disabled individuals to apply for these opportunities.

Application Deadline: 
Thursday, January 23, 2020
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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