ALMA Postdoctoral Fellows



ALMA Postdoctoral Fellows

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded in Europe by the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), in North America by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and in East Asia.

ALMA Postdoctoral Fellows:

ALMA started its first Early Science observations in late 2011 and is already producing very exciting results. We are now offering postdoctoral fellowships to join ALMA at this interesting period during which the construction of the array will be completed and science operations is ramping up. ALMA Postdoctoral Fellows will be appointed for a period of three years and will spend at least 50% of their time dedicated to their personal research. Fellows will be based in the Santiago Central Office in Chile, and will travel regularly to the ALMA Operations Support Facility (OSF) near San Pedro de Atacama. The goal of these fellowships is to offer young scientists opportunities and facilities to enhance their research programmes through involvement in science activities and close contact with experienced staff at the world's foremost observatory for sub-mm astronomy.

There are at present over 40 scientists with a wide range of research interests working at ALMA in Santiago, and the JAO also hosts frequent visits from scientists from the ALMA Regional Centers (ARCs) in Europe, North America and East Asia. In addition, the JAO runs a visitor program through which science collaborators can be invited to work in Santiago. The ALMA office is located adjacent to ESO’s Santiago office, and the offices of AUI/NRAO and NAOJ are located nearby, and several universities in Santiago have very active astronomy departments. This provides many opportunities to attend a wide range of seminars and lectures and to develop collaborations. The ALMA Postdoctoral Fellows will be provided with resources for science trips and will be encouraged to visit one or more of the ARCs for science collaborations. ALMA Postdoctoral Fellows are expected to participate in and contribute to the science activities of the JAO. Research in areas taking advantage of or relevant to the use of ALMA will be strongly encouraged.

Duties and Responsibilities:

The ALMA Postdoctoral fellows will support ALMA science operations. Successful candidates will work in the JAO Department of Science Operations (DSO), which is responsible for observations, data processing and the proposal review process. They will perform their duties as part of the large team of international scientists working at JAO and in the ARCs.

The duty work will include some of the following activities:

• Serve as Astronomer on Duty (AoD) at the OSF, including scheduling and execution of observations as well as data quality control

• Perform data processing and quality assurance in the Santiago office

• Assist with updates of the content of the ALMA Science Portal

• Support the ALMA proposal review process (provide assistance during the review meetings, technical evaluations of proposals etc)

• Develop science operations procedures and documentation

• Assist in development and tests of new capabilities of the array

• Test software tools

• Contribute to public outreach

Professional Requirements/Qualifications

Applicants shall fulfill the following requirements:

• PhD in Astronomy, Astrophysics or a related field, obtained before the end of 2012 and not more than 5 years ago.

• Proven track record of scientific research.

• Experience in millimeter astronomy observations (single dish or interferometry)

• Experience in the reduction and processing of radio astronomical data (using any of the standard packages GILDAS, AIPS, MIRIAD, CASA, etc) is an asset.

• Fluency in the English language (oral and written).

• Good interpersonal communication skills and ability to work in a multidisciplinary team, including operators, astronomers and engineers.

Due to travel requirements and work at high altitudes, a successful high altitude medical check is a necessary condition of employment for this position.

Station / Location of Position:

Santiago Central Office, Chile, with frequent visits to the Operations Support Facility (OSF) near San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.


ESO offers a Paid Associate Contract with yearly extensions.

Starting Date:

Successful candidates will be expected to start their fellowship between October 2012 and March 2013.

Applications and Contracts:

ALMA Postdoctoral Fellows will be engaged to work at the JAO through one of the Executives: ESO, AUI/NRAO or NAOJ. Candidates should apply through the Recruitment Portal(s) of the ALMA Executive (ESO, AUI/NRAO, NAOJ) from which s/he would like to receive a contract offer. Only one ALMA Executive will send a contract offer to each successful candidate.

Applications must be completed in English and should include a statement of scientific interests, an outline of research envisaged to be done over the next 3 years and its relevance to ALMA, as well as a CV with a list of publications. Candidates should provide the names and contact information for at least three.

Closing date: 2012-08-31