University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


Research Assistant/Associate in debris disks and extrasolar planets (Fixed Term)

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 2 years in the first instance.

The Institute of Astronomy (IoA) at the West Cambridge site has a vacancy for a postdoctoral researcher to collaborate with Prof. Mark Wyatt on a programme seeking to understand the nature of the planetary systems of nearby stars through study of their debris disks. The research covers both observations of nearby stars (e.g., ALMA, LBTI, VLTI, JWST), and analytical and numerical modelling of debris disks (e.g., dynamical interactions with planets, collisional evolution, gas disk evolution), and aims to forge strong links to the fields of planet formation, extrasolar planets and proto-planetary disks. Thus applications are welcomed from researchers with interests and experience in either theory or observations in the fields of debris disks, extrasolar planets, planet formation and proto-planetary disks. The successful applicant would complement the team already working on the programme, and join a growing concentration of researchers in Cambridge working on topics related to extrasolar planets and disks, see

The successful applicant will be expected to pursue research within the context of the above programme and would also be encouraged to pursue their own research. They would be expected to develop a high degree of interaction with the faculty, postdoctoral researchers and research students, to conduct a highly competitive programme of scientific research, prepare proposals to secure research resources (for example, access to high-performance computing and telescopes) and write scientific articles for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Applicants must have excellent communication and computing skills.

Applicants must have a PhD in astronomy or a related field or be near to completion. Successful candidates who have been awarded their PhD by the appointment date will be appointed as a Research Associate, Grade 7 (£32,816 to £40,322 per annum). Those who have not will be appointed as a Research Assistant at Grade 5 (£26,715 to £30,942 per annum) then promoted upon award of the PhD.

The University of Cambridge thrives on the diversity of its staff and students. Applications from underrepresented groups are particularly welcome. We have an active Equality and Diversity Committee which continually works to further the aims of the Athena SWAN charter. The University has a number of family- friendly policies and initiatives, including a returning-carer scheme, childcare costs support, university workplace nurseries, university holiday play-schemes, and a shared parental-leave policy. As part of its commitment to providing a family-friendly environment for researchers, the IoA ensures that should parental leave be needed during the course of employment, there is provision for extension to contract to compensate for the parental leave taken.

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Please submit your application by midnight of the closing date of Monday, 2nd December 2019. If you have any queries about your application please contact Ms Joy McSharry (jpm(at) Further information is available from Prof. Mark Wyatt (wyatt(at)

Please quote reference LG21107 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Further information

Apply online