DARA Post-Docs in Earth Observation in African SKA Partner Country Institutions

Category: Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships 

Institution: African SKA Partner Country Institutions 

Number of Positions Available: 12 

Duration: Until 31st March 2027 

Could the duration be extended? No 

Work Arrangement: In-Person 

Job Description 

The Development in Africa with Radio Astronomy (DARA) project will fund up to 12  post-doctoral Fellowship positions in universities and institutions located in the SKA  African Partner Countries (APCs). The APCs are Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, Namibia,  Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique and Mauritius. Research programmes in  astrophysics relevant to radio astronomy will be prioritized, but complementary multi wavelength areas will also be considered. Projects that utilize machine learning (ML)  or artificial intelligence (AI) approaches are also encouraged. Researchers from the  Earth Observation (EO) and Space Science fields can also apply where they  propose to use ML/AI techniques that have synergies with those useful for  astrophysics and can contribute to a strong collaborative environment in data  science. 

Fellows will be supported by collaborators and mentors from the DARA team of  academics and space sector industrial partners from the UK and South Africa.  Fellows will become part of the emerging community of African researchers that will  be in a strong position to utilize facilities on the African continent such as the Square  Kilometre Array.  

Fellows will also be encouraged to take part in the development and delivery of  training programmes in Africa related to initiatives by DARA, SARAO and others. As  part of SARAO’s Africa Programme, two-element training interferometer dishes of 3- 4 m diameter will be deployed in each APC as well as Transient Array Radio  Telescopes (TARTs). There is potential for the 3-4 m dishes to also be used for the  downlink of satellite EO data. The aim is to enable space sector hubs where radio  astronomy, remote sensing, space AI applications and entrepreneurship can thrive.  Candidates are expected to be committed to remaining in the APC long-term and the  host institution is encouraged to offer a permanent position once the fellowship ends. 

The DARA programme is funded by the UK’s International Science Partnerships  Fund as part of Official Development Assistance (UK overseas aid). Hence, citizens  from developing countries in Africa are particularly encouraged to apply. The programme is committed to promoting gender equality and therefore we actively  encourage applications from female candidates. 

Compensation and Benefits 

Compensation Type: Salary

Included Benefits: The position comes with dedicated funds of up to £11,000 per year to cover the cost  of travel for the postdoctoral fellow. This will include travel to conferences and visits  to collaborators in the UK, South Africa or elsewhere in Africa. £5,000 will be  available for a research workstation computer. A further £10,000 is available for a  research grade GPU chip if required by the proposed research. 

Compensation Notes: The exact salary level is to be agreed between the host institute and the DARA  project and should be between a minimum for a typical junior lecturer at the host  institution and a maximum that equates to a take home rate equivalent to the  SARAO postdoctoral bursary rate of ZAR450,000 per year. 

Application Details 

Application Instructions The positions can start as soon as possible and are funded up to 31st March 2027.  Later start dates will also be considered. Performance will be monitored by the  DARA project every 6 months with continued funding to the project end dependant  on satisfactory progress.  

Applicants must have already obtained a PhD in Astrophysics, Space Science or  Earth Observation, or be in a position to obtain one prior to their proposed start date. 

The applicant needs to get the agreement of an institution based in an APC to host  their Fellowship. Teaching and/or administrative duties must not take up more than 6  hours per week of the Fellow’s time. Both the applicant and the host institution need  to fill out their respective applications forms available from the link below. The  completed forms, together with a CV and a science case (maximum of 3 pages in  11pt font) from the applicant, need to be emailed as PDFs to the DARA Principal  Investigator, Prof Melvin Hoare at m.g.hoare@leeds.ac.uk by the 21st July 2024.  The applicant should name two referees and request that they send letters of  recommendation to the same address by the deadline. 

If you have any questions about the position or application procedure, or with issues  in finding a suitable host institution, do not hesitate to write to Prof Melvin Hoare at  m.g.hoare@leeds.ac.uk.  

Application forms can be found here


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