University of Zurich, Center for Theoretical Astrophysics and Cosmology

Position ID:UZH-CTAC-PHDPLANET [#15146]
Position Title: Ph.D Position in Exoplanet Formation, Evolution, and Structure
Position Type:Academic admissions
Position Location:Zurich, Zurich 8057, Switzerland [map]
Subject Area: Astrophysics / Planet formation
Appl Deadline:2019/12/15 11:59PMhelp popup finished (2019/10/16, finished 2020/06/21)
Position Description:    

*** this position has been closed, and no new applications is accepted. ***

We are seeking qualified candidates to fill a 4-year Ph.D position in exoplanet science in the research groups of Christoph Mordasini (University of Bern) and Ravit Helled (University of Zurich). The Ph.D position is mostly funded through the National Center of Competence in Research PlanetS. PlanetS is a large national framework in Switzerland that unifies Swiss efforts in planetary and exoplanetary science across Bern, Geneva, and Zurich. Frequent collaboration is foreseen with several other researchers that are part of PlanetS (groups of Yann Alibert, Klaus Mezger, Willy Benz, Kevin Heng, Christophe Lovis, Sascha Quanz).

The ideal candidate has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in physics, astrophysics, planetary sciences or equivalent. She/he should be enthusiastic, tenacious, communicative, and willing to integrate into two diverse teams in Bern and Zurich. In particular, we expect the successful candidate to spend half of her/his time at both locations during the four years. The research work consists of a combination of numerical modelling (developing and running computer codes mostly in Fortran) and analytical work. The scientific goal of the Ph.D project is to develop a general framework that couples the formation, long-term interior evolution, and atmosphere of low-mass planets with primordial hydrogen-helium envelopes, also assessing the observational characterisation of such planets.

The formal employment will be for 2 years at the University of Bern, and 2 years at the University of Zurich. There will be a standard first year of probation. The annual salary is set by a predetermined matrix from the Universities. Child allowance and maternity/paternity leave are offered. There are ample funds for travel, publications and computers. The successful candidate will participate in group meetings, journal clubs, research discussions, attend seminars and colloquia, interact with research visitors, travel to conferences, etc., both in Bern and Zurich. The start date is expected to be winter 2019/spring 2020, and is negotiable.

To apply, please send a motivation letter including a personal statement (maximum 1 page), a CV (maximum 2 pages), a list of publications (if applicable), transcripts of your grades of courses obtained during your bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and a cover letter (1 page). The entire application should be submitted as a single pdf file to Christoph Mordasini ( and Ravit Helled ( It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that furthermore, 2-3 letters of recommendation are sent directly by the letter writers to C. Mordasini and R. Helled, by the application deadline of 15. December 2019.

Application Materials Required:
Submit the following items online at this website to complete your application:
Further Info:
Center for Theoretical Astrophysics and Cosmology, ICS, UZH
Winterthurerstrasse 190

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