Science Fellow

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Archive Date: 
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
To event remaining 23 days
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
Hilo and La Serena
Hawaii and Coquimbo
Job Announcement Text: 

The NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab) is the US national center for ground-based night-time astronomy. NOIRLab is a Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC) which operates as a matrix organization, providing services across a range of programs with facilities in three geographic locations: Arizona, Chile and Hawai’i. With a staff of approximately 450 people and an annual budget of one hundred million dollars, NOIRLab has a complex set of partnerships and operating requirements. While the principal sponsor of NOIRLab is the National Science Foundation, the Lab receives funds from the US Department of Energy, NASA, and other US and international institutions in support of a wide range of activities. 

The international Gemini Observatory, part of NOIRLab, has two openings for Science Fellow positions to perform research and support scientific operations. One position is located at the Gemini North (GN) Observatory in Hilo, Hawaii and another at the Gemini South (GS) Observatory in La Serena, Chile. We seek an individual who thrives in a culturally diverse environment. Science Fellow positions are split 50/50 between research and observatory operational support work. Science Fellows at Gemini acquire significant training and experience in large ground-based telescope operations—becoming proficient both in state-of-the-art astronomical instrumentation and research, and in the techniques of modern, queue-based observing methods. Each successful applicant will have demonstrated research productivity, and possess the motivation and ability to identify and carry out new projects while assisting in the day-to-day operations of the observatory. They will also possess excellent teamwork skills in order to work collaboratively with Gemini staff and scientists in our international community, and participate in observatory committees and external scientific organizations.

The successful candidate will be hired as a Science Fellow in the Gemini Science Fellow non-tenure track, depending on the skills and experience of the successful applicant. 

Activities and Functions of the Job:

  • Conducting independent research in any area of astronomy. 
  • Preparing and presenting scientific papers at astronomical meetings and symposia. 
  • Providing science support of instrumentation, telescope sub-systems, and facility.
  • Preparing nightly queue observing plans and executing queue-based observations for other astronomers in the Gemini communities.
  • Supporting Gemini users with specification of their observing program using Gemini tools, and introducing visiting observers to the telescope and instruments.
  • Conducting tests, calibration, and maintenance and developing documentation of new and existing astronomical equipment, including control and data acquisition systems.
  • Participating in development activities related to instrumentation and support facilities.

Training will be provided in these functions where needed.

Required Education/ Experience/ Skills/ Abilities:

We seek an individual with a Ph.D. in Physics, Astronomy or related discipline. Our telescopes and instruments specialize in optical and in IR astronomy. Therefore, we are looking for a person with experience using optical/IR observations, analyzing data and producing and publishing science results. We expect you to have a demonstrated ability to perform independent research in optical/IR astronomy. The job requires you to work in a culturally diverse environment, and sometimes to travel internationally. It is important to have good communication skills since you will have to communicate with a wide variety of staff, visiting observers and remote investigators throughout the Gemini partnership.

Preferred Education/ Experience/ Skills/ Abilities:

Given Gemini Observatory’s telescopes and instrument capabilities, the following experiences are valued: Experience using and/or developing optical/IR telescopes and/or instrumentation and/or Adaptive Optics capabilities. Experience with working closely with engineering teams during science commissioning of astronomical instrumentation. The job will often require you to work with people from other disciplinary teams. Therefore it will be good if you have a demonstrated ability to perform well in a diverse multidisciplinary team to solve problems and issues. At the same time, it is important that you can work independently when necessary.

Physical Demands:

The work of a Gemini Science Fellow is mostly carried out in an office environment near sea level. Long periods of sitting may be required. You will be expected to perform night time duties as well as day time, working to a prearranged schedule. Given the international nature of the observatory, you may also need to travel, and occasional work at high elevation (Maunakea, 4200m; Cerro Pachon, 2700m) may be required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities or other considerations to perform the essential functions. The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

If you would like to apply for this opportunity, please submit your CV and a Cover letter  (PDF files preferred) describing your interest in this position and relevant experience, a research statement on most important research contributions, future plans and any observatory support interests (up to 3 pages). Also, provide contact information of 3 professional references, as they will be contacted later in the recruiting process. 

Application deadline:  November 1st, 2020.

AURA offers competitive salaries based on market rates and a generous package of benefits.

At Gemini Observatory we are committed to diversity and inclusion. Our managing organization, AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, develops and supports programs that advance our commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at

Veterans, disabled individuals or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process should request assistance at

* NOIRLab has all staff working virtually during the COVID-19 crisis. The safety of our staff and community is our top priority. We will continue to interview and screen candidates in this new virtual landscape. Offers of employment can be extended and arrangements may be made for remote work. Relocation benefits will be available to those eligible when travel can be supported.    

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a consortium of over 40 US institutions and three international affiliates that operates world-class astronomical observatories. AURA’s role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research. AURA is responsible for managing the operations of the NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, the National Solar Observatory, and the construction of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation and operations of the Space Telescope Science Institute under contracts with NASA.

Application Deadline: 
Sunday, November 1, 2020
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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