HEAD High Energy Astrophysics Division


Newsletter No. 99, December 2011

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15. A New Approach to Data Analysis Help
Data Analysis and Reduction Team (DARTS)


The Data Analysis and Reduction Team (DARTs) is a freelance, contract-based exchange for astronomers and astrophysicists, connecting analysts with astronomers who need specialized data analysis. DARTs supplies experienced astronomers to perform data analysis that full-time principal investigators cannot perform, due to budget, experience, and time constraints, while offering short-term work for postdocs or Master's-degree astronomers. Our goal is to provide a service to the astronomical community while providing short term employment for early career astronomers and others who may be between long term positions. This group is planning to launch in January, 2012.

Currently, astronomers typically hire either a full-time postdoc or an undergraduate to assist in data reduction, or find a collaborator familiar with the data. While these options are valid, all of these choices can be inefficient for a PI with a small (< $100,000) grant.Hiring a postdoc requires a full-time salary plus overhead, while hiring an undergrad requires a large investment in training. Working with collaborators is always an attractive option, but may take time while the collaborator finishes other projects first. DARTs would help ease these issues by providing an experienced analyst, with little to nolearning curve for the data reduction, as a part-time contractor. DARTs is a service of Eureka Scientific Inc., an organization that has managed research contracts since 1992 and is known for its low overhead rates.

We are issuing a call for both analysts and scientists with short term projects who are interested in our services. This is a call for astronomers with experience in data analysis in any wavelength regime and are interested in working as part of DARTs. In addition, we are also interested in contacting astronomers with small grants who may take advantage of DARTs services.

For more information on the DARTs program, please contact Nancy RA. Wolk at darts@eurekasci.com .

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