ngVLA Lead Calibration Scientist (Open Rank) (4617)

Observatory Service and Science Socorro, New Mexico Charlottesville, Virginia Charlottesville, Virginia Albuquerque, New Mexico


Position Description:


Position Summary


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory invites applications for a next-generation VLA (ngVLA) Lead Calibration Scientist. The preferred duty station will be in either the Array Operation Center in Socorro or the Albuquerque Office in NM, but the Central Development Laboratory or NRAO Headquarters in Charlottesville, Virginia may be a possibility. The successful applicant will work within the ngVLA project team, within the Science Support Integrated Project Team on detailed investigation of the calibration strategies and associated requirements for the ngVLA.

The position is initially available for 1 year with a target start date of no later than February 1, 2022.  Continuation of this position is contingent on progress and additional ngVLA project funding.  Funding for the successful applicant to attend and present at domestic and international meetings will be available.

Job Duties Summary


The successful candidate will be an essential part of the ngVLA effort as the project develops its Preliminary Design for consideration as an NSF Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction candidate. The primary focus of this Scientist position will be leading the ngVLA calibration effort by developing the calibration strategy and associated requirements for the array in order to understand any implications for the hardware system architecture. Calibration strategies are required for phase/delay, gain, flux scale, polarization, and possibly other instrumental effects.

The calibration strategy will directly inform the system architecture and requirements. The study will include the derivation of associated hardware and software system requirements that support the selected calibration strategy. This study is expected to be carried out in close collaboration with the system engineering team, lead design engineers, and algorithmic development team at NRAO.  The appointee will also have time to carry out their own independent research. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

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


  • Evaluations of various calibration strategies to support the Level 1 System Requirements and identified Observing Modes.
  • Revision of the existing Calibration Requirements as necessary.
  • Develop the Environmental Monitoring System Concept and associated requirements to support tropospheric and ionospheric calibration.
  • Simulations of the effect of instrumental and atmospheric errors on the scientific performance of the array.Selection and documentation of calibration strategies for phase/delay, gain/amplitude, flux scale, and polarization.
  • Derivation of hardware system requirements to support the selected calibration strategies.
  • 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, instrumentation, or a related field.

Minimum Experience

One year of a postdoc, 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.

Additional Requirements

The Observatory requires staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to access our facilities. An offer of employment will be considered contingent until the selected applicant provides proof of vaccination. The selected applicant may request consideration for an accommodation for a disability or for a sincerely held religious belief.

Application Instructions:

Select the “Apply” button below. Please prepare and send a single PDF document consisting of the following items:

  • 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.
  • Curriculum Vitae.
  • Publication List.
  • Summary of past research experience (maximum of 2 pages).
  • 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).
  • Future research plan describing specific synergies with the ngVLA and other AUI facilities (maximum of 2 pages).

Please also have three letters of recommendation sent to [email protected].


The deadline for receipt of applications is October 15, 2021 at 23:59 ET. For further questions about the position, please contact Eric Murphy: [email protected]


Equal Opportunity Employer Statement:


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 [email protected].


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