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Jansky Fellowship

by Jessica Utley last modified Oct 02, 2017


2018 Jansky Fellowship Program

The Jansky Fellowship Program supports outstanding postdoctoral scientists whose research is broadly related to the mission and scientific goals of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), which operates two world-class research facilities: the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array and the Very Large Array.

As a Jansky Fellow, you will have a unique opportunity to contribute to and learn from the development and delivery of the largest and most capable radio telescopes in the world. Research that employs NRAO telescopes in multi-wavelength collaborations is encouraged. Candidates with interests in radio astronomy techniques, instrumentation, computation, and theory are encouraged to apply. Applicants should describe how their research or technical interests couple with NRAO telescopes or science.

Appointments may be made at either of the NRAO sites: Socorro, NM, or Charlottesville, VA. In compelling cases, a ‘split appointment’ Jansky Fellowship split between a university and an NRAO site, or a ‘non-resident’ Jansky Fellowship hosted at a university within the United States may be offered. Non-resident Jansky Fellows are encouraged to develop a research program that fosters close ties with the NRAO, and should present a compelling case why residence at their proposed host university will accomplish this.  They are also strongly encouraged to make frequent and/or long term visits to NRAO sites during their Fellowship.

All Jansky Fellows are expected to spend at least 75% of their time on self-directed research.  Jansky Fellows are also encouraged to spend 10-25% of their Fellowship on activities related to the development and delivery of radio astronomy techniques, capabilities, or outreach activities, using those opportunities to develop their own broad skill set. Examples of opportunities to engage in observatory activities include algorithm development, hardware/software development, participation in ngVLA development, organizing colloquia and other science talks, assisting with data reduction workshops, assisting EPO with science writing, visualizations, etc.

The NRAO Jansky Fellowship Program provides numerous opportunities for early career scientists to acquire a deep knowledge and understanding of the state-of-the-art in radio astronomy and to establish themselves as innovative, independent research scientists. Jansky Fellows are encouraged to develop research collaborations with NRAO scientific staff, scientists at U.S. universities, and their colleagues in the international astronomical community. An annual, multi-day NRAO Postdoctoral Symposium fosters collaboration between Jansky Fellows and the Observatory’s scientific staff.

The starting salary for the 2018 Jansky Fellowship program will be $67,500 per year for an initial two-year appointment with possible renewal for a third year. A research budget of up to $17,000 per year is provided for travel and computing support. Fellows are also eligible for page charge support, vacation accrual, health insurance, and a relocation allowance. Up to $3,000 per year is provided to non-NRAO institutions hosting a Jansky Fellow to defray local institutional expenses.

The deadline for 2018 Jansky Fellowship Program application materials, including letters of reference, is Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at 11:59 pm EDT. Award offers will be made starting in early January 2018.  Fellowships normally begin in September 2018.


Benefits information

NRAO benefit plans include core programs such as high deductible health plan with health savings account, dental and vision insurance, life insurance, long-term disability and employer retirement contributions.  Employees may also elect to enroll in supplemental life, accident, critical illness insurance and additional self-funded retirement accounts.  Our leave program includes generous vacation, sick, family sick, (paid) parental, and doctor/dentist leave.  NRAO is committed to professional development and offers tuition reimbursement as well as a professional development pool for non-degree related classes, seminars, and conferences. 


Application Procedure

Jansky Fellowships are awarded based upon a review by a committee that comprises distinguished astronomers from NRAO staff and external to the NRAO, as well as the Assistant Director of NRAO Science Support and Research, and the manager of the Jansky Fellowship program.

All materials (including reference letters) must be received by 11:59pm EDT on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. The Jansky Fellowship job posting is found on the NRAO Careers website at http://jobs.jobvite.com/nrao/jobs. All applications must include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, publications list, summary of previous and current research, and a research proposal combined in a single PDF file.

  • Cover letter: Please specify your proposed NRAO location or non-resident host institution, and your second choice location, which must be an NRAO site (Socorro or Charlottesville).  If you are applying for a split fellowship as your first choice, please indicate both the NRAO location and host institution where you propose to spend your fellowship, and the proposed fraction of time at each location.  If you wish to be appointed at a non-NRAO host institution as your first choice, you must also include a letter from the department chair that approves your research proposal and agrees to host your Jansky Fellowship at the selected institution. Applications will not be accepted for non-resident fellowships at MIT or Caltech for the 2018 Jansky Fellowship Program.
  • Research proposal: Your proposed area of research, how it relates to NRAO’s mission, strategic goals, observatories and instruments. Your research proposal should address why having a Jansky Fellowship and therefore a strong linkage to NRAO scientists and facilities is important for achieving your research goals, and the development of your professional skills. Your research plan should also include a justification for your choice of hosting institution (NRAO or US University). If you are applying for a non-resident or split fellowship appointment, it is very important to describe how you, NRAO, and the host institution will benefit from your appointment as a Jansky Fellow.  Your research proposal must be a maximum of four (4) pages long, including figures and references, and formatted with 12 pt font.
  • Curriculum vitae: Include a publications list, a summary of previous and current research, awards, etc. The summary of previous and current research must be a maximum of three (3) pages of text, including figures and references with 12 pt font.
  • Reference Letters: Please arrange for letters of reference from three individuals familiar with your scientific abilities to be provided directly to NRAO. These letters must be received by 11:59pm EDT on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. Reference letters should be submitted via email to Jansky2018@nrao.edu using the file name "ApplicantNameJANSKY2018REF." Applicants are responsible for ensuring that letters of reference have been sent by their referees.

Questions or assistance with the application procedure, as well as requests for additional information on the Jansky Fellowship Program may be sent to

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