Research Associate - Astronomical Instrumentation

University Park Campus
Date Announced:
Date Closing:
open until filled
Job Number:
Work Unit:
Eberly College of Science
Astronomy and Astrophysics


The Optical and Infrared Instrumentation group in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State has an immediate opening for a Research Associate to work on optical and near-infrared astronomical instrumentation in a university setting, including leading aspects of the design, integration and commissioning of the NASA funded NEID high precision spectrometer. The candidate will be responsible for engineering analysis, design, and integration of optics and hardware as well as working with and mentoring students in a laboratory environment. A successful candidate will have a wide breadth of experience in optical and mechanical design and engineering, including some of the following key traits. Engineering: Astrophysics instrumentation development experience, preferably including design development and commissioning. Familiarity with optical design programs (e.g., Zemax) and mechanical design software (e.g., Solidworks). Familiarity with spectroscopy and optical fibers will be regarded as a positive. Travel to remote telescope locations is a required part of this position. Experience handling and aligning large optics will be considered a positive. Candidate will work closely with Prof. Suvrath Mahadevan and the NEID team, and will directly supervise undergraduates and technicians, mentor graduates and post-docs in related endeavors, author and assist in authoring research publications, present results at conferences and generally be an active member of the astrophysics instrument and technology development community and help drive technological innovation in astronomical instrumentation. Penn State is a member of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-IV) and the LSST, and hosts the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds. The candidate may have opportunity for involvement in these projects and centers depending upon interest and expertise. This position requires a PhD in Astronomy/Astrophysics or a closely related field and postdoctoral experience. Applications must be submitted electronically and should include curriculum vitae, publication list, statement of research interests, and the names and contact information for three references. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. All applications received by Oct 15th will merit full consideration. This is a fixed-term appointment funded for one year from date of hire with possibility of re-funding. Questions regarding the application process can be directed to Please reference job # in the email’s subject line. Questions regarding the position and project can be directed to Suvrath Mahadevan (

These salary bands have been established to provide salary guidelines for staff positions.

Salary Band Minimum Midpoint Maximum
A $16,104 $23,748 $31,392
B $17,712 $26,124 $34,524
C $19,152 $28,728 $38,304
D $21,072 $31,620 $42,156
E $23,604 $35,400 $47,196
F $26,436 $39,660 $52,872
G $29,136 $44,412 $59,712
H $33,192 $50,616 $68,040
I $37,848 $57,696 $77,580
J $42,444 $65,772 $89,136
K $49,236 $76,308 $103,392
L $57,120 $88,524 $119,928
M $66,240 $102,672 $139,116
N $78,168 $121,152 $164,148
O $90,768 $142,968 $195,168
P $107,124 $168,696 $230,280
Q $126,396 $199,056 $271,728
R $151,668 $238,872 $326,088