SAAO Postdoctoral Fellow

The National Research Foundation (NRF) supports and promotes research and human capital development through funding, the provision of National Research Facilities and science outreach platforms and programmes to the broader community in all fields of science and technology, including natural sciences, engineering, social sciences and humanities.

SAAO is a National Facility of the National Research Foundation and provides research infrastructure for optical and infrared astronomy. Its headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa. SAAO hosts and/or operates a suite of sub 2-m class telescopes, as well as the 10-m class Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) at its site near Sutherland in the Northern Cape.

South Africa is the leading partner in SALT and astronomers based here have access to time on the SAAO telescopes, SALT, and the MeerKAT radio interferometer.In addition, we have access to either time on, or data from, a number of hosted facilities, including the 1.4- m Infrared Survey Facility, LCO, KMTNet, ATLAS, MeerLICHT, MASTER, and the upcoming 1.8-m near-IR telescope PRIME. SAAO also has an active outreach and education department, and hosts the Office of Astronomy for Development, which focuses on how the tools, skills and methodologies of astronomy can be applied across other fields in service of sustainable development.

Applicants are encouraged to contact staff astronomers they may collaborate with, to discuss research plans ahead of the application.

The research fellowship is intended to offer an opportunity for excellent early career researchers to establish a track record of independent research.


The primary duty of the fellow is the completion of research, but they will also be expected to make active contributions to the SAAO environment through, for example, student mentorship, service observing, instrument development, contributions to science engagement or astronomy for development.

Key requirements:

  • A PhD in astronomy or related discipline
  • Three or more years of research experience (a PhD counts towards this)
  • An excellent publication record, commensurate with career stage

To apply:

Informal enquiries may be directed to A/Prof. Vanessa McBride

Applicants should apply online at

Applications should include a CV, a cover letter and a research plan uploaded as a supporting document. The names and contact details of at least three referees should be provided.

Applications should be submitted no later than 31 July 2022.