Assistant Scientist or Software Engineer II-IV

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Scientific/Technical Staff
Institution Classification/Type: 
Research Laboratory
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Department Name: 
Algorithms R&D Group (ARDG)
Street Line 1: 
1003 Lopezville Road
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s (NRAO) mission is to enable forefront research into the Universe at radio wavelengths. In partnership with the scientific community, we:

  • Provide world leading telescopes, scientific software and algorithms and expertise,
  • Train the next generation of scientists and engineers, and
  • Promote astronomy to foster a more scientifically literate society.

The NRAO is recruiting for a full-time (at-will) scientific staff member or Software Engineer II-IV position (as appropriate for educational qualification) for the Algorithms R&D Group (ARDG).   The primary functional duity (75% time for Assistant Scientist appointments, 100% time for Software Engineer appointments) of the ARDG staff is to develop new algorithms and technique with prototype implementations that require research, development and relatively longer-term focus to address post-processing challenges with radio telescopes in general and specially for NRAO telescopes.  Successful candidate will contribute to the overall NRAO mission and must be able to demonstrate the ability to work within a collaborative environment that promotes motivation, leadership and team building, in both function and scientific work.

The position is located preferably in NRAO, Socorro, NM – the home of the Domenici Science Operations Center (DSOC) operates the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), which houses a number of NRAO scientific, engineering, technical, computing and support staff.  The DSOC also has a significant concentration of scientists and engineers working on the design of ngVLA.   Location in Albuquerque, NM or Charlottesville, VA (NRAO headquarters) may also be considered.

Staff at DSOC, Socorro and at Charlottesville, VA in general are engaged in a wide range of scientific topics, from algorithm R&D, to planetary science, to stars, to external galaxies, to cosmology, to engineering R&D.  The staff recruited for this position will become a part of the ARDG with opportunities to engage with the scientific and technical staff at NRAO in general.  Opportunities exist for advising both students and postdocs through internal and external support.

The candidate must be able to demonstrate the ability to work within a collaborative environment that promotes motivation, leadership and team building, in both scientific and functional areas.  NRAO staff are expected to be versatile and flexible in their work to adapt to new challenges thrown up by the evolving software and computing environment, and problems related to current instruments (EVLA, ALMA, VLBA) and future significantly larger next generation telescopes (like the ngVLA).

Job Duties Summary

This job involves research on the frontier of calibration and imaging algorithms and related high performance computing.  Functional work as part of the ARDG is loosely directed towards solving data processing challenges for radio telescopes in general, specially for NRAO telescopes. This includes algorithms for improved telescope calibration and imaging performance, RFI mitigation and removal, parallel processing and algorithms for efficient use of High Performance Computing platforms (HPC) (computing cluster, multi-core CPUs, GPUs, etc.).  Work requires advanced programming skills in C++ and Python, use radio astronomy processing packages (preferably CASA) and HPC.

For appointment as Assistant Scientist, personal research plan for algorithms R&D of relevance to NRAO telescopes and evidence of prior development work will be an add advantage.  All NRAO staff scientists are also expected to carry out an independently-directed research program. This appointment will be on the NRAO Scientist track, with 25% discretionary research time and 75% functional responsibilities.  The research may be multi-wavelength in nature but should have synergies with NRAO facilities.  Active and engaged research is important because staff scientists are expected to push the telescopes’ capabilities, particularly in the area of new scientific software, algorithms and/or techniques, building on their own research and the needs of the broader astronomical community.

We are looking for candidates with experience in the processing of radio interferometric data using standard post-processing software.  Candidates with a PhD in radio astronomy and a record of research may be considered for appointment as an Assistant Scientist.  Exceptional candidates without a PhD, but with demonstrated experience in radio interferometric data processing, may be considered for appointment as Software Engineer III (or higher).

In addition to competitive pay, the NRAO provides excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave).  Medical, dental and vision plans are effective first day of employment.  Our 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.

Work Environment

The successful candidate will join a team of professionals engaged in research and development in the fields of science, engineering, software development, and education.  Work is typically performed in a research or development environment.  Must be able to operate a personal computer. May occasionally work at high altitudes.  Must be able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing. Some travel will be required.

Minimum Education

PhD in astronomy, astrophysics or applied mathematics for Scientific consideration. Bachelors of Science in Physics, Computer Science or related field (highly relevant experience may be considered in lieu of a Bachelor's degree) for Software Engineer consideration.

Minimum Experience

One year or more of experience in algorithms R&D and scientific software development as part of PhD, post-doctoral or similar level of work.

Preferred Experience

  • Established record of algorithms R&D, preferably relevant to radio astronomy
  • Familiarity with basic mathematical framework of modern algorithms for radio interferometric data processing
  • Established record of programming and debugging in C++ and Python
  • Experience in scientific software testing of new algorithms
  • Experience in parallel processing using clusters and special purpose hardware (e.g. GPUs)
  • Experience with advanced usage of the CASA package and HPC.

Competency Summary

Experience in radio interferometric data analysis and associated concepts, preferably using the CASA package, with experience in programming in Python.  Experience in programming with C++ will be a strong added advantage.  Working knowledge of software tools for working with existing large software packages (like CASA), use of debugging tool and revision control tools (like Git).

Applications are due by July 31, 2019.

Software Engineer Applicants:

For consideration, select the “Apply” button below.  Please be prepared to upload your current CV/Resume and a letter of application describing interest and suitability for the position.

Assistant Scientist Applicants:

For consideration, select the “Apply” button below.  Please prepare a single PDF document consisting of the following items:

  1. Cover letter stating why you are interested in this position – the letter should describe how you match the position and qualifications summarized above (no more than 3 pages).
  2. Curriculum vitae including publications list.
  3. Summary of past technical and observational experience relevant to this position (2 pages).
  4. Summary of past research (2 pages).
  5. Plan for future research describing specifically use of, and synergies with, NRAO facilities and observatory goals and priorities (3 pages)

The PDF file is to be uploaded with the “Add Resume” feature at the applicant portal; the file name format should follow this convention: LastName,FirstInitial_ARDGSci.pdf.  The deadline for receipt of complete applications is July 31, 2019.  Each applicant should also arrange for three letters of recommendation to be submitted by individuals familiar with their technical and scientific abilities directly to  These letters MUST be received by August 9, 2019 (please have the referee use the file name format convention “LastName,FirstInitial_ARDG_recommendation.pdf”).  Applicants are responsible for ensuring that letters of recommendation are sent by the referees.  Please direct inquiries to Dr. Sanjay Bhatnagar (

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

Included Benefits: 

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.

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Selection Deadline: 
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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Attention To: 
Dr. Sanjay Bhatnagar
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ARDG Assistant Scientist or Software Egineer