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

3 PhD positions – TAPS UniBe

We are seeking qualified candidates to fill three 4-year PhD positions in exoplanet science in the research group of Yann Alibert and Willy Benz (University of Bern).
The PhD positions are part of the TAPS (Theoretical Astrophysics and Planetary Science) group of the University of Bern and frequent interactions are foreseen with the
Center for Space and Habitability (University of Bern) researchers as well as with the National Center of Competence in Research PlanetS.
PlanetS is a large national framework in Switzerland that unifies Swiss efforts in planetary and exoplanetary science across Bern, Geneva, and Zurich.
Additional informations on our research group, the CSH and the NCCR can be found using the links provided below.

The ideal candidates have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in physics, astrophysics, planetary sciences or equivalent. They should be enthusiastic, tenacious, communicative,
and willing to integrate into the teams in Bern (TAPS and CSH) and more generally in the Swiss landscape of PlanetS. The research work consists of a combination of numerical modeling(developing and running computer codes mostly in Fortran and python) and analytical work.

The scientific goals of the three PhD projects span a variety of Projects in Planetary Science and in particular aim at:
• studying the correlation between the internal structure of exoplanets orbiting the same star, using CHEOPS observations.
CHEOPS is an ESA satellite successfully launched in December 2019 (P.I. Willy Benz). For this project, the PhD candidate will be working in close collaboration with members of the CHEOPS science team.
• developing population synthesis models (known as the Bern model to improve the description of the disk of planetesimals. This project will involve building up on existing models of planetesimal growth and dynamical evolution, and studying the effect of these processes on the population of exoplanets.
• studying the formation of planetary systems taking into account the accretion of pebbles and planetesimals, following the scenario proposed in Alibert et al. (2018, Nature Astronomy). This project will involve combining existing models of planet formation by pebble accretion and by planetesimal accretion in a single framework.

The formal employment will be for 4 years at the University of Bern. There will be a standard first year of probation.
The annual salary is set by a predetermined matrix from the Swiss National Fund. Child allowance and maternity/paternity leave are offered.
There are ample funds for travel, publications and computers. The successful candidate will participate in group meetings, journal clubs, and research discussions, attend seminars and colloquia, interact with research visitors, travel to conferences, etc., both in Bern and in the NCCR PlanetS.
The start date is expected to be fall 2020, and is negotiable.

To apply, please send a motivation letter including a personal statement (maximum 1 page), a CV (maximum 2 pages), a list of publications (if applicable), transcripts of your grades of courses obtained during your bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and a cover letter (1 page).
The entire application should be submitted as a single pdf file to Yann Alibert (
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that furthermore, 2-3 letters of recommendation are sent directly by the letter writers to Y. Alibert, by the application deadline of July 30, 2020.

The university of Bern is an equal opportunity employer, and we specially encourage the application of female researchers.

NCCR Project
NCCR Website
CSH Website

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

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