Social Science Announcement


The LSST Corporation (LSSTC) announces a call for applications for postdoctoral fellows who will design and conduct social scientific, interdisciplinary, or humanistic research related to the Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). Up to two positions will begin on or around September 1, 2023. These LSSTC Catalyst Fellowships, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, also support cohorts of astrophysics postdocs working to realize the full potential of the Rubin Observatory (Chile). The social science fellowships support early-career scholars who will use a variety of methods to study social aspects of this large scale and innovative scientific endeavor such as: how collaboration and co-publishing networks evolve; how interdisciplinary research is conducted and received; how original contributions are jointly developed; how gender, race, and other sociodemographic features influence scientific practice and mentoring; and how scientific practices are evolving with new, big, and open datasets. 

Applicants can propose to work at any eligible LSSTC member institution ( and identify a faculty site supervisor of their choice. In addition, each fellow will also be supported by a larger mentorship committee consisting of social scientists and astrophysicists who are part of the LSST community. 


The term of the fellowship is up to three years. The starting stipend for all Catalyst Fellows in 2023 is US$72,100 per year. 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 fringe benefits as well as a research budget of up to US$15,000 per year. 


The goal of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory project is to conduct the 10-year Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). LSST will deliver a 500 petabyte set of images and data products that will address some of the most pressing questions about the structure and evolution of the universe and the objects in it. It provides unprecedented data to astronomers, and a unique opportunity for social and computational scientists to explore how new techniques and data inform open science, data access, equity and inclusion, STEM careers, and collaboration patterns. More information is available at:


Catalyst Fellowships in the social sciences are open to English-speaking applicants of any nationality who earned their doctoral degree between January 1, 2019, and August 1, 2023, in a social science, computational/information science, or humanities field. Women and members of minority groups are strongly encouraged to apply.  All applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, creed, color, age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation or national origin. Competitive candidates will have experience studying the social dimensions of scientific work, will develop and submit a proposal for original and high quality research, will be eager to investigate the sociotechnical arrangements that produce astronomy research, and will be interested in the broader social implications of astronomical science. 


Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to register to attend a virtual “Ideas Lab” workshop about the fellowship, to take place on October 6, 2022 from 10:00am-1:00pm Pacific Daylight Savings Time. This online informational and networking event is designed to help applicants learn more about the Fellowship, meet the Rubin LSST community, connect with the Senior Social Science team (see:, and think about the research they would be interested in conducting as an LSSTC Catalyst Fellow.   The event is not mandatory and is intended to help applicants craft strong applications by enabling social science postdoc candidates to learn more about the Rubin LSST project and the fellowship.  The first hour of the Ideas Lab, consisting of informational presentations, will be recorded and posted to the LSSTC website at a later date.  For more information, and to register, go to:

Please send any further inquiries about the Fellowship or application process to: fellows at lists dot lsst dot org.

Selection Criteria for evaluating applications can be found here:


Applicants should submit a research statement, community impact statement, CV, and list of references. Additionally, applicants must specify a desired host institution ( and submit a pro forma letter of support from their prospective site supervisor at that institution. Detailed application instructions are available at: This submission portal will likely open in mid-October 2022, after the Ideas Lab virtual networking event. The application deadline is January 15, 2023. 


LSSTC Catalyst Fellows in the social sciences will be uniquely situated to take advantage of the following opportunities and benefits:  

  1. Academic freedom to propose an independent research agenda.

  2. A front row seat to important developments in the organization of astronomical research and production of knowledge about the universe.

  3. Research budget of up to US$15,000 per year.

  4. Time to work on projects unrelated to the fellow’s primary, LSST-focused research (e.g. producing publications from doctoral thesis, sustaining collaborations from ongoing prior work).

  5. Participation in a cross-disciplinary fellowship program that also includes astronomers. Please review information on the LSSTC Catalyst Fellowship astronomy postdocs to understand the expectations and structure of those positions:

  6. Access to a community of study eager to work with and learn from social scientific and humanistic researchers. We will invite all members of the LSST community, including fellows, to participate in surveys, interviews, and focus groups for research and assessment purposes.

  7. Structured mentoring along with leadership training.

  8. A large selection of potential host institutions, including some outside the US (in Brazil, Chile, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the UK).


Ideas Lab virtual workshop:
October 6, 2022 10:00am-1:00pm Pacific Daylight Savings Time (UTC-7)

Application portal opens: 
October 10, 2022

Social Science Application deadline:
January 15, 2023 (11:59pm Anywhere on Earth)

Social Science Offers made:
Around April 15, 2023

Appointments begin:
On or around September 1, 2023