Assistant or Associate Scientist (4849)

Research Socorro, New Mexico


Position Description:


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) operates the world’s preeminent radio telescopes on behalf of the radio astronomy community and the US National Science Foundation. We seek a staff scientist in astronomy, at the level of Assistant or Associate Scientist depending on the experience level of the candidate, based in Socorro, NM, the home of the Domenici Science Operations Center (DSOC). The DSOC houses the scientific, engineering, technical, computer and support staff for both the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), as well as hosting personnel working on the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Next Generation VLA (ngVLA) project. The successful candidate will be a member of the VLA/VLBA Science Support Division within NRAO’s New Mexico Operations department.


NRAO staff scientists at the DSOC perform independent research as well as contributing to the operation and support of the VLA and VLBA. Current staff are engaged in a wide range of research topics, from planetary science to stars to external galaxies to cosmology, including time-variable phenomena. Their observatory support responsibilities range from development of new VLA/VLBA observing capabilities, technical support for VLA/VLBA observations, telescope scheduling and time allocation, to user support for the astronomy community. NRAO scientists based at the DSOC have the opportunity to become expert users of the VLA and/or the VLBA, and are expected to push the telescope capabilities, building on their own research and the needs of the broader astronomical community. Therefore, the NRAO is seeking a candidate for whom using the VLA, the VLBA, and/or the ngVLA, will be of great benefit to their own independent research. Opportunities for advising students and postdocs are available both through internal and external support.


The ideal candidate will contribute to the overall NRAO mission and must be able to demonstrate the ability to work within a collaborative environment that promotes motivation, leadership and team building, in both scientific and observatory support areas. NRAO staff scientists are expected to be able to adapt to new challenges and opportunities as NRAO and the astronomical landscape evolve. Partial teleworking may be considered. In addition to competitive pay, the NRAO provides excellent paid time off benefits (vacation and sick leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective on the first day of employment. Our 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.


Position Requirements:


Minimum Education

PhD in astronomy, astrophysics or related field


Minimum Experience for Assistant Scientist level appointment

  • One year of postdoctoral experience, or equivalent experience
  • Established record of independent research
  • Familiarity with radio interferometry and/or very long baseline interferometry techniques and data reduction


Minimum Experience for Associate Scientist level appointment

  • Three years of experience with observatory science operations at the level of Assistant Scientist or equivalent
  • Experience with radio interferometry and/or very long baseline interferometry
  • Demonstrated familiarity with scientific computing/observatory software/radio astronomy technology



Application Instructions:


For consideration, apply online at the NRAO careers page. Please prepare a single PDF document consisting of the following items:

  1. Cover letter stating why you are interested in this position – the letter should describe how you match the position and qualifications summarized above (no more than 3 pages)
  2. Curriculum vitae including publications list
  3. Summary of past research (2 pages)
  4. Future research plan describing specifically synergies with NRAO facilities (3 pages)
  5. Summary of past technical and observational experience relevant to this position (2 pages)


The PDF file is to be uploaded with the “Add Resume” feature at the applicant portal; the file name format should follow this convention: LastNameFirstInitial_VLASci.pdf. Applications received by July 14, 2023, will receive full consideration.  Applicants should also arrange for three letters of recommendation to be submitted by individuals familiar with their technical and scientific abilities directly to Mr. Jarred Panger ([email protected]) by the same date, using the file naming convention LastNameFirstInitial_VLASci_recommendation.pdf. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that letters of recommendation are sent by the referees. Applications received after the above date may be reviewed at the discretion of the search committee until the position is filled. Please direct inquiries to Dr. Emmanuel Momjian ([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)


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