ngVLA Science Support Research Associate

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Archive Date: 
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
To event remaining 39 days
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
Research Laboratory
National Radio Astronomy Observatory
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory invites applications for a next-generation VLA (ngVLA) Science Support Research Associate. The preferred duty station will be the NRAO Headquarters in Charlottesville, VA, but the Array Operation Center in Socorro, NM or the Albuquerque, NM Office may also be a possibility. The successful applicant will work with the ngVLA Project Scientist to facilitate and enable cutting-edge science by the community and to define the ngVLA concept from a user’s perspective.

The position is initially available for two years starting February 2021, with continuation contingent on progress and additional available funding. Funding for the successful applicant to attend and present at domestic and international meetings will be available.

The successful candidate will be an essential part of the ngVLA effort as the project develops its Conceptual Design for consideration as an NSF Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction candidate. primary focus of this scientific research associate position will be to continue the development of the science operations concept for the facility, derive associated requirements for the science-facing software systems, and support the development of detailed use cases for system simulations and tests.

This position will help continue the definition of the science use case for the instrument, the driving requirements, and metrics to measure the performance of computing and archiving resources in support of the community-defined needs. The successful applicant will work in close collaboration with the ngVLA Project Scientist, the Science Advisory Council, the Computing and Software team, and other team members on the scientific definition of the instrument and outreach to the broader astronomical community.

The appointee will be expected to spend 75% of their time on duties directly related to the development of the ngVLA. Those duties will include:

Assist in developing the Science Operations Concept for the array, and contribute to the overall ngVLA Operations Plan.

  • Assist with the derivation of the requirements for the ngVLA science-facing software systems (e.g., proposal preparation, scheduling, data reduction and analysis tools, and the associated data pipelines) based on the ngVLA Science Requirements, Science Operations Concept, and Observing Mode definitions.
  • Assist in the definition of an automated test suite of Use Cases, based on the Envelope Observing Program, to measure the performance of the science-facing software systems during the development phase, and to verify that data products are within specification.
  • Build and help maintain CASA guides for imaging simulations and other ngVLA investigations to enable community participation in the test and characterization of the system, and to measure performance for new science use cases.
  • Assist in the development with the VLA/ngVLA Transition Concept in collaboration with members of the community, with an emphasis on the implications for NRAO-maintained software packages used by both facilities.
  • Act as a Local Organizing Committee (LOC) member for ngVLA Science Meetings.

The appointee will have the opportunity to use 25% of their time for their own independent research. Independent research for this position is strongly encouraged and should contribute to radio astronomy, NRAO and ngVLA futures.

Minimum Education

PhD in astronomy or related field.

Minimum Experience

Observational astronomy, data analysis.

Preferred Experience

The ideal candidate will have a strong background in interferometry along with some experience in observatory and telescope operations. The ideal candidate will also be skilled at using python and CASA for data analysis and public tool creation, and have a strong record of independent research.

Apply online at the NRAO careers page ( Please prepare and a single PDF document consisting of the following items:

  1. Cover letter stating why the candidate is interested in this position. The letter should describe how the candidate matches the position and qualifications described above.
  2. Curriculum Vitae.
  3. Publication List.
  4. Summary of past research experience (maximum of 2 pages).
  5. A detailed description of the candidate’s past technical experiences as they relate to their ability to undertake each of the essential duties and responsibilities outlined for this position (maximum of 3 pages).
  6. Future research plan describing specific synergies with the ngVLA and other AUI facilities (maximum of 2 pages).

Applicants should also arrange for three letters of recommendation to be sent to

The deadline for receipt of applications is December 15, 2020 at 23:59 ET. For further questions about the position, please contact Eric Murphy:

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. 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.

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Selection Deadline: 
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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Attention To: 
NRAO Recruitment
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Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Eric Murphy
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