Institute of Astronomy

Research Associate (Fixed Term)

Published on 17/02/2017 
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
£29,301-£38,183 p.a.
Starting Date: 
1st June 2017 or as soon as possible thereafter
2 years in the first instance

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 2 years in the first instance.

The Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge University (West Cambridge site) has a vacancy for a Postdoctoral Research Associate to work within the Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit (CASU). The survey unit undertakes a range of activities in wide field astronomy including: developing and operating pipeline processing and analysis systems for optical and near-infrared mosaic imaging surveys (including WFCAM, VISTA and VST); current spectroscopic surveys such as Gaia-ESO on the VLT and the upcoming spectroscopic surveys on WEAVE and 4MOST; together with various space mission projects including PLATO and Euclid; developing pipelines tailored for the analysis of various oncological imaging data related to the IMAXT/CRUK Grand Challenge project; managing a data processing and archive centre.

The successful candidate will work within CASU and be responsible for contributing to the development and support of activities involved in the pipeline processing, calibration, database development and archiving of optical imaging and spectroscopic data. The position will also involve: liaising with project teams and external science users; troubleshooting and assessing processing and development problems; contributing to the documentation and user manuals; and collaborating on research programs to optimise interpretation and use of such survey data. Previous experience in large-scale imaging or spectroscopic surveys would be advantageous.

Applicants must have a Ph.D. in astronomy or a related field, and have a strong computing and programming background. Candidates are expected to be familiar with the acquisition and reduction of data from astronomical facilities and with the use of database and web-based systems. Experience and practical knowledge of unix based operating systems Linux and/or MacOS and Python scripting languages is a requirement, while knowledge of SQL and database systems would be advantageous.

The position is tenable initially for a period of 24 months with good prospects for further extension subject to funding and is available from 1st June 2017 or as soon as possible thereafter. The salary range is from £29,301 to £38,183 depending on experience. Employee benefits are found at

Application Information: 

To apply online for this vacancy, please click on 'Apply'. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Please ensure that you upload your Curriculum Vitae (CV) with publication record and covering letter and the contact details of three referees.

Please submit your application by midnight (GMT) of the closing date of 31st March 2017. Referees will be contacted and asked to provide references (to be received no later than 9th April 2017). If you have any queries about your application, please email jpm(at)

Informal enquiries may be made to Dr. Mike Irwin (mike(at) or Dr. Nicholas Walton (naw(at)

The IoA is committed to providing a family friendly environment for researchers and is ensuring that should parental leave be needed during the course of employment, there is provision for extension to contract to compensate for the parental leave taken.

Please quote reference LG11462 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Application Deadline Date: 
31 March 2017
Application Deadline Information: 
Applications to be received by midnight. GMT
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Page last updated: 17 February 2017 at 12:00