Lead Scientist for Fermi Science Support Center

Job Summary

Science Management
Catholic University of America
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement

Job Description

Applications are now being accepted for a scientist to lead the Fermi Science Support Center (FSSC) for the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope mission at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, MD. The position consists of an appointment in the Department of Physics at The Catholic University of America (CUA), funded by NASA through the Center for Research and Exploration in Space Sciences & Technology II (CRESST II) cooperative agreement.

The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope generates a broad range of astrophysics research through ongoing all-sky observations from 20 keV to more than 300 GeV and through a 15-year data archive. The mission supports an extensive US and international community of users who participate in analysis and interpretation of Fermi data along with multiwavelength and multimessenger programs and theoretical studies in support of Fermi science. The FSSC is central to these activities. The Lead Scientist provides overall management of the FSSC and works as a key partner with the Fermi project science team to achieve high scientific output from the mission.

The FSSC consists of scientists and scientific programmers responsible for data center and science operations activities. The group develops and maintains the Fermi data archive, and develops, maintains, distributes, and supports Fermi data analysis software, documentation, and data products in cooperation with the instrument teams. The FSSC leads mission scheduling activities and supports instrument operations. Additionally, the FSSC supports all areas of user activities, including community workshops, the Fermi Summer School, and the Fermi Guest Investigator (GI) Program. The FSSC Lead Scientist is responsible for overseeing these activities and the personnel supporting them.

The successful candidate will lead user support for the Fermi GI program. This includes management of the annual proposal submission process and organization of the proposal review meetings. The Lead Scientist will plan and conduct proposer workshops, collect and disseminate supporting materials, respond to queries from proposers and guest investigators, facilitate joint observation programs, and monitor the progress of implemented programs. The Lead Scientist will provide reports on GI activities to the Fermi project science team, the NASA HQ program officer, and the Fermi Users Group. The FSSC Lead Scientist responsibilities are estimated to be at the 70% level with the additional time available to conduct a rigorous program of independent scientific research in areas of relevance to Fermi science.

Candidates must have a Ph.D. in astronomy, physics, or a related field, with a preference for at least 5 years of post-Ph.D. experience relevant to the position. Candidates should demonstrate accomplishments in topics pertinent to Fermi science and gamma-ray astrophysics as documented by a record of journal publications and other research outputs. Candidates are expected to have excellent verbal and written communication skills, organizational skills, and the ability to work as part of and manage a team drawn from diverse backgrounds. The selection will favor candidates with a good understanding of gamma-ray astrophysics user needs and those with experience in engaging with the astrophysics community. Candidates with previous experience supporting astrophysics missions or facilities are encouraged to apply, but this is not a requirement. After an initial year, the position will be reviewed for a more extended term. The nominal starting date is in early 2024, but alternate dates are possible depending on availability. Salary and benefits are competitive, commensurate with experience and qualifications.

Candidates should send a complete application – which includes a cover letter, Curriculum Vitae including a publication list, a statement of research interests, a statement describing your vision for how the FSSC will fulfill its role to support the Fermi user community, and contact information for three references – to Ms. Katherine McKee ([email protected]) by November 19, 2023, for full consideration. The position will remain available until filled.

For more information about the duties or the Fermi Science Support Center, contact Dr. Elizabeth Hays ([email protected]). For information on CUA and CRESST II, contact Dr. Tommy Wiklind ([email protected]). The Catholic University of America is committed to building a diverse group and encourages applications from women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans. Catholic University of America is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer.

Application Details

Publication Start Date
2023 Oct 05
Application Deadline
2023 Nov 19
Reference Code


Katherine McKee / Tommy Wiklind