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Herzberg Instrument Science Fellow

Priority will be given to the following designated employment equity groups: women, Indigenous peoples* (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), persons with disabilities and racialized persons*.
* The Employment Equity Act, which is under review, uses the terminology Aboriginal peoples and visible minorities.

City: Penticton, BC or Victoria, BC 

Organizational Unit: Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics 

Classification: RO 

Tenure: Term 

Duration: This is a 2 year term position with the possibility of a 1 year extension 

Language Requirements: English 

The NRC Advantage

Great Minds. One Goal. Canada's Success.


The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is the Government of Canada's largest research organization supporting industrial innovation, the advancement of knowledge and technology development. We collaborate with over 70 colleges, universities and hospitals annually, work with 800 companies on their projects, and provide advice or funding to over 8000 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) each year.


We bring together the brightest minds to deliver tangible impacts on the lives of Canadians and people around the world. And now, we want to partner with you.  Let your expertise and inspirations make an impact by joining the NRC.


At the NRC, we know that diversity enables excellence in research and innovation. We are committed to a diverse and representative workforce, a safe and respectful work environment, and contributing to a more inclusive Canadian innovation system.  We welcome all qualified applicants and encourage you to complete the employment equity self-declaration questions during the job application process.

Please let us know of any accommodation measures required to help you to be assessed in a fair and equitable manner. Please note that the information you provide will be treated confidentially. 

Your Challenge

Help bring research to life and drive your career forward with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), Canada's largest research and technology organization.


We are looking for a Herzberg Instrument Science Fellow (Research Associate) to support our Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre. The Fellow would be someone who shares our core values of Integrity, Excellence, Respect and Creativity, and who is motivated to become the Principal Investigator for next generation astronomical instruments and facilities. 


The Fellow will be an active research astronomer/instrumentalist who is able to become a key interface between astronomers and instrumentation teams working on new astronomical instruments and facilities. They will work at NRC’s Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre (NRC-HAA) within the Astronomy Technology Directorate (ATD; Science and Projects Team), that brings together leading astronomy researchers with engineers and technicians working on instrumentation design, development and integration.


NRC-HAA has a rare combination of staff involved in astronomy research, instrumentation design and development, engineering, data science and observatory support. This fellowship is intended to leverage this environment to help develop researchers who will become the leaders necessary to enable ambitious new instrumentation for cutting edge astronomy research in the coming decades.


The ATD is a leading developer of instrumentation for Canada’s current and future ground- and space-based telescopes at radio through to optical wavelengths (e.g., the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), the Attacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and Gemini. Its multi-disciplinary team includes project managers, optical, electrical, mechanical and systems engineers and technicians, signal processing experts and astronomers. Current major activities include correlator upgrades and central signal processing architectures for the SKA, ALMA and the Next Generation Very Large Array (ngVLA), composite dish antenna designs for new observatories including ngVLA, development for the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) expansion and the Canadian Hydrogen Observatory and Radio-transient Detector (CHORD), participation in the development of optical/near infrared spectrographs for Gemini, and adaptive optics systems for TMT. 


In addition to leadership and participation in facility class instrumentation, the ATD maintains a strategic research and development program specialising in radio receivers, radio dishes, signal processing, adaptive optics, and optical/near infrared instrumentation,. This includes the development of modest-scale pathfinder instruments and on-sky demonstrators. This is in addition to astronomical research activities undertaken by astronomers in the ATD and elsewhere in HAA, that spans exoplanets, star and planet formation, near field cosmology and resolved stellar populations, galaxy evolution, supermassive black holes, high redshift galaxies, time domain astronomy, survey astronomy, and other fields. Activities are split between the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Penticton, which houses most of the radio expertise, and the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, which houses the millimeter-wave receiver group as well as most of the optical and near-infrared expertise.

Your Challenge (cont.)

The successful candidate will be a recent doctoral graduate in astrophysics or another closely related discipline who is highly motivated to engage in astronomical instrumentation and technology projects in the ATD. They will want to become the Principal Investigators for the next generation of astronomical instruments and facilities, and the ATD will provide them with the experience, support and professional development to help them develop into this role. Instrument Science Fellows will be expected to undertake research activities in astronomical instrumentation, or observational astronomy of relevance to the instrumentation that they support.


The successful candidate will:


  • Engage with the instrumentation teams in the ATD and provide scientific support, advocacy and insight through close interactions with the technical teams and the science user community, under the mentorship of existing ATD instrument scientists. Scientific support could include the development of science cases, science requirements, survey planning, development of observing simulators, supporting the design, build and integration of instruments, on-sky testing and commissioning, science exploitation, etc.
  • Participate in professional development activities focused on supporting their development into the next generation of Principal Investigators for astronomical instruments, including leadership, project management, systems engineering, communication, and grant writing.
  • Conduct original research in astronomical instrumentation and/or observational astronomy, independently and in collaboration with NRC-HAA staff members.
  • Contribute to the scientific exploitation of other NRC-HAA resources, particularly, but not limited to, the expertise of scientific and technical staff, and the astronomical facilities and infrastructure administered by NRC-HAA, including the observatories as well as the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre (CADC) and the instrumentation labs.
  • Engage with the astronomical community to advance Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics mandate to provide astronomical facilities and services to Canadian researchers. 


The Herzberg Instrument Science Fellowship is intended to provide flexibility given the applicant’s interests and personal circumstances. It may be held in either Penticton or Victoria, depending on the instrumentation interests of the applicant.

Screening Criteria

Applicants must demonstrate within the content of their application that they meet the following screening criteria in order to be given further consideration as candidates:


As part of the RA Program you must have received your PhD in astronomy or astrophysics or a closely related discipline within the last 5 years or you expect to receive the degree within the next 6 months.


**Exception may be considered to recognise maternity/parental leave.


For information on certificates and diplomas issued abroad, please see Degree equivalency


  • Five years or less experience in astronomical instrumentation and/or observational astronomy research beyond the PhD.
  • Experience in reducing and analysing/modelling astronomical data in one or more of the radio, centimeter, millimeter/sub-millimeter, infrared, optical and ultraviolet wavebands from ground- and/or space-based observatories or from astronomical data archives.
  • Experience in the development of science cases and/or science requirements and/or survey requirements for astronomical facilities and instruments; experience in the development, design, build and integration of astronomical facilities and instruments; experience in the on-sky testing and/or commissioning of astronomical facilities and instruments. 
  • Experience in publishing international calibre research papers relating to astronomical instrumentation and/or observational astronomy in the refereed scientific literature.

Condition of Employment

Reliability Status

Assessment Criteria

Candidates will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

Technical Competencies

  • Expert knowledge of astronomy/astrophysics/astronomical instrumentation in one or more areas of forefront research.
  • Advanced knowledge of the use and operation of astronomical instrumentation
  • Advanced knowledge of the exploitation of astronomical data, including reduction techniques and software and the analysis and interpretation of such data.
  • Ability to conceive, organize, conduct, and publish independent astrophysical research of international calibre.

Behavioural Competencies

  • Research - Communication (Level 2)
  • Research - Creative thinking (Level 3)
  • Research - Teamwork (Level 2)

Competency Profile(s)

For this position, the NRC will evaluate candidates using the following competency profile(s): Research


View all competency profiles


Relocation assistance will be determined in accordance with the NRC's directives.


The intent of this hiring action is to staff through the Research Associate (RA) Program at the AsRO level, which is an early-career level position with a salary range of $74,230 to $103,093.


NOTE: Salary determination will be based on a review of the candidate’s expertise, outcomes and impacts of their previous work experience relative to the requirements of the level.  As a guide, the current annual PhD recruiting rate is $74,230.


NRC employees enjoy a wide-range of competitive benefits including comprehensive health and dental plans, pension and insurance plans, vacation and other leave entitlements.

Application Requirements

In order to be considered for the program please include the following in your application, please note that you will need to attach the required documents as per the list below when submitting your application. Failure to do so will result in your application being excluded from searches.


  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Cover Letter no longer than 2 pages explaining how you meet each of the requirements of this position (education, experience, language requirements) by providing concrete examples. In addition, you are encouraged to describe in detail when, where and how you gained the experience.
  • List of Publications 
  • Research statement no longer than 3 pages. The proposal should highlight past research achievements and future professional goals in the area of astronomical instrumentation and observational astronomy, in the areas that are relevant to one or more of the facilities and/or capabilities within the ATD and the broader Herzberg Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Centre.
  • Two letters of reference*


*Applicants will arrange for two letters of reference to be directed to for receipt prior to the closing date with the following in the subject line: 


17746_ [Applicant Last Name] [Applicant First Name]


Transcripts and copies of degrees will only be required to be submitted at the offer stage. 


When submitting your application you can include the required documents in any attachment field such as «Second language evaluation results» or «Other attachments».


  • Preference will be given to Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents of Canada. Please include citizenship information in your application.
  • Research Associates will be offered appointments to the staff of the National Research Council on a term basis and will be offered salaries and benefits currently available to Research Officers. Salaries commensurate with experience are taxable and subject to other deductions.
  • The incumbent must adhere to safe workplace practices at all times.
  • We thank all those who apply, however only those selected for further consideration will be contacted.



Please direct your questions, with the requisition number (17746) to:


Telephone: 613-299-4697 

Closing Date: 16 December 2022 - 23:59 Eastern Time



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