PhD fellowship in astrophysics, exoplanetary science Niels Bohr Institute, Faculty of Science University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Updated: 5 months ago
Deadline: 03 Feb 2020

The Niels Bohr Institute, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering a PhD scholarship in the field of exoplanets. Application deadline is 3rd of February 2020 and start of fellowship is 1st of September 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter. The fellowship is part of the EU double degree network “CHAMELEON – virtual laboratories for Exoplanets and planet forming disks”. The specific PhD project concerns “Low-temperature chemistry for DRIFT-MARCS” and will lead to a double degree with University of Copenhagen and University of St Andrews.

Project description

Temperatures in planetary atmospheres stretches from those of cool stars to far below the freezing point of water. The MARCS stellar atmosphere code is thoroughly tested against observations for temperatures down to the coolest stars, and therefore forms a reliably starting point for the warmest exoplanets. To model medium and lower temperature exoplanets require inclusion of a lower temperature gas- and dust/cloud/rock chemistry. This project, “Low-temperature chemistry for DRIFT-MARCS”, aims at combining the experience from cool star modelling by the MARCS code (e.g. Gustafsson et al 2008, A&A 486, 951) with the low-temperature gas- and cloud chemistry from the DRIFT code (Helling et al 2016, MNRAS 460, 855; Juncher et al 2017, A&A 508, 70, Woitke et al 2018, A&A 614, A1) and the atmosphere to surface interaction (Herbort et al. 2019), in order to be able to compare 1-D equilibrium model computations with existing and coming observations of a wide range of exoplanets.

Principal supervisor isProfessor Uffe Gråe Jørgensen, Niels Bohr Institute,, Direct Phone: (+45) 61 30 66 40.

Description of the scientific environment

The project benefit from being part of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) “CHAMELEON -- Virtual Laboratories for Exoplanets and Planet Forming Disks”
( ).  The ITN combines the expertise of eight European research institutes (Universities of St Andrews, Groningen, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Leuven and Antwerp, the Max-Planck Institute in Heidelberg and the Netherlands Institute for Space Research) to cover all relevant aspects for this complex modelling task, joining the expertise in planetary atmospheres and protoplanetary disks, including observation and interpretation.  The network will consist of 15 Early Stage Researchers (PhD students) and the respective supervisors and local research groups. A description of all the 15 announced PhD fellowships of the network is listed at ( ).

This project is a double-degree project between University of Copenhagen and University of St Andrews (in Scotland). In Copenhagen, the student will be part of the active environment in the Niels Bohr Institute’s section for Astrophysics and Planetary Science, which covers aspects of exoplanet research, proto-planetary disk formation, formation of our solar system, meteorites and exploration of Mars. In St Andrews, the student will be part of the School of Physics and Astronomy’s Centre for Exoplanet Science, which leads an interdisciplinary agenda on exoplanet research ranging from exoplanet discovery and characterisation, atmosphere chemistry and thermo-chemical disk modelling, to the impact of the host star on the exoplanet system.

Job description

The position is for 4 years, consisting of a 3-year ITN PhD fellowship with ca 2.5 years in Copenhagen and ca 0.5 years in St Andrews followed by an additional 1 year of secondment at the University of St Andrews. The successful PhD applicant for this position will have to register at, and comply with the regulations of, the University of Copenhagen and the University of St Andrews, and will obtain a double degree from the two universities. The successful applicant will follow a doctoral programme which beside the standard requirements listed below will include network activities in the Chameleon PhD double degree network, personal training in management, science communication, and teaching. In Copenhagen your key tasks as a PhD student are defined as: managing and carry through your research project, attend PhD courses, write scientific articles and your PhD thesis, teach and disseminate your research.

Formal requirements

We seek an excellent student with a strong background in physics or astrophysics.  Successful candidates must hold a MSc degree or equivalent by the starting date of the position.  Previous research experience on aspects of exoplanet- or stellar atmospheres, cloud formation, analysis of astronomical spectra, and/or astro-chemistry and astro-biology, and a track record of team work/mobility will be important criteria for the selection, as will experience in computational coding (including Fortran). Note that the general eligibility and mobility rules of Marie Sklodowka-Curie Actions apply, e.g. that applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the main host institution (in this case Denmark) for more than 12 months during the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date.

Terms of employment

During the 3 years of ITN, the funding will be commensurate to the standard scale and conditions for PhD students in according to the Marie-Curie funding rules, while the 4th year will be according to UK rules.

Application Procedure

Your application package should contain (i) a CV including publication list if applicable, (ii) a statement of interest (max. one page, including a brief description of research interests and relevant experience), (iii) copies of university grades, certificates and/or diplomas, (iv) two letters of reference to be sent by the application deadline, (v) a statement that confirms that you understood the requirements of the joint degree and the Marie Sklodowska-Curie mobility criteria as outlined at .

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

The deadline for applications is 3rd of February 2020 (at 23:59 GMT+2). Applications received thereafter may be considered until the position is filled.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee, following the rules of the network.

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above mentioned skills. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD school of Science, University of Copenhagen and at the Uiversity of St Andrews. You can read more about the recruitment process at .


For specific information about the PhD scholarship, please contact the principal supervisor Professor Uffe Gråe Jørgensen, Niels Bohr Institute,, Direct Phone: (+45) 61 30 66 40.

General information about PhD programmes at the faculty of science at University of Copenhagen is available at .

Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

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