SMA Postdoctoral Fellowships
The SMA is a pioneering radio interferometer designed for arc-second imaging in the submillimeter spectrum. Used primarily for imaging molecular lines and dust continuum in cold interstellar clouds, the SMA has also found application in observations of high energy phenomena, black holes, gamma-ray bursts, supernovae, and blazars. In addition to its outstanding record in astronomical research, the SMA is a world leader in the design of wide-bandwidth, high-frequency radio receivers for astronomy. The SMA operates a next generation correlator which vastly increases total bandwidth (to 32 GHz) while retaining high spectral resolution (140 kHz) across the entire processed spectral range, providing significantly enhanced science capability. We are in the process of exanding this new correlator further, expecting to process 12 GHz/sideband per polarization in late 2019.
While the SMA fellowships are intended primarily for research associated with the SMA, being located at the Center for Astrophysics, fellows have unique opportunities to develop collaborations within the wider CfA community and enjoy extraordinary freedom in structuring their own research activities.
The SMA is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics in Taipei, Taiwan. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer where all qualified applicants receive equal consideration without regard to race, color, creed, national origin or gender.
Requirements: SMA Postdoctoral Fellows are expected to propose and participate in scientific research programs that make use of the unique capabilities of the SMA in high angular resolution submillimeter astrophysics. Applicants must outline their research interests involving the SMA.
Academic Background: Applicants must have a recent Ph.D. in astronomy or a related field. Practical experience with millimeter or submillimeter wavelength astronomy, radio interferometry, instrumentation, or experience in any applicable branch of astrophysical theory is desirable.
- Stipend is US$64,000 (for FY 2020)
- Full health insurance coverage
- Up to $4000 for relocation expenses
- plus other benefits
Length of the Award: SMA Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded for two years, with renewal for a third year likely, contingent upon satisfactory progress.
Start Date: Flexible, though SMA Postdoctoral Fellows usually start their appointments October 1 or November 1.
Deadline for Applications: October 10, 2019
Online admissions materials and references are due before the deadline.
Please review the FAQ before beginning the online application.
The first time you go to the below link you will need register for a login password. When you see the Login page, click on the "Update Account" button. This will take you to a form where you will create your account. Make sure that you remember your password so that you can return to the same application to finish your application, or to make changes.
The online application can be found at:
Complete the following sections of the online application:
Personal Information Section
Upload these files in PDF or Text Format:
- Curriculum Vitae (may include publication list, esp. submitted or accepted works not yet on ADS)
- Publication List Library in ADS (see the application for instructions)
- Summary of Previous and Current Research (up to 4 pages)
- Research Proposal, with SMA interests (up to 2 pages
- Three Letters of Reference:
- Steps for submitting reference letters:
- Contact your references. Make sure that they are available to submit the reference and are willing to write a letter on your behalf.
- The applicant supplies the name and email of each referee in the application form.
- A message is emailed to each reference, which provides a unique URL.
- The reference uses the URL given in their email to upload the letter.
- Once the reference letter has been uploaded, the applicant will see "Complete" when checking the appropriate area of the application status page.
How do I apply?
Applications for the 2019 SMA Postdoctoral Fellowships are no longer being accepted. The 2020 SMA Postdoctoral Fellowship opportunity will be announced in late summer 2019, with online submissions through the application website. See 'Application' on left.
How do I register online?
Go to the Fellowship Application Login page.
Are there any requirements I must meet in order to apply?
Applicants must have a Ph.D. in astronomy or a related field at the time you begin the fellowhip. SMA Postdoctoral Fellowships are aimed chiefly at research in submillimeter astronomy, and the successful candidates are expected to propose and participate in science observations with the SMA.
What type of visa will the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory issue me if I am selected for an SMA Postdoctoral Fellowship?
Only J-1 visas may be issued to international exchange scholars for the SMA Postdoctoral Fellowship. (The position is considered a non-service fellowship, and it is not an employment position in this context.)
As an SMA Postdoctoral Fellow, may I use telescopes other than the SMA?
While the SMA fellowships are intended primarily for research associated with the SMA, fellows enjoy extraordinary freedom in structuring their research in this area whether in astronomical observations, their interpretation through theoretical research, or receiver and electronics development.
What is the start date for an SMA Postdoctoral Fellowship?
The start date is flexible. Most SMA Fellows begin their appointments in the fall, often on October 1.
When will an offer be made for the SMA Postdoctoral Fellowship?
It is expected that the first offers will be issued by mid-January.
Are applications for other CfA Fellowship Programs (e.g. CfA, Clay, Menzel) automatically forwarded to the SMA Fellowship Selection Committee for consideration?
No, the SMA Postdoctoral Fellowship requires a separate application.
How should letters of recommendation be submitted?
Letters of reference should be submitted by three "referees" familiar with your scientific abilities and must be received by the application deadline. The name and email of each referee must be supplied in the application form. A message is emailed to each referee, which provides a unique URL. The referee uses that URL to upload the letter. Once the letter has been uploaded, the applicant will see "Complete" when checking the appropriate area of the application status page.
Can I edit my application online?
Yes, you can access the application as many times as you want until the deadline. You can enter more information or edit existing information each time. You can upload new files to replace existing ones until the deadline.
If my password does not work, what should I do?
On the "Fellowship Application: Login" page select "Reset Password" and a new password will be emailed to you if you have already successfully registered.
How will I know if all my application materials have been received?
After logging in to the application, select "View Application Status" to check what remains incomplete in your application. In addition, when viewing your application online, you can check previously uploaded files by clicking on the numbered button provided.
What should I do if I notice an error in my application after I submit it?
Until the deadline, you can access the application to make corrections, including uploading new versions of the pdf files.
What if I decide to withdraw my application?
If you want to withdraw your application, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org stating your full name and describe the fellowship application that you wish to withdraw.
What if I have other questions?
We are happy to answer your questions! Please send an email inquiry to us at email@example.com.