Job Opportunity: Lead Research Scientist for the Swift Guest Investigator Program

Applications are now being accepted for a research scientist to lead the Swift Guest Investigator (GI) program for the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory project Center for Research and Exploration in Space Sciences & Technology II (CRESST II) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). The position consists of an appointment in UMBC’s Center for Space Sciences and Technology (CSST), funded by NASA through the Center for Research and Exploration in Space Sciences & Technology II (CRESST II) cooperative agreement.

The research scientist’s responsibilities include defining the parameters of the Call for Proposals (as well as joint proposal opportunities with other missions), assembling panels of external scientists to evaluate proposal submissions, monitoring progress of selected GI programs upon implementation, and assisting with project-related outreach efforts. Successful applicants will have demonstrated familiarity with the broad range of research conducted using Swift, as well as excellent organizational skills. The programmatic responsibilities of the GI Lead are estimated to be at the 50% level, while the remainder is available for independent research.

GSFC is home to over 100 Ph.D. astronomers, including project teams for Swift, Fermi, NICER, TESS, JWST, and WFIRST, as well as ample computational resources. Through the Joint Space-Science Institute (JSI), GSFC is a partner in the Zwicky Transient Facility project. The successful applicants will also have the opportunity to apply for time on 4.3m Lowell Discovery Telescope in Happy Jack, AZ.

Candidates must have a Ph.D. in astronomy, physics, or a related field, with a preference for at least 3 years of post-Ph.D. experience relevant to the position. The position is for two years, renewable for a third year upon mutual agreement and availability of funds. The nominal starting date is June 1, 2022, but other dates are possible depending on availability. The successful candidate will be expected to begin work onsite at GSFC, but a remote start can be discussed as part of the hiring process. All students, faculty, and staff are required to be vaccinated against COVID. Proof of full vaccination will be required before the start of employment through CRESST II at NASA/GSFC.

The position will remain available until filled. Applications received by Wednesday, December 15, 2021, will receive full consideration. Candidates should provide a cover letter, curriculum vitae including a complete publications list, a 3-page statement of research interests, and arrange to have three letters of recommendation submitted by the application deadline. All application materials should be sent directly via email to Ms. Katherine McKee (

Salary and benefits are competitive, commensurate with experience and qualifications. For more information about the position, please contact the Swift PI Dr. Brad Cenko ( The Swift team and NASA/GSFC are committed to building a diverse group and encourage applications from women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans.

For information on CRESST II or UMBC, contact Dr. Don Engel ( UMBC is committed to inclusive excellence and innovation and strongly encourages applications from women, minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities. UMBC is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes all to apply. EOE/M/F/D/V.