SARAO and UWC are offering an exciting postdoctoral opportunity for a researcher interested in
gaining experience in the science operations of the MeerKAT telescope.
In this role, the successful candidates will support MeerKAT telescope operations, its users, and have
the opportunity to carry out their own research (up to 50 %).
The SKA precursor MeerKAT is a 64-dish radio interferometer located in South Africa, inaugurated in
2018. In parallel with a robust science program, development of new capabilities continues.
MeerKAT’s wide field of view, wide bandwidth, and sensitivity to low surface brightness emission pose
new challenges in characterization and calibration of the telescope providing growth opportunities to a
dedicated team of technically-minded astronomers. More information on MeerKAT can be found at https://skaafrica.atlassian.net/servicedesk
The successful candidate will work closely with the SARAO Science Operations team, conducting the
● Serve as Astronomer on Duty on a roster basis
● Provide quality assurance and quality control of the telescope data products and support
engineering teams in troubleshooting operational issues.
● Improve operations and scientific performance
● Maintain calibration of the telescope
● Contribute to the commissioning and science verification of the MeerKAT Extension
● Support users in the preparation of proposals, observation schedule blocks, calibration
strategies and data reduction
● Assist in feasibility reviews of proposals
The candidate will be based at the SARAO offices in Black River Park, Observatory, Cape Town, with
regular visits to UWC.
In the role at UWC, the candidate will work closely with Prof. Mario Santos and pursue research
related to calibration, RFI mitigation and data analysis of HI intensity mapping data from MeerKAT.
This can be either single dish or interferometric data, depending on the expertise of the candidate.
The successful candidate will be affiliated with the Centre for Radio Cosmology (CRC) and the Astro
group at the University of the Western Cape (see http://astro.uwc.ac.za) and have access to state of
the art computing facilities.
Mandatory Knowledge, Skills and Experience
● University PhD degree in Astronomy, Physics, Engineering or another closely related and
● Expertise in radio astronomy techniques including in the acquisition, reduction and analysis of
● Ability to program in C/ Python/shell scripts
● Linux operating systems
● Effective oral and written communication skills in English
● Flexibility and adaptability to change.
Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Experience
● Cosmology and HI intensity mapping
● Experience with the operation of radio observatories
● Experience commissioning radio astronomy instrumentation
The expected remuneration for 2024 is ZAR 447 000 per annum, tax-free, subject to corrections for
inflation. Additional funding is available for equipment, travel and relocation expenses. The position is
for three years, subject to adequate performance.
Applicants should email a single PDF document containing:
● a CV (including a list of publications)
● a description of previous/current research and future plans/interests (maximum: 3 pages)
● names and emails of 2–3 referees: letters must be sent directly to us by the referees
Email address: email@example.com (Prof. Mario Santos)
Deadline: 20 December 2023
For any further questions, please use the email above.
The appointment is subject to the rules and approval of the University of the Western Cape and
SARAO/National Research Foundation of South Africa.