Commissioning Scientist at National Research Foundation

Posted 1 month ago

Permanent Senior EE position Market Related salary

About the Position The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory has an exciting opportunity for a Commissioning Scientist with knowledge of polarimetry and continuum imaging to commission radio telescopes and support science operations. The successful candidate will be considered for appointment at a standard or senior level, commensurate with experience and record.

Minimum education requirement:

  • PhD in Astronomy, astrophysics or related field

Minimum work experience required:

  • Three years working in the field of radio astronomy, post PhD
  • Experience in radio telescope operations
  • Track record of publications in peer -reviewed journals in physics or astronomy
  • Experience in reduction and analysis of radio astronomy data using advanced calibration techniques

Duties may include the following, among others:

  • Testing, commissioning and evaluating equipment used in radio astronomy by applying principles, techniques and processes to develop or improve the telescope system
  • Developing software, operations procedures and documentation by the practical applications of the principles and techniques of physics or astronomy
  • Evaluating results of investigations and experiments and expressing conclusions, mainly using mathematical techniques and models
  • Conduct research by observing, analysing and interpreting astronomical phenomena and developing methods, numerical models and techniques to extend knowledge
  • Preparation of scientific papers and reports
  • Teaching the theory and practice of astrophysics and radio astronomy at different educational levels.
  • Mentoring and training of junior staff members
  • Coordinating inputs from external and internal stakeholders to develop and execute commissioning and science verification plans
  • Facilitate regular feedback amongst team members and coordinate work

The ideal candidate will have the following competencies:


  • communicate complex information clearly; and to encourage commitment to learn in others
  • mentor young scientists and graduates
  • work independently and as part of a team
  • lead collaborative efforts


  • technical report writing
  • radio telescope operations
  • linux operating systems


  • wide field imaging
  • polarimetry


About The Employer The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) spearheads South Africa’s activities in the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope, commonly known as the SKA, in engineering, science and construction. SARAO is a National Facility managed by the National Research Foundation and incorporates radio astronomy instruments and programmes such as the MeerKAT and KAT-7 telescopes in the Karoo, the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) in Gauteng, the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry (AVN) programme in nine African countries as well as the associated human capital development and commercialisation endeavours. As a business unit of the NRF, SARAO is committed to employment equity and redress. Type of employment: Permanent
SARAO reserves the right to amend and/or withdraw adverts at any time without notification.

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