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One research assistant position in the field of telescope automation

Applications are invited for 1 research assistant position  (equivalent to a PhD position) at the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences (CAMK PAN), in Warsaw, Poland, in the field of telescope automation.


A successful candidate will work with prof. Grzegorz Pietrzynski and his team on the integration and automation of new telescopes of the OCA observatory (Observatorio Cerro Armazones) in Chile. OCA is a Polish observatory operated by CAMK PAN just in front of the construction site of the biggest telescope in the world, E-ELT which is currently receiving essential upgrade. CAMK PAN significantly expands the observatory by building 4 new telescopes (0.6 – 2.5 m).


The successful applicant is expected to develop software integrating telescopes operation and observation scheduling. The development of this software will be conducted by the team in which applicant will play leading role.


The telescope components will be exposed to the information system of the observatory as HTTP REST API – ASCOM Alpaca (https://ascom-standards.org/Developer/Alpaca.html) delivered by the telescopes supplier (ASA). The new software should contain middle-ware layer, common for all telescopes, centralizing access to telescopes and reducing redundant calls to Alpaca API from various client software.


Additionally,  new GUI applications are planed:

a)      Basic Operator Console – allowing observations and giving access to all telescope functions,

b)     Observation Scheduler – for performing automatic observations by running sequence of steps prepared for specific night.


The programming language used in the project is Python. Knowledge of automation technologies and distributed IT systems is expected. No prior experience in astronomy is obligatory.

Experience in data analysis and modern statistical methods will be considered as assets.



The position will be funded from the European Research Council Synergy grant, agreement no. 951549  “Sub-percent calibration of the extragalactic distance scale in the era of big surveys” - UniverScale.  The person employed will be a member of the international Araucaria Group (https://araucaria.camk.edu.pl/).  Expeditions and extended research visits to our partner institutions in Chile, France and Germany will be possible.  Several visits to OCA observatory will be essential for the project.  There are also very good prospects of follow up projects based on the developed software and possible collaboration with ASA Astrosysteme GmbH (telescopes producer) or Akond Lab (IT company supporting the project).


CAMK PAN is the leading astrophysical institute in Poland, hosting about 50 staff researchers and 30 PhD students. CAMK PAN scientists participate in many international projects. The research lines in CAMK PAN, possibilities to develop careers for young researchers, and life at the institute are presented in three movies available here.


CAMK PAN is an equal-opportunity employer and supports equal opportunities and diversity in its personnel policy.

The successful applicant will be offered an employment contract with excellent salary and working conditions. The employment contract embraces social security, public medical care and participation in national pension scheme as well as access to non-public medical care co-financed by the employer. She/he can also profit from the relocation costs reimbursement scheme according to CAMK PAN internal rules.

The successful applicant who is not a citizen of a member country of the European Union must keep in mind that, prior to signing the contract, she/he must obtain a residence and work permit or visa (according to rules established between Poland and the country of the applicant's origin).



One research assistant position is offered for 4 years.  The preferred starting date for the position is November 1st, 2022, but it is to some extent negotiable. The successful applicant is expected to complete and defend a PhD thesis based on the obtained results of her/his work.  

Number of available positions: 1

Time and form of engagement: 4 years with a possibility of extension, employment contract

Place of employment: CAMK PAN, Warsaw, Poland


Requirements to be met by candidates include the following:

1)     master degree in computer science, engineering, physics/astronomy or mathematics; candidates who still haven’t obtained the degree will be asked to present the diploma before signing the employment contract as the degree is an eligibility condition in this competition;

2)     very good programming skills;

3)     experience with Python programming language;

4)     experience in automation;

5)     understanding of software patterns used in distributed systems communication;

6)     good command of English to enable efficient communication with the team and preparation of scientific reports and publications;

7)     additional assets: enthusiasm for work, independence, high personal culture, ability to work in a team.


Optional but valuable skills:

1)     tests design techniques;

2)     logging, telemetry, monitoring stacks (ElasticSearch, Grafana, Telegram, influxDB, etc…);

3)     specialized tools and technology experience:

asyncIO, ZeroMQ, REST, Qt, React, Django, SQL, noSQL, Git, SoapUI;

4)     basic knowledge of astronomy and modern astronomical instrumentation (automated telescopes, CCD technology, astronomical data processing).


The selection criteria include (equally weighted):

1)     qualifications;

2)     professional experience (including informally acquired experience);

3)     mobility related to scientific and organizational experience.


Applying candidates should submit the following documents (in pdf format):

1)     a copy of the Master degree diploma;

2)     a scientific curriculum vitae detailing research, teaching (if applicable) and organizational activities and a list of publications including the most important ones;

3)     scan of printed and signed information clause available here (PDF format);

4)     other documents proving the fulfillment of the competition criteria;

5)     short statement of research achievements and scientific plans including the PhD thesis subject.


The above mentioned documents should be submitted by e-mail with a subject “UniverScale Research assistant position 2” to recruitment@camk.edu.pl  by October 9th, 2022, 23:00 CET as the latest.

Questions about the position can be sent to: prof. Grzegorz Pietrzynski pietrzyn@camk.edu.pl (PI of the project) and/or Ksenia Kempa  kkempa@camk.edu.pl, project coordinator.


The selection of candidates will be executed by a 3-member selection committee in accordance with the “Resolution of the Scientific Council of the Copernicus Astronomical Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences (CAMK PAN) on establishing the regulations for the competition for positions of scientific employees at CAMK PAN”. Shortlisted candidates can expect an invitation for a Zoom interview.


The review of applications will begin soon after the deadline and continue until the position is filled.

Complaints on the competition results shall be presented by e-mail to recruitment@camk.edu.pl within 2 days after receiving the information on the outcomes of the recruitment process and they will be taken up by the selection committee right after this deadline.