Associate Scientist: Long Baseline Principal Scientist (4771)

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Monday, September 26, 2022
Archive Date: 
Monday, November 7, 2022
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
Research Laboratory
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Department Name: 
Array and Correlator Operations Division
Street Line 3: 
1003 Lopezville Road
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

Position Description:


Position Summary

The NRAO seeks an associate scientist familiar with Very Long Baseline Interferometry to serve as Project Director to a technical development project that will enable new capabilities on the Very Long Baseline Array and to serve as a stakeholder for the very long baseline capabilities of the next generation Very Large Array.  The responsibilities of will include project oversight, interaction with scientific users and participation in project reviews.

The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) is astronomy’s premier long baseline interferometer. It is used to image astrophysical objects at the highest angular resolution and construct the reference frames used for navigation and astronomy. It has applicability to objects such as asteroids, interplanetary spacecraft, quasars, pulsars, gravitational wave events, and a host of other extreme phenomena.

The Next Generation Very Large Array (ngVLA) is an NRAO project that in the mid 2030s will replace the functionality of the VLBA and the VLA with a new instrument, significantly expanding the sensitivity of both instruments. It will be the premier centimeter-wavelength astronomical observatory for decades to come. This project is currently in the planning and early development stage.

The NRAO is seeking a scientist to serve two important roles related to long baseline interferometry:

Project Director for the VLBA New Digital Architecture project. This technical development will replace legacy data acquisition infrastructure with a new system that will greatly enhance the telescope’s capabilities and offer new options for future expansion.

Long baseline stakeholder for the ngVLA project. In this capacity the needs of the long baseline interferometry community will be captured and design decisions will be made to optimize the long baseline capabilities of the ngVLA.

This position will be part of New Mexico Operations, which is based at the NRAO Science Operations Center, located on the campus of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. Socorro is a university town in the Rio Grande Valley, 75 miles south of Albuquerque. With over 300 days of sunshine each year, Socorro offers ample access to outdoor recreation. The preferred work location for the successful candidate is either the NRAO office in Socorro or the NRAO office in Albuquerque. Partial teleworking arrangements will be considered.

In addition to competitive pay, NRAO provides excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective first day of employment. NRAO’s retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10 percent of a qualified participant’s base pay. No contribution is required of the employee; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions.

Job Duties Summary

This is a scientific staff position. The successful candidate will be encouraged to spend 25% of their total time on their own independent research projects which are ideally related to long baseline interferometry. The remaining 75% will constitute the functional work as described below.

The VNDA Project Director role responsibilities:


  • High-level oversight of the VNDA project
  • Oversight of testing efforts
  • Participation in documentation reviews
  • Arrangement of VNDA team meetings
  • Interaction with project stakeholders
  • Identification of opportunities for improvement to the project
  • Assistance to the Project Manager and System Engineer

The ngVLA Long Baseline Stakeholder responsibilities:

  • Engagement with the long baseline community on behalf of ngVLA
  • Assistance in long baseline site configuration
  • Contribution to long baseline concept of operations, including standard modes
  • Prioritization of development and testing tasks
  • Contribution to development and documentation of calibration methods
  • Representation of long baseline interests in ngVLA reviews


Work Environment

The work can be performed from an NRAO office or from a suitably equipped home office. The position requires use of a personal computer. Remote workers will be expected to be easily reached via telephone or videoconferencing technologies. There will be occasional travel to NRAO sites, conferences, and stakeholder facilities. Work may involve visits to high altitude sites.


Position Requirements:

Minimum Education

PhD in astronomy or related field


Minimum Experience

Five years post-degree


Preferred Competency

  • Strong background in the techniques of radio astronomy
  • Leadership experience
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Demonstrated ability to develop new skills on the job
  • Experience contributing to medium- or large-sized projects
  • Knowledge of Systems Engineering
  • Willingness to travel internationally


Additional Requirements

The Observatory requires staff to be fully vaccinated against covid-19 to access our facilities.  An offer of employment will be considered contingent until the selected applicant provides proof of vaccination.  A selected applicant may request consideration for an accommodation for a disability or for a sincerely held religious belief.



Application Instructions:

Select the “Apply” button. You will need to be prepared to upload your current resume and a cover letter as a single PDF document consisting of the following items:

  • Cover letter describing interest and suitability for the position (maximum 2 pages)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Description of research accomplishments and future research plans (maximum 3 pages)

Applicants should arrange for two letters of reference (max 2 pages) to be sent to [email protected]. These letters should conform to the file name convention “LastName,FirstInitial_LBSCI_recommendation.pdf”. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that the letters of reference have been sent by their referees. All materials should be submitted by November 1, 2022 in order to receive full consideration. The position will remain open until filled.


Equal Opportunity Employer Statement:

AUI is an equal opportunity employer.  Women, Minorities, Vietnam-Era Veterans, Disabled Veterans, Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities are encouraged to apply.  To view our complete statement, please visit  If you require reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process due to a disability, you may submit your request by sending an email to [email protected].

The NRAO is an equal opportunity employer (M/F/D/V)

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
Selection Deadline: 
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Dr. Walter Brisken
Deputy Assistant Director
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Institution/Company Job ID or Reference Code: