The National Radio Astronomy Observatory offers post-doctorate fellowships to engineers as part of the Observatory’s Jansky Fellowship program. The program is tailored for the unique needs of post-doctoral engineers whose research is related to the mission of the Observatory of enabling forefront research into the Universe at radio wavelengths through the development of innovative radio astronomy instrumentation.
Selectees will work at NRAO’s Central Development Laboratory (CDL) in Charlottesville, VA, where you will have a unique opportunity to contribute to the development of cutting-edge instrumentation for our telescopes. CDL maintains a staff of approximately 50 personnel organized into teams of engineers and technicians working across crucial radio telescope technologies, including digital signal processing and design, low noise amplifiers, millimeter and submillimeter detectors, optics and electromagnetic components, and new receiver architectures. The lab is the world leader in the application of many of these technologies to radio astronomy. Investigation into Traveling Wave Kinetic Inductance Amplifiers and 3-D printed electromagnetic components, and efficient mathematical techniques for finite-element electromagnetic simulation are new areas of active research.
In addition to operating the CDL, NRAO operates three astronomical research facilities: the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, the Very Large Array, and the Very Long Baseline Array.
The CDL is looking for postdoctoral engineers with research interests in:
- electromagnetic devices,
- 3-D printing of electromagnetic devices,
- superconducting electronics,
- low noise cryogenic amplifiers,
- digital signal processing and digital design,
- mixed signal receiver and ASIC development,
- RF engineering,
- frequency and timing distribution,
- millimeter-wave and submillimeter wave receivers, and
- mathematical techniques for finite-element electromagnetic simulation.
Applicants should describe how their research or technical interests couple with NRAO’s and CDL’s mission in these areas.
In some cases, a ‘split appointment’ Jansky Engineering Fellowship between a university and an NRAO site, or a ‘non-resident’ Jansky Engineering Fellowship hosted at a university within the United States may be offered. Non-resident Jansky Engineering Fellows are encouraged to develop a research program that fosters close ties with the NRAO, and should present a strong case why residence at their proposed host university will accomplish this. They are also strongly encouraged to make frequent and/or long term visits to CDL and other NRAO sites during their Fellowship.
All Jansky Engineering Fellows are expected to spend up to 75% of their time on self-directed research. Jansky Engineering Fellows will spend the balance of their Fellowship engaging with CDL engineering teams on activities related to the development and delivery of radio astronomy instrumentation, techniques, capabilities, or education/public outreach activities, and will be encouraged to develop their own broad skill set to enhance NRAO’s broader impact goals.
The NRAO Jansky Engineering Fellowship Program provides numerous opportunities for early career engineers and scientists to acquire a deep knowledge and understanding of the state-of-the-art in radio astronomy instrumentation and science to establish themselves as innovative, independent research engineers and scientists. Jansky Engineering Fellows are encouraged to develop research collaborations with NRAO engineering and scientific staff, engineers and scientists at U.S. universities, and their colleagues in the international engineering community. An annual, multi-day NRAO Postdoctoral Symposium fosters collaboration between Jansky Engineering and Science Fellows and the Observatory’s scientific staff.
The starting salary for the 2021-2022 Jansky Engineering Fellowship program will be $70,500 for an initial two-year appointment with possible renewal for a third year. A research budget of up to $17,000 per year is provided for travel and computing support. Fellows are also eligible for page charge support, vacation accrual, health insurance, and a relocation allowance. NRAO can provide up to $3,000 per year to non-NRAO host institutions to defray local institutional expenses.
NRAO runs an open application process for the Jansky Engineering Fellowship. See instructions below on how to apply. Fellowships can begin at any time. We welcome applicants who bring diverse and innovative dimensions to the Observatory and to the field of radio astronomy instrumentation.
For information on the Observatory’s Jansky Fellowship Program for other areas of study, please see https://science.nrao.edu/opportunities/postdoctoral-programs/jansky.