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Permanent senior level position at National Research Foundation in the Science & Technology (Research) industry.

SKA SA VLBI Operations and Commissioning Scientist (National Research Foundation) Hartebeeshoek Radio Astronomy Observatory, Gauteng Gauteng (South Africa)
Market Related Salary

The AVN aims to establish Radio Astronomy Stations using Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) techniques in the partner countries of SKA. This will include the conversion of redundant large telecommunications antennas in some of these countries as well as new-builds.

Towards this, SKA SA is looking to appoint a VLBI Operations and Commissioning Scientist, to be based at Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO), Gauteng, South Africa (see for more details), who need to travel to the AVN VLBI telescope locations in Africa as and when needed. A valid drivers' license and a passport with no restrictions for International travel is an essential requirement.

Minimum education:

  • PhD in physics/astro-physics
  • Minimum work experience:
  • Minimum 1 year after PhD qualification

Duties and responsibilities included but not limited to:

  • To plan and carry out commissioning activities (including VLBI harware backend set-up, software installations and science operations), transfer knowledge and skills to partner country trainess and to provide technical support for partner country teams for radio telescopes of the AVN to meet the research objectives of its users
  • To participate in scheduled VLBI operations at HartRAO as per the requirements of the European VVBI Network (EVN) and International VLBI Service (IVS)
  • To conduct scientific research at HartRAO, leading to publications in internationally recognised, peer-reviewed journals and presentations at scientific conference world-wide
  • To select and train suitable personnel from Partner Countries to ensure growth in the number of skilled VLBI station operators to support AVN activities
  • To develop and implement or modify software which supports radio telescope operations and data reduction at HartRAO radio telescopes with a view to expand the implementation to the African partners country VLBI Stations
  • To foster scientific collaborations world-wide in order to increase the research scope and publication rate of the African VLBI Network
  • Develop content and provide training as part of the AVN knowledge and skills transfer programme on an ongoing basis

The ideal candidate will have the following competencies:


  • work in geographically spread teams
  • program in C / Python / C-shell scripts
  • communicate effectively
  • work independently
  • travel nationally and internationally, as required for the project commissioning and roll-out
  • excellent verbal and written skills in English
  • maintain excellent internal and external stakeholder relationship


  • mentoring of young scientists and graduates
  • science data processing, especially VLBI data reduction
  • publishing in peer reviewed journals in physics or astronomy with a proven track record
  • radio telescope operations, preferably in an existing VLBI facility
  • Linux operation system
  • astronomy software development


  • NASA VLBI Field system
  • state-of-the-art VLBI and eVLBI equipment for hardware data capture including recording systems and techniques

The South African SKA Project (SKA SA) is a project of the Department of Science and Technology, administered by the National Research Foundation. SKA SA is responsible for South Africa's bid to host the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope, support the International Consortiums of SKA during the on-going pre-sonstruction phase studies, the design and construction of the Karoo Array Radio Telescope (MeerKAT) and African VLBI Network (AVN). The focus is development of high-level capacity in radio astronomy and the engineering disciplines relevant to radio astronomy.

As a business unit of the NRF, SKA SA is committed to employment equity and redress.

This is a contract position until March 2017.

Apply online before 29/10/2015.
Please note that Recruiters may delete or expire jobs at any time.


AstroFIt2, built on the success and experience acquired by INAF's AstroFIt FP7 COFUND programme (G.A. 267251), has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement N. 664931 and from INAF, The National Institute for Astrophysics. The programme includes two calls for proposals, each one offering nine (9) fellowships for Incoming Mobility.

The fellowships will be carried out at INAF Research Centres and the applicants will have the possibility to choose one or more, in the case of interdisciplinary projects, among the following scientific areas: galaxies and cosmology; stars, stellar population and interstellar medium; sun and solar system; relativistic and particle astrophysics; advanced technology and instrumentation; any other astrophysics subject (e.g.: exoplanets, astrobiology, etc.), relevant for INAF scientific activities.

Each fellowship will have the duration of 36 months and the fellow shall devote himself/herself full time to the project.

To be eligible, At the time of the deadline for submission of proposals, applicants shall fulfil the following requirements, on pain of exclusion, in order to participate to the selection:

a1) shall have a PhD degree, plus a maximum of eight (8) years of post-PhD research experience;

or, in the case of lack of PhD degree,

a2) shall have a minimum of four (4) and a maximum of twelve (12) years of full-time equivalent research experience (including the period of research training), acquired after the degree formally necessary for the admission to a doctorate in the country where the degree was obtained or in the country where the fellowship is taking place;

b) shall be researchers who have not resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Italy for more than twelve (12) months in the three (3) years immediately prior to the call deadline (short stays, e.g.: holidays, are not taken into account).

AstroFIt2 supports career development plans, with training provided also for non-scientific and complementary skills. Each fellowship will be fully integrated in a specific and dedicated mentoring and support scheme, which will include a supervisor.

The total remuneration will include salary and travel allowance, plus social security charges (holiday pay, pension contribution, health insurance, obligatory maternity leave, etc.) and other statutory costs.

• Living allowance: 45.000 EUR/year.

• Travel allowance: 1.500 EUR/year

• Research and training expenses: 6.000 EUR/year will be used for any expense needed to carry out the project and to contribute at the researcher career development.

An accident and health insurance will be paid by INAF in favour of the fellow, to provide coverage for health diseases, work accidents, occupational diseases and invalidity.

More information: giroletti [at] ira [dot] inaf [dot] it


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