The South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) is seeking qualified candidates for the position of staff Astronomer.


The primary responsibility of the astronomer is to conduct original research, preferably in a field connected to, or supporting, one of the research focus areas at SAAO and SALT.  Student supervision will be strongly encouraged, as well as active participation in the scientific and functional life of the Observatory.  These other activities would depend on the strengths, interests and background of the applicant, and may include observing support, instrumentation and/or software development, lecturing or science engagement. At least 70% of the time would be reserved for research.  All astronomers are based in Cape Town, with travel to Sutherland if and when required.

Minimum requirements:

  • PhD in Astronomy or related field.
  • Two or more years of post-doctoral experience in astronomy.
  • Proven ability to carry out own astronomical research.

Desirable Work Experience:

  • Research field aligning with areas of interest at SAAO, or strong observational astronomy background, or interest in astronomical instrumentation development.
  • A strong publication record.
  • Experience and/or strong interest in student supervision.
  • Experience in science engagement activities.
  • Interest in developing professional astronomy nationally and internationally.

Interest in developing and growing a research group at SAAO.

The position will be a permanent position within the SAAO/NRF staff structure. The salary package will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

The filling of this position will be in line with the NRF’s Employment Equity Policy and Plan in the South African context: › Employment Equity › Act – Employment Equity 1998

Applicants should send a cover letter, a brief statement of a research plan and a copy of their CV to the SAAO Head of Research, Dr. Vanessa McBride (vanessa @ and to the SAAO HR Manager, Linda Tobin (linda @, and arrange for three letters of reference to be sent to both addresses. Please also complete the application form at

For further information, please contact Dr. Vanessa McBride at the above address.

 Applications should be submitted no later than 22 August 2021.