ngVLA Science Support Research Associate (4553)

Position Description:

Position Summary

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

The position is initially available for two years starting February 2021, with continuation contingent on progress and additional available 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 Conceptual Design for consideration as an NSF Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction candidate. The primary focus of this scientific research associate position will be to continue the development of the science operations concept for the facility, derive associated requirements for the science-facing software systems, and support the development of detailed use cases for system simulations and tests.

This position will help continue the definition of the science use case for the instrument, the driving requirements, and metrics to measure the performance of computing and archiving resources in support of the community-defined needs. The successful applicant will work in close collaboration with the ngVLA Project Scientist, the Science Advisory Council, the Computing and Software team, 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 the development of the ngVLA. Those duties will include:

  • Assist in developing the Science Operations Concept for the array, and contribute to the overall ngVLA Operations Plan.
  • Assist with the derivation of the requirements for the ngVLA science-facing software systems (e.g., proposal preparation, scheduling, data reduction and analysis tools, and the associated data pipelines) based on the ngVLA Science Requirements, Science Operations Concept, and Observing Mode definitions.
  • Assist in the definition of an automated test suite of Use Cases, based on the Envelope Observing Program, to measure the performance of the science-facing software systems during the development phase, and to verify that data products are within specification.
  • Build and help maintain CASA guides for imaging simulations and other ngVLA investigations to enable community participation in the test and characterization of the system, and to measure performance for new science use cases.
  • Assist in the development with the VLA/ngVLA Transition Concept in collaboration with members of the community, with an emphasis on the implications for NRAO-maintained software packages used by both facilities.
  • 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 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.

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

The deadline for receipt of applications is December 15, 2020 at 23:59 ET. For further questions about the position, please contact Eric Murphy:

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


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


Salary Range
$40,000.00 - 69,000.00
per Year
Salary range estimated by
Albuquerque, NM 87101, US