Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Exoplanet Discovery with the PLATO Mission

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 20 Feb 2023

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Exoplanet Discovery with the PLATO Mission.

The post is available initially for a fixed-term duration of 2 years, with the possibility of extension for a further year.

Oxford Astrophysics invite applications for a PDRA to work with prof S Aigrain on the preparation of the European Space Agency’s PLATO mission, focusing mainly on the impact of instrumental systematics and stellar variability on the detection and characterisation of transiting exoplanets.

PLATO, due for launch in 2026, will discover thousands of planets transiting bright stars, including habitable planets, and will probe the internal structure of the host stars using asteroseismology. The successful candidate will work closely with Prof S Aigrain, her research group, and collaborators at other PLATO Mission Consortium (PMC) institutes, contributing to both the PSM (PMC Science Management) and the PDC (PMC Data Processing) efforts. They will help define, test and implement algorithms to correct instrumental systematics, detrend individual light curves and search for transits. They will also have the opportunity to work with other members of Prof Aigrain’s group on the discovery and characterisation of exoplanets with current facilities. The post-holder will be expected to participate in regular PLATO team meetings and telecons, to write scientific articles, technical notes, software and software definition documents, and to promote the mission and their research at international conferences. The PDRA will join a diverse, dynamic and supportive research group working on a range of topics related to exoplanet observations, in a world-class institution sporting a strong astrophysics and exoplanet community.

Applicants should possess, or be close to obtaining a doctorate in astrophysics or a related field and ideally a background in exoplanet or stellar observations.

Previous experience in the field of transiting exoplanet discovery and characterisation will be an advantage, as will participation in large, collaborative software development projects.

Candidates are expected to demonstrate excellent coding abilities, communication skills, and the ability to work well in a team.

The post-holder will have the opportunity to teach and supervise undergraduate research projects.

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