Postdoctoral Research Associate – RII

Posted on
Current state: Approved
City: Tucson
State/Province: Arizona
Country: United States
Contact Email: [email protected]
Institution: NOIRLab
Application Due Date: Tuesday, November 10 2020
Web Link:

Are you interested in making a difference to promote structural change in research Astronomy and Astrophysics?

The NSF’s NOIRLab in Tucson, AZ, invites applications for a Postdoctoral Research Associate to work with astronomers and a larger advisory team to improve diversity and inclusion in astronomy and astrophysics research. Applicants from a variety of backgrounds are welcome to apply, e.g. astronomy, social science, physics, cultural anthropology, career development.   The successful candidate will lead the effort to create a database of inclusive collaborative practice that will be used to both inform and evaluate proposals for telescope time allocation and other resources from the astronomy community.    The database will be developed through review and evaluation of current good practices in astronomy and other STEM collaboration efforts, as well as, the integration of good practice examples from the literature. This database will support the Research Inclusion Initiative (RII) to be introduced as a part of the process for allocating time through the US Extremely Large Telescope Program (ELTP).

Project Description:

The Research Inclusion Initiative (RII) will support research participation of the broadest US astronomical community by specifically addressing the concerns of researchers at small and underserved institutions interested in participating in US ELTP. This program is envisioned to award telescope observing time to science collaborations, through a peer-review proposal process.

The US ELTP RII will focus on 4 primary areas of inclusion that support:

  • Policies and procedures that enable and encourage mutually beneficial partnerships
  • Opportunities for scientific networking and collaboration building
  • Technical infrastructure that enables broad participation in research
  • Science platform and other infrastructure training and support NSF funding for the development of the RII focuses primarily on preparing the astronomy community to understand and engage in novel policies and procedures that will be required as part of telescope time and other resource awards through this initiative. The RII will also expose the community to good practices around networking and collaboration to prepare them to write successful proposals.

Functional Duties:

The successful candidate will be an active partner in collaboration with the NOIRLab staff sponsor, Dara Norman, and an advisory team, in leading the effort to produce the main deliverables of the Research Inclusion Initiative development project. These are

  • A review of current practice within astronomy, astrophysics and other scientific collaborations, as well as, information on their efficacy for positive and improved science and team outcomes.
  • A database (toolkit) of examples of good practice that embody the concepts of mutually beneficial partnerships and a list of metrics to monitor how these practices function within any given collaboration.
  • Recommendations and guidelines for reviewing and ranking collaboration practices within scientific proposals.
  • Recommendations and guidelines for effective support of scientific networking and collaboration building meetings and workshops.
  • Stretch goal: Recommendations for effective science platform training activities.
  • Other duties as assigned

Additional Opportunities/ Benefits:

The successful candidate will be able to devote up to 50% of their time to supporting their own research program either as part of the RII or in addition to the required functional duties.   Travel Budget includes funds for travel to allow the candidate to present their own research, as well as collect and present work on the RII toolkit project. NOIRLab offers an excellent benefits package, competitive salary commensurate with experience, and a stimulating work environment.

The initial term of appointment will be one year, with the possibility for reappointment for up to three years, contingent on performance and on the availability of funding.

Questions regarding this position should be sent to Dr. Dara Norman, [email protected].

Required Education/Experience/Skills/Abilities:

  • Ph.D. (OR M.S. with significant work experience) in Astronomy, Sociology, Cultural Anthropology, Psychology or closely related fields.
  • Able to lead own research program while completing functional job requirements
  • Excellent communication and writing skills
  • Previous work with DEI research or activities in STEM
  • Experience in academic and/or professional STEM environments sufficient to understanding the culture and norms
  • Interest in the promotion of structural social justice change in science

Preferred Skills:

  • Familiarity with database use or construction

To apply: Please submit a curriculum vitae, a list of publications and a 2-page statement of current and future DEI and research interests, all as PDF files. Please include the names and email addresses for three people who will write confidential letters of reference. Please name any attachments with the following format: Lastname Docname.

Completed applications received by November 10, 2020 will receive full consideration, but earlier submission is encouraged.

Preference granted to qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O’odham reservation.

Veterans, disabled individuals or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process should request assistance at [email protected]

NSF’s NOIRLab offers an excellent benefits package, competitive salary commensurate with experience, and a stimulating work environment. 

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), is a consortium of over 40 US institutions and four international affiliates that operates world-class astronomical observatories. AURA’s role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research. AURA is responsible for managing the operations of the NSF’s NOIRLab, the National Solar Observatory, and the construction of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation and operations of the Space Telescope Science Institute under contracts with NASA.

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws.