Research Associate (4363)

Research Charlottesville, Virginia


Position Description:


Position Summary


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) invites applications for a postdoctoral researcher in galaxy evolution at the NRAO Headquarters in Charlottesville, VA. The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Dr. Eric Murphy on a multi-wavelength analysis of data from the Jansky VLA Frontier Field Public Legacy Survey. 


The primary focus of this postdoctoral position will be incorporating new, extremely deep, sub-arcsecond, multi-frequency (full polarization) VLA data into a comprehensive, multi-wavelength analysis of the HST/Spitzer Frontier Field programTogether with the HST and Spitzer data, these new radio images will inform a variety of extragalactic topics, including the importance of dusty star-forming galaxies at high redshift; the evolution of supermassive black holes; the nature of starburst galaxies out to z~3; and the rapid evolution of galaxies in the lensing clusters themselves.


The position is initially available for 2 years starting October 2018 (or sooner), with a 3rd year contingent on progress and available funding.  Funding for travel 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 option, supplemental tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions.


Job Duties Summary


The successful candidate will be an essential part of the JVLA Frontier Field Legacy team.   In addition to carrying out their own research, the postdoc will be tasked with working with and delivering a variety of public science-ready data products that will be served to the community as part of a currently approved HST Legacy Archival program.  Such products include: band-merged (HST/Spitzer/JVLA) catalogs, FITS radio/HST/Spitzer cutouts, a morphological analysis (e.g., GALFIT, G-M20, CAS) of the multi-wavelength HST images for all radio detections, along with quick-look images showing radio contours on multicolor HST cutouts.  Polarization products will additionally be included as they become available.


Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Validation of current radio source catalogs that leverage the existing HST and Spitzer data.
  • A multi-wavelength morphological analysis of sources using radio and optical morphological classification catalogs that are already in hand 
  • Projects utilizing the JVLA Frontier Field data in conjunction with existing ancillary data and/or new observations using other facilities.


Competency Summary

This Research Associate position offers the opportunity for approximately 50% of your time for independent research, with the remaining time assigned for your functional project duties. For your remaining functional duties, the candidate will report to Dr. Eric Murphy and will be assigned to the HST funded grant functionalities.


Work Environment

Work is typically conducted in an office environment.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

PhD in astronomy or related field.


Minimum Experience

No prior experience is required.


Preferred Experience

The ideal candidate will have exposure to observational astronomy and data analysis, and a strong background in using multi-wavelength datasets to infer physical properties of galaxies, including morphological analyses.  The ideal candidate will also be competent using python and IDL for data analysis and public product creation, as well as a strong record of independent research.



Application Instructions:


Select the "Apply" button below. Please combine the following into one PDF file and attach to your application:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Publication List
  • A brief statement of past research (one to two pages)
  • A detailed proposed research statement describing future plans and/or goals (at least 3 pages).


Please have three letters of recommendation sent to


For further questions about the position, please contact Dr. Eric Murphy at Review of applications will begin on September 15, 2018 and will continue until the position is filled.




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