ESA/AURA Astronomer Opportunities

Job Summary

Scientific / Technical Staff
Space Telescope Science Institute
European Space Agency (ESA)
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement

Job Description

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is the operational home of the Hubble Space Telescope, the new James Webb Space Telescope, and the future Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, along with ever-growing data archives and public outreach. These missions are guided by a world-class staff of astronomers who support all areas of mission activity and conduct their own self-guided independent research. With the successful commissioning of the James Webb Space Telescope, STScI begins a new and exciting multi-mission era that will grow again with Roman and future strategic missions.

Astronomer positions are now available at STScI, sponsored by the European Space Agency (ESA). This provision of scientific personnel at STScI is part of ESA’s collaboration with NASA on the Hubble and Webb missions, which are scientifically operated at STScI. These scientific positions are three-year term, renewable contracts with salaries and benefits commensurate with those of AURA employees at STScI.

The successful applicants will spend 50% of their time in support of ESA-NASA partnered science missions operated at STScI and 50% on independent research. Therefore, in addition to carrying out functional tasks related to the missions they support within STScI, the successful candidates will be expected to maintain an active program of research in astronomy.

The positions will provide direct support to the HST or JWST missions. In general, functional roles encompass all activities associated with support of the current instruments, namely HST: ACS, COS, STIS, WFC3 and FGS; JWST: NIRSpec, MIRI, NIRCam and NIRISS. These roles include, but are not limited to, support of the characterization, on-orbit testing and calibration of the scientific instruments, and direct support to the user community during the preparation, implementation and execution of observing programs. Beside instrument support, astronomers work in key areas throughout STScI including user support, observation planning and scheduling, and archival support. Other roles could also include the scientific oversight of projects to further improve the mission observing efficiency and user interfaces, or related to the scientific use of the mission archives.

Candidates for these positions must have a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in astronomy, physics or related discipline, with a strong, established record of independent research and scientific publications and excellent technical skills, in order to provide first-class support to the multi-faceted needs of the missions. Candidates will be assessed on the basis of their research impact, experience and vision, and their potential match to the functional needs of STScI. For JWST, expertise with integral field or multi-object spectroscopy in the near-infrared and/or mid-infrared imaging or spectroscopy are considered key assets. Successful candidates must be able to cultivate strong working relationships and communicate effectively within cross-disciplinary teams composed of individuals from the mission partners.

For these positions, efforts are made to match the background and experience of qualified candidates to current missions needs. Support to other ESA-NASA partnered missions scientifically operated at STScI could be possible in the future, contingent on the performance and expertise of the candidate, program needs and funding.

Applications are encouraged from both junior and senior astronomers, as the experience and accomplishment of the successful applicants will determine the level of the appointment.

Applicants should submit the following materials in a single pdf file:

  1. a cover letter (maximum 2 pages),
  2. a curriculum vitae and bibliography,
  3. a summary of current and future research interests, including a description of technical skills (maximum 3 pages). References will not count towards the page limits.

In the application material, please include the names of three reference-letter writers. STScI will contact these at a later stage in the recruitment process, as relevant.

Please ONLY use this link to apply:

The STScI on-line application portal will open on April 5, 2023. Applications received by May 10, 2023 will receive full consideration. References will be contacted through the application system for their letter submissions later in the selection process.

STScI aims to expand the frontiers of space astronomy by serving the science community and public in their endeavors to explore and understand the universe, to foster an environment of honesty, respect, inclusiveness, trust, and ethical behavior, to build on our achievements by laying the foundations for the next generation of astronomy space missions, and to enable the extraordinary in our missions by leveraging the skills of our diverse staff.

STScI occupies two sites surrounding the campus of the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in Baltimore, MD. It maintains close connections with the JHU Physics and Astronomy Department and is a partner in the Pan-STARRS, LSST, and SDSS V consortia. STScI values diversity and has a research staff mentoring program and access to annual training programs. The research environment engages, stimulates and supports an international research staff with over 120 members. Research projects ( span a wide range of topics and include collaborations with postdoctoral researchers, research support analysts and JHU graduate students, as well as researchers from other institutions. Researchers lead the organization of annual workshops and symposia, and participate in the activities of the very successful office of public outreach

Compensation and Benefits

Compensation Range
$100,000USD to $140,000USD
Included Benefits

Affordable and comprehensive medical, dental, prescription drug, and vision care plans for staff and their family members.

Employer-funded retirement with an annual contribution in an amount equal to 10% of eligible compensation.

Tuition assistance for full-time employees.

Compensation Notes

Our Robust and Competitive Benefit Programs

Application Details

Publication Start Date
2023 Apr 06
Application Deadline
2023 May 05


Christine Rueter