Opportunities > Postdoctoral > Jansky Engineering Fellowship

Jansky Engineering Fellowship

by jutley — last modified Oct 13, 2021 by Jessica Burns

2021 - 2022 Jansky Fellowship Program for Engineers

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory offers post-doctorate fellowships to engineers as part of the Observatory’s Jansky Fellowship program. The program is tailored for the unique needs of post-doctoral engineers whose research is related to the mission of the Observatory of enabling forefront research into the Universe at radio wavelengths through the development of innovative radio astronomy instrumentation.

Selectees will work at NRAO’s Central Development Laboratory (CDL) in Charlottesville, VA, where you will have a unique opportunity to contribute to the development of cutting-edge instrumentation for our telescopes. CDL maintains a staff of approximately 50 personnel organized into teams of engineers and technicians working across crucial radio telescope technologies, including digital signal processing and design, low noise amplifiers, millimeter and submillimeter detectors, optics and electromagnetic components, and new receiver architectures. The lab is the world leader in the application of many of these technologies to radio astronomy. Investigation into Traveling Wave Kinetic Inductance Amplifiers and 3-D printed electromagnetic components, and efficient mathematical techniques for finite-element electromagnetic simulation are new areas of active research.

In addition to operating the CDL, NRAO operates three astronomical research facilities: the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, the Very Large Array, and the Very Long Baseline Array.

The CDL is looking for postdoctoral engineers with research interests in:

  • electromagnetic devices,
  • 3-D printing of electromagnetic devices,
  • superconducting electronics,
  • low noise cryogenic amplifiers,
  • digital signal processing and digital design,
  • mixed signal receiver and ASIC development,
  • RF engineering,
  • frequency and timing distribution,
  • millimeter-wave and submillimeter wave receivers, and
  • mathematical techniques for finite-element electromagnetic simulation.

Applicants should describe how their research or technical interests couple with NRAO’s and CDL’s mission in these areas.

In some cases, a ‘split appointment’ Jansky Engineering Fellowship between a university and an NRAO site, or a ‘non-resident’ Jansky Engineering Fellowship hosted at a university within the United States may be offered. Non-resident Jansky Engineering 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 CDL and other NRAO sites during their Fellowship. 

All Jansky Engineering Fellows are expected to spend up to 75% of their time on self-directed research.  Jansky Engineering Fellows will spend the balance of their Fellowship engaging with CDL engineering teams on activities related to the development and delivery of radio astronomy instrumentation, techniques, capabilities, or education/public outreach activities, and will be encouraged to develop their own broad skill set to enhance NRAO’s broader impact goals.

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

The starting salary for the 2021-2022 Jansky Engineering Fellowship program will be \$70,500 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.

NRAO runs an open application process for the Jansky Engineering Fellowship. See instructions below on how to apply.  Fellowships can begin at any time. We welcome applicants who bring diverse and innovative dimensions to the Observatory and to the field of radio astronomy instrumentation.

For information on the Observatory’s Jansky Fellowship Program for other areas of study, please see https://science.nrao.edu/opportunities/postdoctoral-programs/jansky.


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

The Jansky Engineering Fellowship job posting is located 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 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 if you prefer working at CDL or at a non-resident host institution. 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 Engineering 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.
  • Research proposal: Your application should include a description of your proposed area of research, how it relates to NRAO’s mission, strategic goals, instruments and observatories. Your research proposal should address why having a Jansky Engineering Fellowship and therefore a strong linkage to NRAO engineers, 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/CDL 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 Engineering 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, work, 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 research abilities to be provided directly to NRAO. Referees should be instructed to email reference letters to Jansky-RE@nrao.edu using the file name "ApplicantNameJANSKY-RE." 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 Engineering Fellowship Program may be sent to Jansky-RE@nrao.edu

AUI is an equal opportunity employer.