An Early-Stage Researcher position (fixed-term)

Updated: about 1 month ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 15 Apr 2021

The University of Turku is a world-class multidisciplinary research university which offers interesting challenges and a unique vantage point to national and international research and education.

An Early-Stage Researcher position in the SWATNet Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network

The Space Weather Awareness Training Network (SWATNet) is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) Innovative Training Network (ITN). The project aims at breakthroughs in our physical understanding of the key agents of Space Weather. It is funded by the European Commission under the framework of the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks Programme, Grant Agreement No 955620. The recruitment procedure of SWATNet follows the recommendations outlined by the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers .

SWATNet educates 12 PhD students in the field of heliophysics with training led by experienced supervisors in a challenging, inherently international and interdisciplinary research environment. The consortium consists of nine parties from eight European countries, as well as several recognized companies in the field. The PhD projects focus on analysing and forecasting solar activity, solar eruptions and energetic particles accelerated by these eruptions. Students will use state-of-the-art observations and research techniques, including cutting-edge numerical simulations of the solar corona and the inner heliosphere, as well as machine learning analysis methods. All students will be introduced to the basics of solar observations at our partner observatory and conduct 1-3 months of industrial training. Please see for further information on the project and the present call for Early-Stage Researchers.

The present position is in SWATNet Project 7, Particle Acceleration at Coronal Shocks. Solar energetic particle (SEP) events are large outbursts of high-energy ions and electrons associated with solar eruptions, such as flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Particles in so-called gradual SEP events, which produce the greatest space radiation hazard in interplanetary space, are accelerated in CME-driven coronal shock waves. The objective of the Project is to make crucial steps towards accurate forecasting of SEP emission from CME-driven shock waves utilising state-of-the art numerical modelling. The project exploits and further develops computer simulation codes for investigating SEP acceleration.

The selected Early-Stage Researcher (ESR) will pursue a 4-year PhD double degree awarded by University of Turku (UTU), Finland, and KU Leuven , Belgium. The primary host, UTU, is the third-largest multidisciplinary university in Finland and consistently among the top three Finnish universities in international rankings. The Department of Physics and Astronomy of UTU – the host department of the ESR – has nine professors (three in space sciences), dozens of other academic staff and several hundred students from bachelor to doctoral level.

For more details on the project, contact Prof. Rami Vainio, University of Turku; rami.vainio(a)

Host: University of Turku, Turku, Finland

Secondment Host: KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium (9-12 months)

Industrial Training: Hungarian Solar Physics Foundation, Hungary (solar observations, 1 month), Aboa Space Research Oy, Turku, Finland (3 months; energetic particle instrumentation)

Salary and Benefits: for the first three years, gross salary is about 3,600 €/month for researchers without family and about 4,000 €/month for researchers with family; this amount includes a separate living allowance, mobility allowance and family allowance according to MSCA rules. Note: The monthly gross salary may vary somewhat in different years, as employer side costs change. For different positions within the same network, the salary is country- and unit-dependent. The University of Turku offers comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care, sports facilities, and opportunities for professional development.

The fourth year of the PhD project will be funded by a work contract with the University of Turku under local terms and conditions.

Note that there is mandatory mobility involved in the programme.

Eligibility: The following requirements have to be met by the applicants

  • Early-Stage Career requirement: You need to be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of your research career.
  • Mobility requirement: You shall not have lived for more than 12 months in the last 3 years in Finland (Compulsory national service and short-time vacations do not count).
  • Host degree requirement: Master’s Degree in physics/astronomy (with a minor in mathematics) or in applied mathematics (with a minor in physics/astronomy), or equivalent. Education in space physics, space weather, plasma physics or similar field is required.
  • Secondment host degree requirements: Master’s Degree degree in physics, astrophysics or mathematics with at least cum laude (or another distinction, e.g. scientific publication).
  • Host language requirement: You must possess an appropriate level of English and express yourself fluently both in written and spoken English, see Language requirements for admission to the UTU Graduate School doctoral programmes.
  • Secondment host language requirement: Proficiency in English is required (IELTS minimal general score 7 and no subscores below 6.5; TOEFL minimal general score 94 and no subscores below 22); If there is no official language test, the supervisor can confirm the English language proficiency, but the candidate may be required to follow an English language course during the first year of the PhD.
  • Required Project Specific Skills: fluent programming skills.

Valued skills / experience: experience in high-performance computing; knowledge of Fortran and Python; prior knowledge of computational space plasma physics.

Selection Criteria: The ESR will be selected based on

  • Scientific excellence, background and potential
  • Scientific potential to carry successfully out the research in the project
  • Success in undergraduate studies (in particular courses relevant to the field/topic, thesis grade)
  • Reference letters
  • Passion about science, motivation to conduct research in the field of heliophysics and work as a part of a big and vibrant international consortium
  • Creativity and level of independence, interest for science communication

The applicants will be ranked and short-listed for the interview. The decision will be made by the Local Selection Committee and the SWATNet recruitment committee will oversee the process.

How to apply:

The following attachments are required in the applications:

  • Curriculum Vitae and List of Publications
  • Degree certificates and transcripts of your academic records (list and grades of the courses and BSc/MSc works). The selected applicant has to produce original documents or certified copies of the Degree Certificate / Diploma prior to the signing of the work contract.
  • Contact details for 2 referees (name, work address, phone, email)
  • Motivation letter
  • Indication of eligibility (read carefully from above)
  • Indication of the language skills (read carefully from above).

The deadline of the applications is April 15th 2020 (23:59 EEST). The application period can be extended until the positions are filled.





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