Catalyst Astrophysics Fellowship

Credit: LSST-DA/R. Quinn (Urban Abstrakt)

The LSST Discovery Alliance (LSST-DA) Catalyst Fellowship in Astrophysics is not accepting applications at this time. Below we have archived the 2023 announcement. Although details may change from year to year, this information should be informative for those interested in applying for future cohorts.

Selection Criteria

The Catalyst Astrophysics Fellowship is for outstanding astrophysics postdoctoral Fellows whose research is directly related to the preparation for, and use of, the Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time

We seek excellent cohorts that are balanced in terms of scientific focus, location of the host institution, type of host institution (large vs small, public vs private, US vs non-US, etc), and demographics. In each cohort, we aim to select at least one fellow who proposes to conduct their research outside of the US, one who proposes to conduct their research at an expansion site (within the US), and at least one who proposes to sit at an institution closely connected to the LINCC initiative.

Fellows should have the problem-solving skills and understanding of Rubin LSST necessary to make good use of LSST data from Rubin’s very first year of operation while at the same time serving as ambassadors for LSST. LSST-DA Catalyst fellows in astrophysics should have the potential to become leaders in the Rubin community, both through their scientific research and their commitment to the constructive and inclusive practice of science with big data.

For a detailed description of the selection criteria, please view the latest (2023) program policies and application instructions.

Fall 2023 Call for Applications

The LSST Discovery Alliance (LSST-DA) announces a new call for applications from astrophysicists for the LSST-DA Catalyst Fellowship funded by the John Templeton Foundation. Starting in fall 2023, LSST-DA will support a second diverse cohort of outstanding astrophysics postdoctoral fellows whose research is directly related to the preparation for, and use of, the Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time. Standard Fellowship terms will be three years. The deadline to apply for LSST-DA Catalyst Fellowships in Astrophysics is November 15, 2022. 


In addition to having the academic freedom that is typical of prize fellowships, LSST-DA Catalyst Fellows in astrophysics will enjoy multiple unusual benefits and opportunities, such as:

  1. Structured mentoring and leadership training
  2. Four-year terms for some fellows whose research plans include working closely with faculty and students at small or historically underserved institutions or helping to develop and test analysis tools for LSST data
  3. A large selection of potential host institutions, including some outside the US (in Brazil, Chile, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, and Japan)
  4. Automatic delegate status for LSST data previews
  5. The opportunity to work with social scientists to understand and improve the practice of astrophysics (including working to make the field more diverse, equitable, and inclusive)
  6. Affiliation with the LSST Interdisciplinary Network for Collaboration and Computing (LINCC)

The LSST-DA Catalyst Fellowship will thus offer numerous opportunities for early career astrophysicists to acquire a deep knowledge and understanding of the state-of-the-art in survey science and to establish themselves as leaders for the LSST decade.

Eligibility and Budget

Catalyst Fellowships in astrophysics are open to applicants of any nationality who earned or will earn their doctoral degree between January 1, 2019, and September 2023, in astronomy, physics, data science, or related disciplines. The starting stipend for the 2023 Catalyst Fellows will be $72,100 (USD). For fellows working outside of the US, the stipend will be as close to this value as is consistent with local laws and regulations. Fellows will receive benefits and a research budget of at least $15,000 (USD) per year, plus a relocation allowance if needed.

Ideas Lab

Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to register to attend a virtual Ideas Lab workshop about the Catalyst Fellowship to take place on October 6, 2022. This workshop will be informational only and is not part of the selection process. It will, however, help applicants craft strong applications by enabling structured networking and brainstorming with faculty and researchers in the Rubin LSST research community.

How to Apply

Please review the detailed program policies and application instructions. We anticipate the application portal being open on the website after the Ideas Lab from October 10 to November 15, 2022. Applicants should follow the instructions given on the Catalyst Fellowship webpage and examine the frequently asked questions. Please contact us with any further inquiries about the fellowship or application process.

Catalyst Fellowships are open to English-speaking citizens of all nations. All applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, creed, color, age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or national origin. Women and members of underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

Important Dates

  • Ideas Lab virtual workshop – October 6, 2022
  • Applications due – November 15, 2022, 23:00 UTC (4:00 PM MST, 6:00 PM EST)
  • Offers – late January or early February 2023
  • Appointments should begin on or about September 1, 2023