First listed on: 30 July 2021

CSIRO Postdoctoral Fellowship in Radio Astronomy-Discovering Cosmic Dawn

The Opportunity

  • Do you have a PhD in astronomy, electronic engineering, physics or a related field?
  • Build precision radio instruments to observe the astrophysics of cosmic dawn when the first stars lit up our universe
  • Gain the skills, knowledge and understanding to lead key science research in this exciting postdoctoral role

CSIRO Early Research Career (CERC) Postdoctoral Fellowships provide opportunities to scientists and engineers who have completed their doctorate and have no more than three years of relevant postdoctoral work experience. These fellowships aim to develop the next generation of future science leaders.

The Postdoctoral Fellow will build and deploy a sensitive spectral radiometer to detect the redshifted 21 cm radio signal from neutral hydrogen during the Cosmic Dawn.  They will commission and observe with the new radiometer at the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) site in Western Australia before deploying to more remote sites at land and sea. Advanced mathematical statistical analysis will be required to detect and measure weak 21 cm signals in the recorded spectra. The challenge is in the necessary precision calibration of the instrument and the development of algorithms to detect weak spectral signatures predicted by cosmology. The cosmic signatures must be carefully separated from the much brighter radio emissions of our Galaxy and our built environment.

Discovering the physics of the emergence of first stars and ultra-faint galaxies from primordial gas is a key goal of modern astrophysics and the Square Kilometre Array. Single-antenna radiometer detection of cosmic dawn is a complementary effort. It is a first step that will pave the way for more detailed studies with the SKA-Low that is being built in Western Australia. At the project’s conclusion, the Postdoctoral Fellow will be empowered with the theoretical understanding and the experimental experience necessary to lead key science with SKA-Low.

CSIRO Space & Astronomy (S&A) is committed to providing a safe and inclusive workplace culture and implementing initiatives to improve diversity and equity within our workplace. CSIRO offers a range of flexible working arrangements to support these initiatives including part time and job-sharing options. You will have input on how, when and where you work.

Your duties will include:

  • Undertaking system-level design and modelling of antennas, sensitive radio receivers, and associated digital systems for data acquisition and signal processing.
  • Performing laboratory verification tests to iteratively advance the system design.
  • Field testing the radiometer on an existing SKA-Low antenna at the SKA site.
  • Deploying the precision instrument at a remote site, measuring the cosmic radio spectrum, and deciphering the physics of Cosmic Dawn.
  • Developing an understanding of the theoretical foundations of physics of Cosmic Dawn and the following epoch of reionisation.

Location: Marsfield, Sydney or Kensington, Perth (Based at one with frequent interaction and visits to the other)
Salary: AU$88k - AU$96k plus up to 15.4% superannuation
Tenure: Specified term of 3 years
Reference: 76147

To be considered you will need:

  • A doctorate (or will shortly satisfy the requirements of a PhD) in a relevant discipline area, such as electronic engineering, physics or astronomy. Please note: To be eligible for this role you must have no more than 3 years (or part-time equivalent) of postdoctoral research experience.
  • A current driver’s licence and/or eligibility for an Australian Class C (car) driver’s licence.
  • Ability and willingness to work safely at remote (domestic) field sites.
  • Demonstrated computer programming experience in Python (or equivalent).
  • High level written and oral communication skills with the ability to represent the research team effectively internally and externally, including the presentation of research outcomes at national and international conferences.

For full details about this role please view the Position Description


To be eligible to for role, you must be an Australian/New Zealand Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident or Australian temporary resident currently residing in Australia and be able to commence in the role by December 2021/January 2022.
The successful applicant will be required to obtain and provide a National Police Check.

Flexible Working Arrangements

We work flexibly at CSIRO, offering a range of options for how, when and where you work. 

Diversity and Inclusion

We are working hard to recruit people representing the diversity across our society, and ensure that all our people feel supported to do their best work and feel empowered to let their ideas flourish. 


At CSIRO Australia's national science agency, we solve the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology. We put the safety and wellbeing of our people above all else and earn trust everywhere because we only deal in facts. We collaborate widely and generously and deliver solutions with real impact. 

Join us and start creating tomorrow today!

How to Apply

Please apply on-line and provide a cover letter and CV that best demonstrate your motivation and ability to meet the requirements of this role.

Applications Close

31 August 2021, 11:00pm AEST

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