ngVLA Calibration Research Associate (4314)

Research Socorro, New Mexico Charlottesville, Virginia


Position Description:


Position Summary

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory invites applications for a next-generation VLA (ngVLA) Calibration Research Associate. The preferred duty station will be the Array Operation Center in Socorro, NM, but Charlottesville, Virginia may be a possibilityThe successful applicant will work within the ngVLA project team, within the ngVLA Science Support IPT on detailed investigation of the calibration strategies and associated requirements for the ngVLA. 


The position is initially available for two years starting as soon as June 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 contributing to a highlevel study that develops a calibration strategy 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 array configuration and the system architecture and requirements. The study will include the derivation of associated hardware requirements that support the selected calibration strategy. This study is expected to be carried out in close collaboration with the configuration team and algorithmic development team at NRAO.


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, under the supervision of Dr. Bryan Butler. Those duties will include:

  • Evaluations of various calibration strategies to support the Level 0 Science Requirements.
  • 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.


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

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 radio 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. Bryan Butler ( 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.