PhD Studentships

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Department: Institute for Astronomy
City: Edinburgh
Country: Scotland/United Kingdom
Contact Person: PG Research Physics
Contact Email: [email protected]
Institution: University of Edinburgh
Application Due Date: Sunday, January 08 2023
Web Link:

We offer PhD projects on topics ranging from cosmology, galaxy formation, exoplanets, and the solar system; using observational, theoretical, and computational methods. On our project webpages, you can find descriptions of all projects on offer as well as videos from the PhD supervisors.

The Institute for Astronomy (IfA) is one of three major components of the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh, located at the historic and beautiful Royal Observatory Edinburgh site on Blackford Hill.

Each year the IfA admits a new cohort of ~10 PhD students from around the UK and the world. We are now accepting applications for admission in September 2023. The IfA is committed to advancing equality and diversity, welcoming applications from everyone irrespective of gender, age, (dis)ability, race, nationality, carer status, religion or belief, and sexual orientation. Our aim is to ensure that our culture and systems support flexible and family-friendly working. We encourage all qualified applicants to apply for our places.

To apply, you will submit a 1-page anonymous form where you briefly share information about your research experience and academic preparation. Details on how to apply are given in detail here:

In order for your application to be given full consideration for one of our funded places, it should be received by the deadline of 8th January 2023.

Planetary Sciences Postdoctoral Researcher

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Current state: Approved and Notify DPS Secretary
Department: Applied Computational Physics, Verification and Analysis Group
City: Los Alamos
State/Province: NM
Country: USA
Contact Person: Cathy Plesko
Contact Email: [email protected]
Institution: Los Alamos National Laboratory
Application Due Date: Wednesday, June 01 2022
Web Link:

Join our team and become a planetary defender! The XCP-8 (Applied Computational Physics, Verification and Analysis) group at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) seeks a post-doctoral candidate in the area of numerical modeling for planetary sciences, with an emphasis on continuum-scale modeling of bolides, airbursts, and their atmospheric effects, using radiation hydrodynamics codes and high-performance computing resources, to model airbursts like the 1908 Tunguska event and the 2014 Chelyabinsk event. This work will be done as a part of the LANL Planetary Defense team, under the mentorship of Dr. Cathy Plesko and Dr. Mark Boslough. A successful candidate will test, verify, and validate (as appropriate) relevant physics models and may extend, develop, and/or implement needed physics models within the Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) code base in order to carry out the airburst simulations. The successful candidate will be expected to work in a team environment, to test computational physics models in large production software, publish the research in peer-reviewed journals, and present work at international conferences.

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Planetary Science

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Current state: Approved and Notify DPS Secretary
Department: Physics Department
City: Annapolis
State/Province: MD
Country: USA
Contact Person: Matthew Knight
Contact Email: [email protected]
Institution: U.S. Naval Academy
Application Due Date: Tuesday, March 01 2022
Web Link:

Applications are invited for a position as a postdoctoral
Assistant Research Professor in planetary science at the U.S. Naval
Academy (USNA) Physics Department in support of Assistant Professor
Matthew Knight, to begin as early as Spring 2022. The successful
applicant will lead analyses of comets observed with heliophysics
assets and will assist in observational support and analyses of NASA’s
Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). The position will involve
collaboration with colleagues at the Naval Research Laboratory,
University of Maryland, and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory, and may require travel to obtain new observations in Chile
and/or Flagstaff, AZ. The successful candidate will also be encouraged
to pursue research of their own choosing.

This is a federal excepted service position with a one-year initial
appointment and the possibility of renewing for an additional year.
For additional information on the position and how to apply, please

Applications will be reviewed beginning March 1, 2022 and the position
will remain open until filled.

Applied Data Scientist

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Current state: Approved and Notify DPS Secretary
Department: IPAC
City: Pasadena
State/Province: CA
Country: USA
Institution: Caltech
Application Due Date: Tuesday, February 01 2022
Web Link:

IPAC at the California Institute of Technology is soliciting applications for an Applied Data Scientist to work on the Near Earth Object (NEO) Surveyor program. NEO Surveyor is a NASA Planetary Defense mission that will launch in early 2026. The NEO Surveyor observatory consists of a passively cooled 50 cm telescope located at Sun-Earth L1 equipped with a wide-field camera that will image the sky simultaneously in two mid-infrared bands. Operations will be optimized to detect, track, and characterize Near Earth Objects (NEOs) and more distant small bodies in the solar system. NEO Surveyor will detect approximately 100,000 Main Belt Asteroids, NEOs, and comets each day against a background of tens of millions of distant stars and galaxies.

IPAC is developing and will operate the Survey Data System (NSDS) for NEO Surveyor that ingests raw data from the flight system, processes those data into calibrated image and source detection products, performs automated searches for moving solar system objects, assesses the quality of the survey data, and distributes data products to NASA archives and the user community. The NSDS will make use of machine learning based automated classifiers in several key steps including differentiation between real and spurious detections of moving object candidates, identification of reliable moving object tracklet candidates, and identification of comet candidates in the moving object detection stream.

Postdoc Researcher, Laboratory Analysis Presolar Grains

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Current state: Approved and Notify DPS Secretary
City: Houston
State/Province: TX
Country: USA
Contact Person: Lisa Gaddis
Contact Email: [email protected]
Institution: USRA / NASA
Application Due Date: Tuesday, March 01 2022
Web Link:

Applicants are invited for a postdoctoral fellowship at the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division at NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) while also being an employee of the Universities Space Research Association’s (USRA) Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), both in Houston, Texas. Fellows will enjoy access to all of JSC’s laboratories and analytical instruments on the same basis as scientific staff.

The Fellowship in the field of astromaterials research involves the study of the origins, isotopic and elemental compositions, structure, and evolution of presolar grains identified in meteorites, interplanetary dust, asteroids, and comets. The Fellow will perform NanoSIMS analyses of presolar grains and will be encouraged to coordinate these analyses with focused ion beam (FIB)-assisted transmission electron microscope (TEM) mineral characterization. The isotopic properties of presolar grains provides remarkable insight into astrophysical processes while their mineralogies allow us to understand dust condensation in stellar atmospheres and subsequent alteration in various environments. Understanding their origins and histories is intimately linked with understanding the origin of the Solar System.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Study of Solar System Small Bodies

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Current state: Approved and Notify DPS Secretary
Department: Astrophysics Research Centre
City: Belfast
Country: UK
Contact Person: Meg Schwamb
Contact Email: [email protected]
Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Application Due Date: Wednesday, October 13 2021
Web Link:

Applications are invited for a 2-year Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Astrophysics Research Centre (ARC) at Queen’s University Belfast.  The successful applicant will work with Dr. Meg Schwamb to develop and exploit next-generation tools for analysing and interpreting future Solar System moving object detections from the Vera C. Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). Rubin Observatory science operations are planned to begin around mid-2024, with the survey expected to discover millions of asteroids and tens of thousands of distant Solar System planetesimals.  This post will focus on developing software pipelines and utilities for LSST Solar System science and applying these techniques to present-day LSST-precursor datasets, including the development of a pipeline to discover distant Solar System bodies beyond ~100 au that are not expected to be discoverable by the main Rubin Observatory Solar System Processing pipeline.

To read the full details and to apply, visit:
Application Deadline:  October 13, 2021

ARC website:

Assistant Lecturer with Tenure Track

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Current state: Approved and Notify DPS Secretary
Department: Astronomical Institute
City: Bern
Country: Switzerland
Contact Person: Adrian Jäggi
Contact Email: [email protected]
Institution: University of Bern
Application Due Date: Sunday, August 01 2021
Web Link:

The Astronomical Institute (AIUB, of the University of Bern in Switzerland invites applications for an assistant lecturer with tenure track.


Our institute

The AIUB is focusing its research on fundamental astronomy (including classical positional astronomy and celestial mechanics), space geodesy, and space debris search and monitoring. Towards these research aims we combine observational skills and theoretical work within two research groups focusing on space geodesy and optical astronomy. A strong emphasis is put on the operation and further development of the Swiss Optical Ground Station and Geodynamics Observatory (SwissOGS) in Zimmerwald. With currently six telescopes optical and laser observations to artificial satellites are performed at SwissOGS in 24/7 operations in the frame of various international collaborations. The unique combination of observational and theoretical work allows the AIUB to regularly participate or coordinate projects funded by ESA, Horizon 2020, and other sources.


Your profile

The AIUB is aiming to initiate an early succession for the position of the SwissOGS director, who will retire in 2025. We therefore are looking for candidates with strong expertise in optical astronomy (space debris objects or small bodies in the planetary system) or space geodesy (in particular satellite laser ranging) to build up a strong successor who will ensure a smooth transition of the directorship in 2025 and successfully lead the SwissOGS into the future. Candidates should have a visionary research plan and strong teaching interests.

Candidates must hold a PhD degree and must have demonstrated their excellence in their corresponding expertise. The anticipated research at AIUB should lead to a habilitation or equivalent qualification.


Your position

The new assistant lecturer with tenure track will lead the team at the SwissOGS in Zimmerwald, ensure smooth operations of the SwissOGS, and initiate independent research to further develop and exploit the opportunities offered by the SwissOGS. He/she will supervise Bachelor and Master theses, co-supervise Ph.D. theses, and teach courses in astronomy at the Bachelor level. Since at the University of Bern teaching at the Bachelor level is conducted in German, non-German speaking candidates are expected to acquire a working knowledge of German within the first two years of appointment.

It is expected that the successful candidate applies for third party funding. Assistant lecturers will be promoted to lecturers (permanent lecturer position) after successful evaluation (typically after 3-4 years). With the promotion the candidate will also become director of the SwissOGS. On a mid-term perspective, the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University of Bern gives lecturers the possibility to obtain the title of “Assoziierter Professor” (honorary professorship).


Your application

Please submit your application by email to [email protected] as a single PDF file including a short motivation letter, CV, list of publications and a two-page summary of past, current and future research. Please also indicate three references. The deadline for receipt of applications is August 1, 2021 . The University of Bern is an equal opportunity employer and women are strongly encouraged to apply.


Postdoctoral Research Associate in Planetary Sciences

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Current state: Approved and Notify DPS Secretary
Department: Astronomy
City: College Park
State/Province: Maryland
Country: USA
Contact Person: Tony Farnham / Jessica Sunshine
Contact Email: [email protected]
Institution: University of Maryland
Application Due Date: Tuesday, May 18 2021

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Planetary Sciences

The Small Bodies Group in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Maryland, College Park invites applications for up to two Postdoctoral Research Associate positions to work with Tony Farnham and Jessica Sunshine on studies involving the composition and evolution of small bodies in the Solar System.  Specific topics of interest include:

  • Sublimation processes and modeling to investigate the evolution of cometary surfaces.
  • Modeling and/or simulation of granular flows in microgravity environments.
  • Mapping the distribution of organics on Ceres.

Desired skills include experience with the reduction and analysis of spacecraft imaging and spectral data, development and execution of computer simulations, knowledge of spectroscopy, and/or experience in interpreting morphologic features.

The UMD Small Bodies Group specializes in remote sensing observations, both ground-based and space-based, and theoretical modeling, primarily of comets, asteroids, and the Moon. Our group has been involved with multiple spacecraft missions and instrument teams, including Deep Impact, EPOXI, Chandrayaan-1, Dawn, Rosetta, Stardust NExT, Lucy and DART. We are also at the forefront in using current and upcoming facilities to study small bodies, including JWST, TESS, LSST, LDT and numerous other ground-based observatories. UMD also operates the Small Bodies Node of NASA’s Planetary Data System, which maintains all mission data related to small bodies in the Solar System.

Candidates for this position should have a Ph.D. in Physics, Astronomy, Planetary Science or a related field, which must be obtained by the time of the start date.  We recognize that strength comes through diversity and actively seek and welcome candidates with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and identities. We encourage women and minority candidates to apply.

Those interested in applying should send a CV, a short statement (no more than 2 pages) of research goals and their experience related to the above topics and arrange for three letters of reference to be sent electronically to: [email protected].  The positions will remain open until filled.

The appointment(s) will be for two years with a possible third year extension based on performance and funding availability. Requests for additional information should be sent to [email protected].

The University of Maryland, College Park, an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action; all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment. The University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, physical or mental disability, protected veteran status, age, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, creed, marital status, political affiliation, personal appearance, or on the basis of rights secured by the First Amendment, in all aspects of employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.