Position Description

Research Support Technician
Job Category Fulltime Regular
ExemptOvertimeEligible Overtime Eligible
Benefits Eligible Benefit Based
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Caltech is a world-renowned science and engineering institute that marshals some of the world's brightest minds and most innovative tools to address fundamental scientific questions. We thrive on finding and cultivating talented people who are passionate about what they do. Join us and be a part of the diverse Caltech community.


Job Summary

IPAC at Caltech is seeking a Research Support Technician to join the science staff of the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive (IRSA). Come be a part of the team that is helping astronomers and data scientist’s worldwide access and explore IRSA’s archives of astronomy data!

IPAC, part of the Physics, Math, and Astronomy Division at Caltech ( www.caltech.edu ), provides science operations, user support, data and archive services, and scientific vision to enhance discovery with observatories both in space and on the ground. IRSA (http://irsa.ipac.caltech.edu ) is the steward of scientific data sets, ancillary data products, and documentation delivered by NASA's Infrared and Sub-millimeter missions. We are developing services for researchers seeking to exploit its petabyte-scale holdings of astronomy mission data using data science techniques. We are also preparing to support upcoming astrophysics missions including: SPHEREx, a NASA mission which will conduct a spectroscopic, infrared survey of the entire sky; Euclid, a European Space Agency (ESA) mission to study the geometry and nature of the dark Universe; and the Vera C. Rubin Observatory. Additionally, we provide archive services for NASA’s SOFIA airborne observatory, and the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), an NSF-supported time domain survey led by Caltech.

Essential Job Duties

As an IPAC Research Support Technician, you will work with the engineering and scientific team members on tasks which may include:

  • Work with data providers to take receipt of data sets.
  • Evaluate data samples to ensure archive metadata requirements are met.
  • Map delivered metadata to the Common Archive Observation Model.
  • Create Digital Object Identifiers for new data sets.
  • Create HTML pages and documentation for data releases.
  • Track refereed Astrophysics journal articles that use data curated by IRSA.
  • Test data releases.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Basic Qualifications

If you have the following in your background, then we want to hear about your interest in joining our team:

  • Bachelor’s or equivalent degree in a technical subject such as Astronomy, Physics, Math, Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Sciences, or a related field.
  • Familiarity with a Unix/Linux environment.
  • Basic knowledge of programming or scripting.
  • Ability and willingness to understand technical documentation describing data standards.
  • Attention to detail.

Preferred Qualifications

Beyond these basic qualifications, there are a set of skills and experiences which will add to your ability to contribute to the roles and responsibilities of an IPAC Applications Developer. Any of the following might give you a head start here, but even if these do not describe you or your experience, we would still like to hear from you!

  • Basic knowledge of Python.
  • Experience with scientific data, especially astronomy data.
  • Experience with HTML

Required Documents

  • Resume


COVID-19 Vaccine Required for All Employees

Caltech has implemented a mandatory vaccination policy effective October 15, 2021, requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees (with Institute-approved exemptions for religious or medical contraindications only). At present, an individual is deemed “fully vaccinated” when that person has received, at least 14 days prior, either the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson). Upon eligibility, employees are required to receive the COVID-19 booster as part of the vaccine mandate. As a condition of employment, employees must submit official COVID-19 vaccine documentation. More information may be found here.

EEO Statement

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Caltech is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

To read more Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) go to eeoc_self_print_poster.pdf.

Disability Accommodations

If you would like to request an accommodation in completing this application, interviewing, or otherwise participating in the employee selection process, please direct your inquiries to Caltech Recruiting at employment@caltech.edu

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