National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS
Gesellschaftsstrasse 6 | 3012 Bern | Switzerland
  +41 31 684 32 39

PhD Position – University of Bern

The CSH is a multi-disciplinary center for scientists working on the formation, detection and characterization of other worlds, the definition of life and our search for it elsewhere in the Universe. It is home to astronomers, atmospheric, climate and planetary researchers, geologists and geophysicists, biologists, chemists and philosophers.

Full-time, 4 years
47 000 – 50 000CHF per year (Brutto, as set by the SNSF)
Full package of social benefits included
Starting date: between November 1st, 2018 and April 30th, 2019

Under the guidance of Dr. Maria Drozdovskaya, a PhD research project is available, which aims to understand the chemical processes that link the different stages of star and planet formation, and that determine the composition of forming cometary and planetary embryos. The insights gained during this project will enhance our understanding of the early history of our Solar System. The work is funded by a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Ambizione grant (PI: Drozdovskaya) entitled “The Planetary Cookbook: Chemical Composition of Volatiles and Refractories from Star-Forming Regions to Comets and Planetesimals”.

Primary features of the project include:
• theoretical physicochemical modelling work,
• possibility of working with observational data from, e.g., ALMA, JWST,
• active participation in the scientific life of the CSH,
• exposure to the largest group of planetary scientists in the world via associate membership in the NCCR PlanetS (,
• sufficient funds for participation in national and international conferences, and collaborator visits.

Must-haves of candidates are a Master-level degree (or analog) in quantitative science or engineering (e.g., astronomy, physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science or a related field) by the starting date; and competence in spoken and written English.

Nice-to-haves of candidates are programming experience, and exposure to at least basic astronomy. However, applications from students in other fields of quantitative science or engineering that are interested in learning astronomy are very welcomed.

Work-life balance is important; and the Canton of Bern offers 5 weeks of vacation per year (excluding national and cantonal holidays). The CSH is dedicated to equal opportunities, geographical and gender balance, and inclusivity.

Applicants should send all application materials in one PDF file to by the deadline of November 1st, 2018. Note that applications are considered on a rolling basis, implying that the position may be filled earlier or that late applications may also receive partial consideration. A complete application consists of:
• cover letter (max. 1 page),
• curriculum vitae (CV),
• personal statement detailing, but not limited to: past research experience and the skills obtained; reasons for pursuing a 4-year PhD in general and this research project in specific; aspirations for the future (max. 2 pages),
• full list and transcripts (grades) of all university-level courses (Bachelor- and Master-level) and a translated version, if not in English, German, French, Russian or Dutch (notarized translation is not needed),
• up-to-date contact information of two references that may be contacted for a reference letter.

Any questions can be addressed to:
Dr. Maria N. Drozdovskaya; email:; telephone: +41 31 631 34 43



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