ngVLA Science Community Support Research Associate (4315)

Research Charlottesville, Virginia Socorro, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary

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


The position is initially available for two years starting as early as April 2018, with continuation contingent on progress and available funding.  Funding for the successful applicant to attend and present at domestic and international meetings will be available. 


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

The successful candidate will be an essential part of the ngVLA effort as the project prepares for the Astronomy 2020 Decadal Survey.   The primary focus of this scientific research associate position will be to define the science operations concept for the facility and support community research to define the capabilities of the instrument.


This position will help define the science case for the instrument, the driving requirements, and an observation program that will ensure that the key science is achieved within the first operations campaign/cycle. The successful applicant will work in close collaboration with the ngVLA Project Scientist, the Science Advisory Council, and other team members on the scientific definition of the instrument and outreach to the broader astronomical community.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

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

  • Parameterization and validation of the ngVLA Science Use Cases to develop a detailed understanding of the instruments projected capabilities as compared to the identified performance requirements.
  • Build a Reference Observing Program that would describe how operations would achieve the key science goals for the instrument over a multi-year campaign.
  • Assist in developing the Scientific Operations Concept for the array, and contribute to the overall ngVLA Operations Plan.
  • Support imaging studies and configuration studies in collaboration with colleagues within the community.
  • Build CASA guides for imaging simulations and other ngVLA investigations.
  • Contribute to the ngVLA Science Book and the Science White Papers that will form the basis of the Astro2020 Decadal proposal.
  • 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.


Work Environment

Typical Office Environment.


Position Requirements:


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.  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.


Application Instructions:


You will need the following materials, combined in a single pdf file to upload to the ADD RESUME button at the beginning of the application process:

  1. Cover letter stating why you are interested in this position – the letter should describe how you match the position and qualifications summarized.
  2. Curriculum vitae including publications list.
  1. Summary of past research (~2 pages).
  2. 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 (~3 pages)
  3. Plan for future research describing specific synergies with the ngVLA and other AUI facilities (~2 pages).


Each applicant should arrange for letters of reference to be submitted by three individuals familiar with their scientific abilities directly to These letters must be received by April 15, 2018.  Applicants are responsible for ensuring that letters of reference have been sent.  All required application documents, with the exception of reference letters, should be combined into a single file and uploaded when the application is submitted.  The deadline for receipt of complete applications is April 1, 2018.  Please direct inquiries to Dr. Eric Murphy (  Review of applications will continue until the position is filled.


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


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.