Advert. no. 2023_0046
Working at ESO

Are you interested in working in areas of frontline technology and in a stimulating international environment? Do you feel your profile matches our requirements? Learn more about our current vacancies and apply online. Read more..

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is an international astronomy facility operated through a partnership of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), and the European Organization for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded by NINS in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI), by NSF in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC), and by ESO on behalf of its Member States.

ALMA operations are led by: the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) on behalf of East Asia; by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), on behalf of North America; and by ESO on behalf of its Member States. The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the operation of ALMA.

The Joint ALMA Observatory invites applications for the position of:

ALMA Postdoctoral Fellow


Vacancy closed on 31/10/2023

Deadline 31/10/2023

ALMA provides the world-wide astronomical community with transformational capabilities to study the origin of galaxies, stars, and planets. ALMA started its first Early Science observations in late 2011 and has led to the publication of more than 3000 papers to date. The JAO is offering postdoctoral fellowship positions to join the ALMA science operations group in Santiago, Chile. ALMA Postdoctoral Fellows will be appointed for a period of three years and will spend 50% of their time dedicated to their personal scientific research. The remaining time will be spent in support of ALMA operations, including observing at the ALMA Operations Support Facility (OSF) near San Pedro de Atacama for hands-on interaction with the telescope. The goal of these fellowships is to offer young scientists the opportunity to enhance their research programs through involvement in science activities and interactions with experienced staff at the world's foremost observatory for sub-mm astronomy.

At present, there are over 40 scientists with a wide range of research interests working at ALMA in Santiago. The JAO also hosts regular visits from scientists from the ALMA Regional Centers (ARCs) in Europe, North America and East Asia. The ALMA office is located adjacent to ESO's Santiago office, and the offices of AUI/NRAO and NAOJ are located nearby. Fellows have the opportunity to collaborate with the rapidly growing Chilean astronomical community as well as with astronomers from other international observatories located in Chile. The ALMA Postdoctoral Fellows will be provided with resources for science trips and will be encouraged to visit one or more of the ARCs for science collaborations. The JAO runs a visitor program through which science collaborators can be invited to work in Santiago. ALMA Postdoctoral Fellows are expected to lead a vigorous research program in any area related to the use of ALMA. Fellows will also actively participate in and contribute to the science activities of the JAO.

The ALMA Postdoctoral fellows are expected to support ALMA science operations and will work in the JAO Department of Science Operations (DSO). They will perform their duties as part of the large team of international scientists working at the JAO and in the ARCs.

Successful candidates will act as Astronomers on Duty at the OSF and the Santiago control room extension. A fraction of the technical duties can be spent on data processing, participation in the ALMA review process as technical experts, software testing, and development and testing of new capabilities of the array, among other technical activities necessary for the successful operations of the facility.

Professional Requirements/Qualifications:

Applicants shall fulfill the following requirements:

  • PhD in Astronomy, Astrophysics or a related field
  • Proven track record of excellent scientific research.
  • Experience in millimeter Astronomy observations (single dish and/or interferometry) and in processing of radio astronomical data is an asset.
  • Fluency in the English language (oral and written).
  • Good interpersonal communication skills and ability to work in a multidisciplinary and multicultural team, including operators, astronomers and engineers.

Due to travel requirements and work at high altitudes, a successful high-altitude medical check is a necessary condition of employment for this position.

Working conditions:

  • The duty station is the Santiago Central Office (SCO), with travel to the Operations Support Facility (OSF) at 2900 meters near San Pedro de Atacama (70% SCO 30% OSF).
  • Due the requirement to work at the Observatory site, a successful high-altitude medical examination (HAME) is a necessary condition of employment for this position.
  • The actual contractual terms will be defined by the selected employer (ESO, AUI/NRAO or NAOJ).

Starting Date

Successful candidates will be expected to start their fellowship approximately September 2024, but an earlier or later start date may be possible.

Applications and contract:

The selected candidate will receive a contract offer from NAOJ as an International Staff Member with a competitive remuneration package including a competitive salary as well as comprehensive social benefits, and provide financial support in relocating families. Furthermore, if applicable, an expatriation allowance as well as some other allowances will be added.

Candidates should apply through the Recruitment Portal(s) from one of the three ALMA Executive (ESO, AUI/NRAO, NAOJ).

Applications must be completed in English and should include a cover letter, a curriculum vitae including publication record, and a statement of research plans. The applicant should also arrange for three reference letters to be submitted by the application deadline. Details of the application process and information about conditions and remuneration are provided in the Recruitment Portals of the ALMA partners:

Applicants submitting their application to ESO are invited to apply online at

Applicants submitting their application to NRAO are invited to apply online at

Applicants submitting their application to NAOJ are invited to apply via e-mail to:

Deadline for receipt of applications to be considered is October 31, 2023.

ESO, NRAO, and NAOJ are Equal Opportunity Employers.

For further information please consult (, as well as the ESO, NRAO, and NAOJ Home Pages (, (, or

Contact us