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2 Postdoctoral Associate positions on exoplanet atmosphere modelling

Applications are invited for two Postdoctoral Associate positions at the Department of Astronomy of the University of Geneva, working on exoplanet atmospheres in the research group led by Dr. Vincent Bourrier. The two positions are fully funded on the ERC project SPICE DUNE (SpectroPhotometric Inquiry of Close-in Exoplanets around the Desert to Understand their Nature and Evolution), with an initial duration of two years and a possible extension for a third year, depending on performance.

Position 1 is focused on developing models of upper atmospheres for hot gas-dominated planets. The main goal is the interpretation and prediction of atmospheric escape signatures in high-resolution spectroscopic data. The successful applicant will work with available HST ultraviolet data, ground-based visible and near-infrared data, and will have access to Guaranteed Time Observations of the NIRPS spectrograph (ESO/VLT), in which the Department of Astronomy is deeply involved.

Position 2 is focused on the study of ultra-short period (USP) small rocky planets. The successful applicant will mainly work on the development of models describing the envelope structure and escape from these objects. They will further collaborate with local experts to improve internal structure models for USP rocky planets, and to develop dedicated tools to search for and analyze their signatures in space-based photometry. The University of Geneva hosts the CHEOPS Science Operations Centre and the mission Project Science Office, and the successful applicant will contribute to the interpretation of CHEOPS data.

Setting: The Geneva Observatory offers one of the most vibrant environments worldwide for exoplanet research. The exoplanet team ( counts over 50 members, currently including 10 faculty members, 12 postdoctoral researchers, 15 PhD students, and 14 project staff members. Research topics include exoplanet detection and characterisation (atmospheres, interiors), planetary system dynamics, and instrumentation. Team members are directly involved in a large number of projects, including photometric instruments (CHEOPS, NGTS, TESS, PLATO), high-resolution spectrographs (ESPRESSO, NIRPS, HARPS, and others), direct imaging (SPHERE@VLT) and astrometry (GAIA). The exoplanet team is also part of PlanetS (, a Swiss research network focused on exoplanetary science, which includes ~130 scientists from the Universities of Geneva, Bern, Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ). The successful applicants will be able to take advantage of this unique collaborative framework. The University of Geneva is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity.

Start date: is flexible, with a targeted start in September 2021 but no later than December 2021.
Salary: ~81,000 CHF/year gross salary, according to rules of the University and Canton of Geneva.
Deadline: Applications received until 14 March 2021 will receive full consideration. Later applications will be reviewed until the positions are filled.
Requirements: A PhD degree in astrophysics or in any of the fields related to the proposed topics, completed by the start of the position. For both positions, expertise in exoplanets, atmospheric modeling, and radiative transfer codes is desired. Experience in particle and/or hydrodynamical codes, as well as photochemistry, would be a plus. Additional knowledge in high-resolution transmission spectroscopy (for position 1), and in dust physics/opacity, time-series photometry, interior models (for position 2) would also be valued. The successful applicants will become part of an active team with a wide range of expertises. We especially look for team players with a high level of autonomy and scientific creativity.

Any inquiries can be emailed to vincent.bourrier[at] The following application materials should be sent to this address in a single PDF:
– A curriculum vitae (2 pages).
– A cover letter (1 page), indicating which position the application refers to.
– A short research statement describing past achievements and future projects (max. 2 pages)
– A list of publications
Two letters of recommendation should be sent directly to Dr. Vincent Bourrier by the referees themselves.

Application Deadline: Sunday, March 14, 2021
Selection Deadline: Thursday, April 15, 2021

Institution/Company: University of Geneva
Department Name: Department of Astronomy
Street Line 1: Chemin Pegasi 51
City: Versoix
State/Province: Geneva
Zip/Postal: 1290
Country: Switzerland

Attention To: Vincent Bourrier
Email: vincent.bourrier[at]
Categories: Archive of previous job ads (do not apply)

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