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Postdoctoral Research Associates

Download the Postdoctoral Research Associateship Application

JILA supports an active postdoctoral research associates program for young scientists desiring advanced research training soon after being awarded a Ph.D. Appointments to the program are offered for durations of one year or more. Young researchers often undertake postdoctoral research to gain experience in a new field or expand their experience in applied research, theoretical analysis, or experimental research. Many JILA postdocs have won prestigious awards and fellowships.

JILA is devoted to applied research in the fields of laser technology, optoelectronics, precision measurement, surface science and semiconductors, information and image processing, and nanoscience. The institute also promotes groundbreaking basic research in atomic, molecular and optical physics, precision measurement, astrophysics, chemical physics, biophysics, and nanoscience. JILA's theoretical astrophysics investigations are typically complemented by observational programs at astronomical and space research facilities around the world.

Postdoctoral positions are offered to applicants whose scholarly qualifications, promise as research scientists, and research interests and experience mesh well with JILA's ongoing research programs and the availability of funding for these programs. Applicants from all countries are welcome. To ensure a positive experience at JILA, the Institute provides volunteer counselors and job-related benefits.

One-year Research Associate positions are administered under the JILA Visiting Scientists Program, which also offers fellowships to established scientists for independent research and study. Research Associate positions provide advanced research experience in the years immediately following the Ph.D. degree and are generally renewable for a second year. JILA recommends that those in doubt as to which appointment is more suitable apply for a Research Associate position. Candidates whose applications are completed by November 1 may request to be considered for both programs.

Although appointments are offered throughout the year, many start in September. Consequently, it is advantageous to the applicant to submit application materials early in the year. Salaries vary according to experience, qualifications, and funding source. Well-qualified applicants are encouraged to compete for prestigious National Research Council (NRC) Postdoctoral Fellowships under the sponsorship of NIST scientists at JILA. In addition to salaries and fellowships, JILA may offer to pay for transportation to Boulder (up to the amount of coach airfare) for the appointee, spouse, and minor children. Allowances to assist with moving and appropriate professional travel expenses are often available.

JILA postdoctoral research associates typically move on to academia, industry, or government and private research organizations.

For more information, please contact our faculty directly, download a copy of our newsletter, review instructions for applying for a JILA Postdoctoral Research Associateship, or download an application.

Instructions for Applying for JILA Postdoctoral Research Associateships

Postdoctoral Research Associateships are intended to provide advanced research training in the years immediately following the Ph.D. degree. Visiting Fellowships are awarded for independent research and study, usually to those with extensive research experience. For those in doubt as to which type of appointment is more suitable, JILA recommends application for a Research Associateship. If all materials for the completed application are received by November 1, the applicant may request to be considered for both the Visiting Fellowship Program and the Postdoctoral Research Associateship Program.

Postdoctoral appointments usually are awarded in support of ongoing research projects, but consideration of proposals for original research is not precluded. In any case, the recipients will work under the direction of a member of the permanent scientific staff of JILA. The latitude available to the Research Associate is at the discretion of the project leader and may depend heavily on the source of financial support. Research Associateships are supported by specific grants and contracts awarded by federal agencies including NSF, NASA, DOE, and DoD to individual members of JILA's scientific staff. All Research Associates in JILA are appointed by the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Those interested in applying should download an application form, complete it, and send it (along with requested supporting materials) to the Visiting Scientists Program Assistant. All materials may be submitted via email to secretary@jila.colorado.edu. Initially, an unofficial copy of your graduate record is adequate. Three letters of recommendation are required. Please consult the research areas listed on JILA homepage to find the names of faculty members to use in answering item 12.

Applications must be sent before letters of recommendation.

On receipt of the completed application form and letters of recommendation, the application will be circulated among the JILA staff. Applicants will be informed when their files are complete. However, since associateships are awarded throughout the year, there may be an extended period of time between completion of the file and the offer of an appointment, if any. Please note that applications are accepted at any time.


Postdoctoral Fellows receive 15 days sick leave and 22 days vacation annually.  Campus-wide resources for Postdocs can be found here.

Next Steps

For more information, please contact our faculty directly, download a copy of our JILA Light & Matter publication, review instructions for applying and download an application, or contact the JILA Visiting Scientists Program.

JILA follows the six University nodes' policies for ensuring harassment-free environments. For more detailed information regarding the University of Colorado policies, please read the Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Procedures.