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FY2020 Call for Applications for the ALMA Joint Scientific Research Program

In the event of inconsistency between the English and the Japanese description, the Japanese description shall prevail.

The ALMA Project of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) ALMA solicits applications for the ALMA Joint Scientific Research Program for the fiscal year 2020. The primary purpose of this program is to promote researchers at Japanese universities to carry out scientific research using the ALMA telescope. The successful applicant is required to lead a strong research program by supervising a dedicated researcher who will submit ALMA proposals and produce journal articles using ALMA data as an output of the program.


Funding Categories

There are three categories for which an applicant (PI) can choose from.

  • Category (A) One Project Research Staff Member (postdoc) + Research Grant 1,000,000 yen
  • Category (B)-1 Two Project Research Staff Members (postdoc) + Research Grant 2,000,000 yen
  • Category (B)-2 One Project Assistant Professor + Research Grant 2,000,000 yen

The successful PI of the program is required to release the job advertisement for researchers (Project Research Staff Members or Project Assistant Professor) to the Japanese and the international communities during the recruitment process. Project Research Staff Members (postdocs) hired on an annual contract basis will be paid a monthly salary of 350,000 yen, which is equivalent to the salary paid to NAOJ Project Research Fellows. Project Assistant Professors hired on an annual contract basis will be paid a monthly salary of 550,000 yen, which is equivalent to the salary paid to NAOJ Fellows.

The program will start at the date of employment of the first researcher hired with the program. Starting from that date, the period will be:

(Category A) Three consecutive years, or
(Category B) Three consecutive years, with possible extension to 5 consecutive years (subject to a review of the program status and the achieved results after the first 3 years)

  • Note1: In principle, researchers must start their appointment before the end of March 2021
  • Note 2: In principle, the stating date must be 1st April 2020 or 1st October 2020. In Category (B)-1, in the case that the starting dates of two Project Research Staff Members are different, the amount of Research Grant will be half of the nominal value until the second Project Research Staff Member starts the appointment. Note that if the second researcher cannot be hired after one year from the start of the appointment of the first researcher, the Grant will be downgraded to Category A, but with the possibility to extend it two additional years upon a successful review (similar to the original Category B). Successfully extended Grants will be categorized extraordinarily as Category (A)-2.
  • Note 3: If the selected researcher resigns before entering the last year of the program, the PI may select to hire a replacement by issuing a job advertisement. Notice that in any case, there will not be any extension to the total length of the program, since the total length is defined as the start of employment of the first selected person and lasts in principle until the end of the period prescribed above.

NAOJ plans to accept two research projects for Category (A) and one for Category (B) in FY2020.

The successful PIs are required to meet the following conditions:

For Category (A), including (A)-2:

(1) To publish two or more research papers per year (one of which should be written by the selected researcher as the first author)

(2) To submit two or more ALMA proposals per year (one of which should be written by the selected researcher as the first author)

For Category (B)-1 and Category (B)-2:

(1) To publish four or more research papers per year (two of which should be written by the selected researcher(s) as the first author)

(2) To submit four or more ALMA proposals per year (two of which should be written by the selected researcher(s) as the first author)

Research papers mentioned in the item (1) above can be written using either ALMA data obtained as the principle investigator or ALMA archive data which is open to the public. It is not necessary for the successful PI to be the first author of all papers and proposals. Activities as research collaboration and science promotion of students are also considered as valuable. In order to avoid double counts of research papers by several programs, it is required that the PIs of programs sharing papers agree which party will count each research paper in their corresponding research reports.


Terms and Conditions of Employment

The Project Assistant Professor and Project Research Staff Member(s) for each program will be employed and directly paid by the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS). After the employment, a "secondment agreement" will be made between the NAOJ and the university where the PI belongs.

If the PI is transferred to any other university or institute, the Project Assistant Professor and Project Research Staff Member(s) will be transferred together with the PI. However,

  • If the new university or institute cannot accept the Research Grant or does not meet the requirements of the program (e.g. institutions abroad), the Project Assistant Professor or Project Research Staff Member(s) of this program will continue their research at the NAOJ ALMA Project Science team (Mitaka, Tokyo). At that time, the program will be terminated and the remaining Research Grant will be used by the ALMA Project to support the researcher's work.
  • If the new university or institute cannot accept the already hired Project Assistant Professor or Project Research Staff Member(s) for this program, or in the case the PI joins NAOJ, researchers will continue their research at the NAOJ ALMA Project Science team (Mitaka, Tokyo). At that time, the program may continue but new hiring will not be possible. The PI will be required to continue work with the already hired researcher in order to fulfill the program requirements and to financially support the work of the researcher by the Grant. The program will be terminated if the researcher resigns before the end of the period of employment.
  • In both cases above, the researcher's supervisor in NAOJ will be the ALMA Project Scientist and performance will be evaluated considering the original program goals (1 or more ALMA Proposals and 1 or more research papers per year for a Project Research Staff Member, 2 or more ALMA Proposals and 2 or more research papers per year for a Project Assistant Professor)

In principle, the discretionary working system for professional work will be applied to the Project Assistant Professor and Project Research Staff Member(s) for this program.

After the proposal has been accepted, a "joint research agreement" will be signed between the NAOJ and the university where the PI belongs so that the research grant for this program will be allocated to the university. Note that additional fee for late-night/holiday shifts will be paid from the operating budget of the university or within the research grant for this project allocated to the university. Any costs related to the execution of this program (e.g. business trip to the NAOJ, mailing costs, etc.) should be paid from the operating budget of the university or within the research grant for this program. No additional payment will be made by the NAOJ in any case.


Qualification

Proposers must be researchers working at universities in Japan. Applicants of any nationality are welcome to apply.


How to Apply (Application Documents and Others)

Fill in the following information on the Application Form: (1) Research theme; (2) Purpose of research; (3) Research plan and methods; (4) Research papers and other past achievements; (5) Confirmation of disclosure of your name (and other information) with seal or electronic signature; (6) Confirmation of prior approval to accept staff members assigned to the ALMA Joint Scientific Research Program with signature of the dean of the faculty or someone in a higher position (in the field A) and of the administrative manager (in the field B); and (7) Confirmation of the terms and conditions on the secondment of staff member(s) assigned for the program, which should be described by the person in charge of administration at the university where the proposer belongs. The Application Form should be sent by e-mail and its original copy should be sent by post to the submission address below.

Submission Address

2-21-1 Osawa, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-8588, JAPAN
National Institute of Natural Sciences (NINS)
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ)
ALMA Project
To the persons in charge of the ALMA Joint Scientific Research Program
E-mail address: alma-grant_atmark_alma.mtk.nao.ac.jp (Replace_atmark_by @)


Deadline

August 15, 2019 17:00 (JST)
* Application documents should be submitted either by e-mail or by post to the address above by the deadline.


Notification of Selection Result

Selection result will be notified in early September, 2019


Performance Review

An interim performance report must be submitted within 18 months from the start of the program. A review will be made based on the report. If the requirements are not fully satisfied, the funding may be suspended even before the scheduled end of the program. For Category (B), or extraordinarily for (a)-2, an extension of two more years will be determined depending on the review result. The review result will be notified within 3 months after the submission of the interim performance report. The PI is required to submit a final report, upon completion of the project.


Requirements in the Announcement of Call for Applications for Researchers

The NAOJ ALMA Project invites applications for a Project Assistant Professor position and Project Research Staff Member position(s) to carry out the research theme entitled "□□□□" using ALMA observation data (including ALMA archive data). Under the supervision of Professor ○○○○, the proposer of the research theme adopted for this program, the successful candidate for a Project Assistant Professor position or Project Research Staff Member position(s) will carry out the research of □□□□ and submit ALMA proposals actively devoting their working hours fully to this task. As deliverables of the research activities, it is required to publish one or more papers (two or more for Project Assistant Professor) in journals and submit one or more ALMA proposals (two or more for Project Assistant Professor), plus it is also required to supervise and support students' research who are dealing with this research theme.

Also, the announcement of the call for applications should include the following requirements:

  • In □□□, fill in a research theme, and if necessary, provide a link to a website.
  • In ○○○○, fill in the name of the proposer of the ALMA Joint Scientific Research Program.
  • Employment contracts will be renewed annually except the first one that will remain in effect for 2 years. Depending on the review results, there will be possible extension of one more year for Category (A) or extension of one or three years for Category (B).
  • It should be explicitly stated that if a candidate has an employment record by NINS after April 1, 2013, the total period of employment (after April 1, 2013) may not exceed 10 years. In this case, the period of employment for the new position will be limited to the remaining years up to 10 years.
  • It should be explicitly stated that employees will be entitled to commuting allowance (within limit) and have obligations to pay the health insurance (by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Mutual Aid Association), pension insurance (employees' pension), employment insurance, and workers' compensation insurance.
  • It should be explicitly stated that the approval of the NAOJ Advisory Committee for Research and Management will be required prior to the appointment of a Project Assistant Professor for this ALMA Joint Scientific Research Program.
  • It should be explicitly stated that the approval of the NAOJ Fixed-Term Employee Selection Committee will be required prior to the appointment of a Project Research Staff Member for this ALMA Joint Scientific Research Program.
  • It should be explicitly stated that if the proposer of the adopted research theme is transferred to other universities or institutes that are not able to accept a Project Assistant Professor or Project Research Staff Member(s) for this program, they will continue the research at the NAOJ (Mitaka, Tokyo). Also it should be explicitly stated that if the proposer is transferred to the NAOJ or other institutions where the researcher cannot follow the PI, the employment is terminated at the end of the employment contract at that time without extension.
  • It should be explicitly stated that a Project Assistant Professor or Project Research Staff Member(s) employed for this ALMA Joint Scientific Research Program are allowed to seek for external funds such as Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI) at the discretion of the NAOJ ALMA Project as long as such external funds are in accordance with the research theme being implemented within the framework of the ALMA Joint Scientific Research Program.

Selection of Project Assistant Professor and Project Research Staff Member

The Selection Committee consists of up to 5 members. The PI of the accepted proposal will serve as a chair of the committee, which should include some members appointed by the NAOJ ALMA Project. A selection report will be prepared by the chair and submitted to the NAOJ ALMA Project. The final decision for the selection will be made after the review by the NAOJ Fixed-Term Employee Selection Committee for the selection of a Project Research Staff Member, or after deliberations at the NAOJ Advisory Committee for Research and Management for the selection of a Project Assistant Professor.


Allocation and Use of Research Grant

The amount of the research grant for the first and final fiscal years will be determined on a pro-rata basis. Research grant for the first fiscal year will be allocated approximately a month after the commencement of the program. Research grant thereafter will be provided annually around the end of June.

  • Note 1: For Category (B), it is possible that the date of employment of the first and second hired researchers will not be the same. The date of the first hiring will determine the start of the Program.
  • Note 2: Late-night/holiday shifts should only be carried out on request. Works should be done in consultation with the NAOJ ALMA Project to see if the works are considered as late-night/holiday shifts. Any costs related to late-night/holiday work must be paid from the operating budget of the university or within the research grant for this program. No additional payment will be made by the NAOJ in any case.
  • Note 3: Since the purpose of this program is purely to promote academic research, no extra funding to cover overhead costs will be allocated to the research grant.

Publication of Research Results

The Project Assistant Professor or Project Research Staff Member(s) employed by NINS for this ALMA Joint Scientific Research Program will be assigned to: 1) the university where the proposer belongs, and 2) NAOJ. Therefore, it is required to explicitly mention "NAOJ" as an affiliation in published papers.

Also, the following phrase must be included in the Acknowledgments of any and all papers and reports on the research results produced by this ALMA Joint Scientific Research Program: "This work was supported by NAOJ ALMA Scientific Research Grant Number YYYY-NNN."

If this phrase is missing, such papers and reports will not be deemed as a result of this program. Please follow every specified rule so as not to cause any negative impact on the continued operation of this program by any malicious conduct in implementing the program.


Contact

ALMA Project Scientist - Daisuke Iono
ALMA Project Manager - Alvaro Gonzalez
Email: alma-grant_atmark_alma.mtk.nao.ac.jp (Replace "_atmark_" by @)


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