Clay Postdoctoral Fellowship 2023

Job Summary

Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
Fellowship Program Office
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement

Job Description


(Center for Astrophysics| Harvard & Smithsonian)

The mission of the Clay Postdoctoral Fellowship program at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is to support innovative astrophysics research by offering to the next generation of developing independent researchers full access to the unique facilities, research staff and resources of the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA). Past Clay Postdoctoral Fellows have gone on to faculty and research positions at major universities and research centers. Several have received astrophysics’ most coveted awards: Packard Fellowships, the Heinemann Award, a NAS-Kavli Fellowship, and membership in the National Academy of Sciences. It is anticipated that successful applicants for 2023 will follow in their footsteps.

Applications are now open for the 2023 Clay Postdoctoral Fellowship competition. Successful candidates will be outstanding researchers with demonstrated promise to contribute significantly to the future of the field. The CfA will award at least one Clay Fellowship and may award additional Fellowships depending on the strengths of the applicant pool.

About the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA)

The CfA is known for its leadership in theoretical, observational and laboratory astrophysics, and for its observational programs across the electromagnetic spectrum. The CfA also includes highly successful instrument development teams and facility operations expertise. Clay Fellows are able to use the combined resources and facilities of the CfA’s two collaborating observatories – the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. Through the CfA’s operational agreements with its partners, Clay Fellows can propose for CfA-allocated observing time on the MMT in Arizona, the Magellan Telescopes in Chile and the Submillimeter Array in Hawaii. Other opportunities to participate in ground- and space-based observatory programs include but are not limited to, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), the Event Horizon Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), Kepler K2, the Parker Solar Probe, Pan-STARRS, and the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO.). The CfA also offers a number of specialized laboratories, the renowned Wolbach astrophysics library, an astrophysics statistics program, and several formal research initiatives open by application to Fellows, which focus on a particular research area (for example in black holes, theoretical astrophysics, and the origins of life), where inter-disciplinary, inter-institutional collaborative research is the central organizing principle.

The CfA provides a dynamic range of weekly luncheons, prestigious colloquia, journal clubs, daily coffees, divisional get-togethers and many other formal and informal opportunities for the exchange of ideas and professional development in a diverse scientific community. In addition, many influential and recognized researchers from other institutions are frequent speakers and visitors to the CfA. Some 300 CfA Ph.D. researchers, 35 graduate students, 12 predoctoral fellows, and numerous engineers, program managers and technical staff combine to conduct their research, serve the field on numerous committees and advisory bodies. In the past year, CfA researchers published a combined 1,042 refereed papers in publications such as Astrophysical Journal, Astronomy and Astrophysics, the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society , Nature and Science (3).

The CfA is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a vibrant slice of the larger Boston metropolitan area, known for its excellent universities, colleges and public education, its world renowned medical facilities, a dynamic modern economy, a booming artistic community, passionate sports fans and diverse cultures, all within a two hour drive away from great skiing, hiking in the White, Green or Berskshire mountains, and many Atlantic Ocean beaches. As a joint agreement between Smithsonian and Harvard, the CfA can also offer Clay Fellows selected special privileges through both institutions.

The Clay Postdoctoral Fellowship Advantage

Clay Fellows have complete research independence in an environment that thrives on the ideas and contributions of early-career scientists. The Clay Fellowship offers the following benefits and opportunities:

Five-year appointment (renewal dependent on research progress)

Stipend of $76,000 in 2023 with an annual cost-of-living increase

Research budget of $16,000 for each year

Funding for health and dental benefits for the Fellow (and dependents if applicable)

One-time relocation allowance

Eligibility to propose as a Principal Investigator for external support

Opportunity to receive advice and mentoring from CfA researchers

Opportunity to gain direct experience in advising graduate, undergraduate students who are recruited for CfA internship and fellowship offerings tailored to their academic level

Delivering the Clay Fellowship Prize Colloquium (typically scheduled in the Fellow’s second year)

Application forms and instructions are available at Applications are due by October 28, 2022. Offers will be made by December 20, 2022.

The Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian Fellowships do not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, gender stereotyping, pregnancy, and sexual orientation), national origin, age, disability, genetic information, parental status, or marital status of any applicant.


Compensation and Benefits

Included Benefits

Research budget of $16,000 for each year

Funding for health and dental benefits (and dependents if applicable)

One-time relocation allowance

Application Details

Publication Start Date
2022 Sep 01
Application Deadline
2022 Oct 28


Fellowship Program Coordinator