National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS
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Postdoctoral Fellowship in exoplanet observations with CHEOPS

The Theoretical Astrophysics and Planetary Science Group (led by Prof. Willy Benz and Yann Alibert) and the SAINT-EX research group (led by Prof. Brice-Olivier Demory) both at the University of Bern, Switzerland, seek qualified candidates for a Postdoctoral position in CHEOPS exoplanet observations.

The Characterising ExoPlanets Satellite (CHEOPS) is a joint mission between ESA and Switzerland to be launched during the second half of 2019. ESA’s Science Programme has selected CHEOPS in 2012 as the first small mission (S-mission) in its Programme. The goal of the CHEOPS mission is to characterise the structure of exoplanets with typical sizes ranging from Neptune down to Earth diameters orbiting bright star. This will be achieved by measuring high-precision photometric sequences to detect variation in the stellar brightness induced by a transiting planet. For details about the mission’s science goals and technical implementation, see the CHEOPS website at

The successful applicant will hold a PhD in astrophysics with previous expertise in ground- and/or space-based exoplanet observations (data reduction, analysis and scheduling). The Fellow will be expected to contribute to the search and characterisation of transiting exoplanets using CHEOPS. The successful applicant will also be expected to conduct competitive research programmes in exoplanets. She/he will also have privileged access to CHEOPS GTO data by collaboration with CHEOPS science team members. In addition, the successful applicant will benefit from interactions with researchers from the Centre for Space and Habitability (e.g. Prof. Christoph Mordasini, see and with members of the NCCR PlanetS (see

This Postdoctoral Fellowship is for 2 years, with possible extension up to two years depending on results. The annual salary is between 75,000 and 97,000 CHF, depending upon experience (years after Ph.D) and is set by a predetermined matrix from the University and Canton of Bern. Child allowance and maternity/paternity leave are offered. According to local regulations, funding for Postdoctoral position is possible only until five years after the PhD defense.

Each prospective candidate will submit a research proposal with a maximum length of 5 pages. The candidate will use a maximum of 3 pages to explain her/his existing research expertise and interests performed either during the PhD or previous postdoctoral position(s). Additional application materials include a 2-page CV, a list of peer-reviewed publications (no page limit) and a cover letter (1 page) listing the names of 3 referees/references.

The entire application should be submitted as a single PDF file to Mrs Janine Jungo ( by the application deadline of 30 January 2019. Applications sent as multiple files will not be processed.  Please state « Postdoctoral Fellowship in exoplanet observations with CHEOPS » as the title of your email.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that three letters of recommendation are sent directly and separately to Mrs Janine Jungo by the letter writers themselves.

The starting date of the position is negotiable, but preferentially not later than 30th September 2019.

For inquiries about the job, contact Brice-Olivier Demory ( and Yann Alibert (

Categories: Archive of previous job ads (do not apply)

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