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Jansky Fellowship

by jutley — last modified Oct 29, 2020 by Jessica Burns

2021 Jansky Fellowship Program

The Jansky Fellowship Program supports outstanding postdoctoral scientists and engineers whose research is broadly related to the mission of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). NRAO enables 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, and promote astronomy to foster a more scientifically literate society. NRAO operates three world-class research facilities: the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, the Very Large Array, and the Very Long Baseline Array. 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, theory, and education/public outreach are encouraged to apply. Applicants should describe how their research or technical interests couple with NRAO’s mission, telescopes or science.

Appointments may be made at either of the NRAO sites: Socorro, NM, or Charlottesville, VA. In some 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. Regardless of appointment type, remote work arrangements may also be considered to accommodate limitations due to COVID-19. Non-resident Jansky Fellows are encouraged to develop a research program that fosters close ties with the NRAO, and should present a strong 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 also have the opportunity to spend 10-25% of their Fellowship engaging with Observatory staff on activities related to the development and delivery of radio astronomy techniques, capabilities, or education/public outreach activities, to develop their own broad skill set and enhance NRAO’s broader impact goals.

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

The starting salary for the 2021 Jansky Fellowship program will be \$68,500 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. NRAO can provide up to $3,000 per year to non-NRAO host institutions to defray local institutional expenses.

The deadline for 2021 Jansky Fellowship Program application materials, including letters of reference, is Monday, November 2, 2020 at 11:59 pm ET. Award offers will be made starting in early January 2021. Fellowships normally begin in September 2021.

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 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.

All materials (including reference letters) must be received by 11:59pm ET on Monday, November 2, 2020. The Jansky Fellowship job posting will be located on the NRAO Careers website at http://jobs.jobvite.com/nrao/jobs beginning Monday, August 31, 2020. All applications must include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, publications list, summary of previous and current research, and a research proposal combined into 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. The University of New Mexico is blocked for the 2021 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, engineers, 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, awards, etc.
  • Summary of Previous and Current Research: 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 research and abilities to be provided directly to NRAO. Reference letters must be received by 11:59pm ET on Monday, November 2, 2020. Referees should be instructed to email reference letters to using the file name "ApplicantNameJANSKY2021REF." Please note that 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

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 http://jobs.jobvite.com/nrao/jobs.  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 resumes@nrao.edu.