Current Opportunities at Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt University invites applications for a postdoctoral scholar in gravitational-wave astrophysics and data analysis to work in Professor Stephen Taylor’s VIPER Group (the Vanderbilt Initiative in Probes of Extreme Relativity).

Department Physics & Astronomy
Full Description

This position is one of several postdoctoral positions that are funded through the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) Physics Frontier Center (PFC); see The goal of the NANOGrav PFC is to characterize the low-frequency gravitational-wave universe through radio-timing observations of pulsars. The postdoctoral researcher will be part of a diverse community of NANOGrav members in the United States and Canada and will benefit from mentoring by, and collaboration with, researchers at a range of institutions. The postdoctoral researcher will also be expected to play a large role in the work of the International Pulsar Timing Array (IPTA), particularly in driving forward its newest dataset and associated gravitational wave analysis, with ample opportunities for international travel and collaboration.

Candidates with experience in PTAs, LISA, ground-based GW detectors, or associated astrophysical/cosmological sources are strongly encouraged to apply. Postdoctoral researchers are appointed to renewable one-year terms, up to a total of three years. The position comes with an attractive salary commensurate with other prestigious prize fellowships in astrophysics, full benefits, and a competitive research budget.

VIPER (aka the Taylor Group) operates within the vibrant Department of Physics & Astronomy at Vanderbilt University ( and includes faculty at the forefront of research in Gravitational Waves (Taylor, Holley-Bockelmann, Jani), Supermassive Black Holes (Runnoe, Taylor, Holley-Bockelmann, Lupsasca), and Stellar Astrophysics & Exoplanets (Stassun). Faculty are world leaders within multi-messenger astrophysics collaborations such as NANOGrav, the International Pulsar Timing Array, LISA, LVK, SDSS, LSST, and EHT. An overarching research theme at Vanderbilt is the burgeoning arena of astro-informatics, which confronts the challenges of Big Data analytics, often employs simulation-based methods and machine learning, and lives at the interface of astrophysics, data science, and statistics. Vanderbilt (ranked 18th in 2024 US News & World Report Rankings) houses the state-of-the-art Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education (ACCRE) cluster with ~10,000 cores and bleeding-edge GPU resources, as well as a Data Science Institute (DSI) with strong faculty connections in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, and the Vanderbilt Initiative for Gravity, Waves, & Fluids ( Nashville is ranked amongst the top 25 cities to live in the US, with thriving scenes in music, art, entertainment, education, and technology (

Vanderbilt University engages in significant efforts to increase diversity and equity in STEM through the Fisk-Vanderbilt Bridge Program (, as well as our new NSF Research Traineeship Programs, EMIT (Establishing Multi-messenger astronomy Inclusive Training, ) and NISE (Neurodiversity Inspired Science & Engineering, ). Vanderbilt University is an equal employment opportunity/affirmative action employer. Women and underrepresented minority candidates are encouraged to apply.

Application Details

Candidates must have a Ph.D. in physics, astronomy, or equivalent, by the date of appointment. Applicants should ensure that all of the following are sent directly to, with the subject line “NANOGrav Postdoc 2024: LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME”.

-- A cover letter stating the applicant’s overall goals, motivation for applying, and how their research aligns with the position (1 page; LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME_Cover.pdf)
-- A curriculum vitae including a list of publications and talks. (LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME_CV.pdf)
-- A description of research accomplishments and future plans (3-page limit, 1-inch margins, 12 pt font; LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME_Research.pdf)
-- Names and contact details of three professional references (LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME_References.pdf)
-- Three letters of recommendation are to be sent directly to with the subject line “NANOGrav Postdoc 2024: Reference Letter for LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME”. 

Candidates interested in further details are encouraged to contact Professor Stephen Taylor (,

Contact Stephen Taylor
Posted 2024-05-07 19:40:43

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