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Research Associate In Cosmic Microwave Background Research (Simons Observatory UK Project)(Five Posts Available)
Various Locations

Job reference: SAE-019471

Location: Various Locations

Closing date (DD/MM/YYYY): 30/09/2022

Salary: £31,406 to £49,210 per annum, across various universities, depending on relevant experience

Employment type: Fixed Term

Faculty/Organisation: Science and Engineering

Division: Department of Physics & Astronomy

Hours per week: Full time

Contract Duration: From 1 October until 30 September 2025

School / Directorate: School of Natural Sciences

The Simons Observatory:UK (SO:UK) collaboration seeks five Post-Doctoral Research Associates (PDRAs) to work on the Simons Observatory (SO). SO is a next-generation Cosmic Microwave Background observatory currently under construction in the Atacama Desert in Chile and due to begin early science operations in early 2023. The positions will be based at The University of Manchester (two positions), The University of Cambridge (one position), The University of Oxford (one position) and Imperial College London (one position). The successful candidates will work with the local SO:UK Investigators at each institute on the development of the SO data processing pipeline and on the preparation and delivery of the Science Ready Data Products (SRDPs) for SO.

SO:UK is a coordinated UK contribution to the SO project consisting of (i) a data centre (at the University of Manchester); (ii) a program of algorithm development contributing to the SO data processing pipeline; and (iii) a significant contribution to the observatory infrastructure/instrumentation. A key area of activity for both the data centre and algorithm development work is the delivery of the SO Science Ready Data Products (SRDPs).

One of the Manchester appointments will manage the UK-based data centre and will play a lead role in coordinating the associated delivery of the SO SRDPs. Given the responsibilities of this role we seek candidates with demonstrated experience in managing/coordinating the efforts of distributed teams of scientific researchers, graduate students and/or software engineers. They should also have experience in high-performance and/or high-throughput computing on high-specification hardware.

The four other PDRA appointments will focus on algorithm development in the following areas:

  • Map-making and validation of the SRDPs for Sunyaev-Zel’dovich analysis at The University of Manchester.
  • Simulations and validation of the SRDPs for gravitational lensing analysis at the University of Cambridge.
  • Time-ordered data processing and validation of the SRDPs for B-mode polarisation analysis at the University of Oxford.
  • Transient pipeline development, simulations and validation of the SRDPs for B-mode polarisation analysis at Imperial College London.

For all five roles, we seek candidates with significant theoretical and analytic skills and who have experience in developing and applying analysis techniques for precision CMB studies and other relevant fields. Working as part of the SO Data Management team, Pipeline Working Groups and Analysis Working Groups, the successful candidates will collaborate closely with international SO colleagues in order to deliver on the overall objectives of the SO project.

All five posts are available to start from 1st October 2022. Candidates wishing to start later (e.g. during 2023) will also be considered. Each post will be available for three years in the first instance. Candidates may wish to indicate in their application a preference in terms of location and/or which position(s) they are most interested in. Applicants should make it clear in their application if they wish to only apply for roles at certain institutions. In the absence of such a statement, candidates will be considered for all five positions. Please see the job description for further specific details on applicant requirements.

We are performing a single recruitment exercise for all five posts. All applications should initially be submitted through The University of Manchester’s job application website (link below). Applications should include a CV, list of publications and research statement (max. 3 pages). Consideration of applications (and interviews) will be conducted by a single multi-institution assessment panel. Interviews will be conducted remotely (on zoom).

Please note that, by applying for these positions, applicants agree to the sharing of their application data between all four host institutions.  

The School/Department is strongly committed to promoting equality and diversity, including the Athena SWAN charter for gender equality in higher education. The School/Department holds a Silver Award which recognises their good practice in relation to gender; including flexible working arrangements, family-friendly policies, and support to allow staff achieve a good work-life balance. We particularly welcome applications from women for this post. All appointment will be made on merit. For further information, please visit:

Our University is positive about flexible working – you can find out more here

Blended working arrangements may be considered

Please note that we are unable to respond to enquiries, accept CVs or applications from Recruitment Agencies.

Enquiries about the vacancy, shortlisting and interviews:

Manchester positions: Professor Michael Brown


Cambridge position: Professor Anthony Challinor


Oxford position: Professor Angela Taylor


Imperial College London position: Professor Andrew Jaffe


General enquiries:


Technical support:

This vacancy will close for applications at midnight on the closing date.

Please see the link below for the Further Particulars document which contains the person specification criteria.​​​​​​​