Research Associate in Planetary Atmospheric Science

University of Leicester - Physics and Astronomy

College of Science and Engineering

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Salary Grade 7 - £33,518 to £38,833 per annum

Full-time open-ended contract subject to external fixed-term funding. Funding is available for 3 years

Together our staff and students are discovering innovative ways to change the world for the better and there has never been a more exciting time for you to join us. We are ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide and have an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research. We are led by discovery and innovation, with the synergy between research and learning at the core of our activity.

The Physics and Astronomy Department at the University of Leicester invites applications for a Post-Doctoral Research Associate (PDRA) in Planetary Atmospheric Science. You will join a planetary science team led by Dr. Leigh Fletcher, addressing the scientific aims of a European Research Council (ERC) grant to explore atmospheric processes shaping the giant planets of our Solar System. You will use world-leading ground- and space-based observations of the gas and ice giants to prepare data analysis procedures for the James Webb Space Telescope, due for launch in 2019. This will develop the expertise and tools required for the first publications exploiting JWST infrared maps of these distant worlds, to be observed as part of a Guaranteed-Time programme of Solar System observations. The PDRA position will initially be for a period of three years, with the possibility of extension depending on progress and funding considerations.

The ERC “GIANTCLIMES” project (http://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/207884_en.html) seeks to assemble a comprehensive climatology of the four giant planets over large spans of time, allowing us to investigate the natural cycles of meteorology, circulation, and chemical processes shaping the environments on these worlds. Inversions of planetary spectra, from the ultraviolet to the microwave, will be used to reconstruct these atmospheres in three dimensions to explore both their temporal variability and the processes coupling different atmospheric regimes. You will analyse subsets of existing data from Cassini, Spitzer and ground-based facilities to prepare planetary mapping and spectral simulation software for upcoming JWST observations, and will participate in the analysis of the first datasets from the observatory. We are therefore particularly interested in candidates with a background in planetary atmospheres and spectroscopic modelling techniques, but all applicants with a strong background in planetary science are encouraged to apply.

You will carry out independent and collaborative research for this project and disseminate the results to the international scientific community. There will be significant opportunities to collaborate within Leicester’s Planetary Science team (whose existing research includes planetary magnetospheres, ionospheres, atmospheres and surface science), Earth Observation group, and with an international team specialising in radiative transfer and spectral inversion for planetary atmospheres.

In addition to the online application form, applicants are requested to provide: [1] a CV and publication list; [2] two academic references; [3] a one-page cover letter detailing how your prior experience and future research aims are commensurate with the aims of the programme outlined above.

Click here for further information and details regarding this position

Informal enquiries are welcome and should be made to Dr. Leigh Fletcher on leigh.fletcher@le.ac.uk or 0116 252 3585.

The closing date for this post is midnight on 23 November 2017.

We anticipate that interviews will take place in December 2017 or January 2018 to fill this position shortly thereafter.

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Midlands of England