University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


Research Assistant/Research Associate (Fixed Term)

Applications are invited for a 2-year Research Associate position to join the groups of Professors Oliver Shorttle and Mark Wyatt on the topic of early planetary systems. We are seeking candidates with expertise in any of the modelling/theoretical areas of planet formation, planetary dynamics, surface geological processes, or aqueous geochemistry.

The position is funded by Cambridge's Leverhulme Centre for Life in the Universe and contributes to investigation of how conditions on young planets are made amenable to emergence of life. You will be expected to produce original independent research, author and submit publications to refereed journals and support the activities of the research group. You will be given support and freedom to develop your research programme. You will disseminate research findings via publications & other media, (international workshops/conferences) and are encouraged to participate in teaching and learning, in postgraduate research student supervision and in outreach.

You will join a vibrant planetary and exoplanetary research community in the IoA and wider University. This position will focus on the delivery of material to young planets from debris leftover following planet formation, investigating how this arrives at planets and affects their climates and surface conditions. Previous experience in modelling any aspect of this late stage of planet formation process is welcome but not essential.

Applicants must have a PhD in Astronomy, Planetary Science or related discipline*. Successful candidates will be expected to complete research in a collegial environment, with strong communication and computing skills.

The appointment will be at Grade 7 (Research Associate) £36,024-£44,263 p.a. (Pts 41-48), depending on experience/qualifications. *A successful candidate, not yet awarded a PhD will be appointed at Grade 5 (Research Assistant) £32,982-£33,966 p.a. (Pts 38-39) and amended to Research Associate (Grade 7) upon confirmation of PhD.

The role's purpose is to support and maintain the University's national and international reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Contribution to excellence in research will be as team member carrying out research at a similar level to that undertaken by lecturing staff and will provide substantial scope for academic judgement, originality, interpretation and presentation of results.

Applications from underrepresented groups are particularly welcome. We have an active Equality and Diversity Committee, working to further the aims of the Athena SWAN charter. The University has several family-friendly policies and initiatives, i.e. a returning-carer scheme, childcare costs support, workplace nurseries and 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 where parental leave is needed during employment, there is provision for extension to contract to compensate for leave taken.

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online. Please upload your CV, cover letter, publications list and research statement (3xA4 pages max, 11pt font) in the Upload section. Names and contact details of 3 academic referees are essential. Please advise referees that references will be requested for 18th December 2023.

Closing date: 23:59 GMT, Monday 18 December 2023.

Applications will be reviewed after the closing date. Short-listed candidates will be interviewed shortly after with interviews provisionally planned for week commencing 8th January 2024

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

Starting date: From 1st March 2024.

Once an offer of employment has been accepted, the successful candidate will be required to undergo a health assessment.

The post is full-time, but applications are welcome from those who would like to work flexibly.

We particularly welcome applications from women and /or candidates from a BME background for this vacancy as they are currently under-represented at this level in our department.

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

Please quote reference LG39227 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

If you have any queries about your application, please contact Informal enquires may be addressed to Professor Oli Shorttle (

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