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Jansky Fellowship

2023 Jansky Fellowship Program

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) invites applications for the 2023 Jansky Fellowship Program. The Jansky Fellowship supports outstanding early career scientists to conduct independent research that is broadly related to the NRAO’s mission.

Since its inception over 60 years ago NRAO has been enabling forefront research into the Universe at radio wavelengths. In partnership with the scientific community, we provide world-leading telescopes, instrumentation, and expertise, train the next generation of scientists and engineers, advance broader, equitable, inclusive participation in science and engineering, and promote astronomy to foster a more scientifically literate society. NRAO operates three world-class research facilities: the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), and the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA). NRAO has now begun developing, and soon constructing, the next generation VLA (ngVLA) pushing the boundaries of state of the art. The highly anticipated ngVLA is planned to be operational in 2030s and to address some of the biggest and still unanswered science questions.

We welcome applicants who bring diverse and innovative dimensions to the Observatory and to the field of radio astronomy. 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. Candidates with interests in radio astronomy techniques, multi-wavelength collaborations, instrumentation, computation, and theory are encouraged to apply.

Jansky Fellows spend most, if not all, of their time on self-directed independent research. Fellows are encouraged to develop research collaborations with NRAO scientific staff, scientists at the U.S. universities, and their colleagues in the international astronomical or instrumentation community, and to fully engage in and contribute to the NRAO’s research environment. Jansky Fellows also have an opportunity to engage with Observatory staff on activities related to the development and delivery of radio astronomy techniques and capabilities, especially to enhance their research program and develop their own broad skill set. The Jansky Fellowship Program provides numerous opportunities for early career scientists to acquire a deep knowledge and understanding of the state-of-the-art radio astronomy science and instrumentation to establish themselves as innovative, independent research scientists and engineers, and become the top leaders in the field.

Appointments may be made at the Socorro, NM, or Charlottesville, VA, NRAO sites. Applicants should describe how their research or technical interests couple with NRAO’s mission, telescopes or science. In some cases, a ‘split appointment’ Jansky Fellowship between a U.S. based 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 expected to develop a research program that fosters close ties with the NRAO, and describe how residence at their proposed host university will accomplish this. Frequent and/or long-term visits to NRAO sites during the non-resident Fellowship are strongly encouraged. NRAO supports partial teleworking arrangements for scientific postdoctoral fellows.

The Fellowship Program is open to early career applicants of any nationality who at the start of the fellowship will have not more than 6 years of postdoctoral experience, but well justified exceptions to this rule will be given full consideration. The applications will be evaluated relative to the opportunity and career stage, with preference given to the applicants within first few years past their PhD award. The Jansky Fellowship appointment will be awarded initially for a two-year period, renewable for a third year.

The deadline for 2023 Jansky Fellowship Program application materials, including letters of reference, is Tuesday, November 1, 2022 at 11:59 pm EDT. Award offers will be made starting in early 2023. The nominal start of the fellowships is in September 2023, but can begin at an earlier or later date (not later than January 2024).

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 at the level of 10%.  Employees may also elect to enroll in supplemental life 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 we offer 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. The main selection criteria are the research excellence of the applicant, their proposed project, and a mutual benefit of the proposed fellowship project to NRAO and the applicant.

All materials (including reference letters) must be received by 11:59 pm EDT on Tuesday, November 1, 2022. The Jansky Fellowship job posting will be available on the NRAO Careers website at http://jobs.jobvite.com/nrao/jobs beginning Thursday, September 1, 2022. 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. Please use the 'Add Resume' button to upload the entire application file including the cover letter.  There is no need to upload your cover letter separately.

    • 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. NRAO is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC). Applications will not be accepted for non-resident fellowships at other FFRDCs.  Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics is blocked for the 2023 Jansky Fellowship Program.
    • Research proposal: Please indicate your proposed area of research, and 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: Provide a summary of your academic and employment history, and any relevant details pertaining to your academic career such as awards, observing programs, and relevant roles. Please include a publications list in your CV.  There is no page limit for the CV/publication list.
    • Previous and current research: Provide a summary of your previous and current research. The summary must be a maximum of three (3) pages 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. Reference letters must be received by 11:59pm EDT on Tuesday, November 1, 2022. Referees should be instructed to email reference letters to using the file name "ApplicantNameJANSKY2023REF." 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 .   

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